Alien Technology Announces European RFID Solutions

Said readers, tags operating to latest ETSI UHF frequency regulations; fulfill European supply chain requirements

Said readers, tags operating to latest ETSI UHF frequency regulations; fulfill European supply chain requirements

Morgan Hill, CA — September 22, 2004 — Alien Technology Corp., a provider of radio frequency identification (RFID) products, today announced the release of UHF readers and tags for the European market. The company said the electronic product code (EPC) Class 1 readers have been designed to meet all aspects of the new ETSI EN 302 208 regulatory standard. The EPC Class 1 tags, with 96-bits of user-programmable memory, have also been specifically developed to operate in Europe.

Andrew Berger, Alien Technology's vice president of European and International Operations, commented that the new products will enable European companies to compete on a level playing field with their U.S. counterparts and take advantage of the economies of scale that will result from the growing volumes of tags and readers in North America. "The problem with old proprietary standards and offerings in Europe is that they have traditionally been fragmented, cost more and performed poorly relative to U.S. solutions," he said. "Europe will always be better off with a single, global approach to RFID standards and solutions in the supply chain."

Alien Technology said the new regulations offer performance similar to what is possible under U.S. FCC regulations, providing longer read ranges and higher read speeds necessary for supply chain and other challenging applications. With four times the allowed power of the previous ETSI regulatory standard, and 10 separate communication channels versus only one previously, the 302 208 standard enables European based companies to stay competitive with North American companies in the emerging RFID marketplace. All European Radio Communications Authorities voted positively for this new ETSI standard in early September 2004.

Alien's European readers, which are the first EPC Class 1 systems available for use under the new European UHF regulations, include such capabilities as listen-before-talk, adjacent channel selectivity, conformance to the European spectral mask and the ability to operate at European data rates. These new readers have already been deployed for pilots, trials and demonstrations to a number of European customers.

In parallel, Alien Technology said it has trained over 80 personnel from over 35 European companies in UHF technology through its Alien RFID Academy, which has been available in Europe since March 2004. Early releases of the new ETSI 302 208 readers and tags will be first available to companies that have attended RFID Academy training.

Alien's new tag family is based on its third generation of UHF EPC Class 1 integrated circuits (ICs), code named "Lepton." This IC was developed in collaboration with ST Microelectronics of Rousset, France. Lepton-based tags offer 96-bit of user-programmable memory and deliver up to 40 percent more read range than previous Class 1 tags. The Lepton IC was specifically designed for global operation, allowing for a tag that can write and read around the world.

Fully compliant with Wal-Mart and U.S. Department of Defense initiatives taking effect in January 2005, the new Lepton tags operate according to the EPC Class 1 standard. The new tags will be used by suppliers to track cases and pallets in the retail and DoD supply chains.

The Lepton-based tag family includes updated versions of Alien's current designs, plus new tags optimized for pharmaceuticals, baggage tags, retail hang tags, and other applications in 2005.

Alien Technology is working with European reader, handheld, printer and applicator vendors to ensure the same widespread interoperability with Lepton that has been reached with earlier generations of EPC Class 1 products. Alien said it is also engaged with European label converter companies to ensure availability and reliability of Lepton-based RFID labels.

Alien will broaden customer deployments of the new ETSI 302 208 readers and Lepton tags in October with initial production shipments in November 2004.