Swedish tech group buys embedded antenna specialist Omni-ID

Swedish tech group buys embedded antenna specialist Omni-ID
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Embedded antenna specialist Omni-ID has been bought by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy for an undisclosed sum.
By Nick Flaherty

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Omni-ID was spun out of UK defence research group Qinetiq in 2007 and has key patents on RFID antenna technology. The company provides an extensive range of ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification (RFID) devices, including passive hard tags and labels and a growing range of active devices that are used to track and monitor manufacturing components, energy infrastructure, logistics containers, IT assets, and equipment on the International Space Station.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company had raised a total of $44m in funding, mostly from Cody Gate Ventures, a joint fund with Qinetiq, and has sales of US$13m last year.

“I am very pleased to welcome Omni-ID into the ASSA ABLOY Group. Omni-ID is a strategic technological addition to the ASSA ABLOY Group and reinforces our current RFID and IoT offering and provides complementary growth opportunities,” said Nico Delvaux, President and CEO of Swedish security conglomerate Assa Aboy.

Omni-ID is the original patent holder and inventor of on-metal as well as balanced (on and off metal) UHF passive tags. Its patented Plasmonic Structure design uses layers of conductors and dielectrics to isolate the RF from the tag’s surrounding environment, which ensures the tag performs successfully on or near metal and liquids where traditional tags are based on antennas don’t work well. US Patents 7,880,619 and 7,768,400, including IP used across Europe and Asia, are the key building blocks of the Omni-ID RFID IP. The company also uses Bluetooth, LoRaWAN and Quuppa wireless technology developed by a startup in Finland around Bluetooth (above).

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Omni-ID has 170 staff and is headquartered in Rochester New York with offices in the UK, Europe, India and China. It will be integrated into the Identification Technologies Business Area of HID Global in Austin, Texas.

“Since Omni-ID started life as a dynamic and highly ambitious spin-out, we have been on a mission to provide our customers with a wide range of industry-leading passive and active UHF based hardware for a broad array of applications in the logistics, energy, manufacturing and IT sectors,” said Tony Kington who was part of the team that founded Omni-ID when it was spun out of QinetiQ in 2007 and is currently CEO. “HID Global provides the perfect platform to push our ambition even further, combining the RFID market leadership and structure of a major multinational organization with our renowned product development and agile engineering prowess”.

“In addition to broadening our value-added RFID components and active identification devices offering, the acquisition enhances our ability to serve customers in India and China by expanding our sales and manufacturing footprint, an important step in extending our industrial IoT technology into emerging markets,” says Björn Lidefelt, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Technologies business unit HID Global.

In 2019. Omni-ID sold off its ProVIEW material flow management business to Panasonic but provides tags on an OEM basis.

HID Global in Austin, Texas, has over 4,000 employees worldwide and operates international offices that support more than 100 countries as part of the €10bn Assa Abloy Group.

www.hidglobal.com; www.omni-id.com

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