One Equity Partners sells Smartrac RFID business - What does this mean for libraries? And Bibliotheca?Submitted by Lori Ayre on Thu, 12/05/2019 - 10:01am
It's been awhile since something shook up the library RFID marketplace but this is something to watch. Smartrac,Technologies, based in the Netherlands, is one of the primary suppliers of library RFID tags (HF tags). One Equity Partners is the equity firm that owns Smartrac. One Equity Partners is the same firm that owns Bibliotheca. So, that means that One Equity Partners is getting out of the RFID business. My question is whether that means One Equity Partner will soon want to get out of the library business as well? I say this because Bibliotheca was originally very much focused on providing RFID solutions to libraries. Of course, with the acquisition of 3M, they have shifted their focus from RFID (to some extent) to the Cloud Library and more recently they've been pushing their Open Library product pretty hard - neither of these two products are RFID-based. So maybe I'm worrying for nothing. But I'll be keeping an eye on One Equity Partners just in case.
The other worrying thing for me is that HF RFID technology isn't exploding the way UHF technology is. HF technology is used in payment cards, ticketing systems, and libraries. NFC (used on your smartphone) is a form of HF RFID. But it is UHF that is growing by leaps and bounds. UHF RFID is used with IoT products (Internet of Things) including clothing and shoes (https://www.nanalyze.com/2019/02/smart-shoes-digitally-connected/). And, of course, UHF is the RFID tag used in the supply chain. Whatever cool new "smart" thing you hear about, chances are it is based on UHF technologies.