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Cisco Pushes RFID

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is taking the wireless war to Symbol Technologies Inc.'s (NYSE: SBL) home turf, the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) market.

The move puts the number one and two players in the enterprise WLAN market in even closer competition, as RFID readers and infrastruture is a core business for Symbol.

Cisco is introducing a suite of hardware, software, and services around what it is calling the Intelligent Foundation for Radio Frequency Identification.

At the core of the strategy are RFID modules for the firm's existing data center and branch office switches. Cisco is pushing the ability to add RFID capabilities at the network edge as one of the strenghs of its strategy.

"That's key... The intelligence resides in the network," Chris Wiborg, solution product manager for Cisco's AON business unit, tells Unstrung.

But the vendor is also working on RFID tags and can already bring in wireless LAN location tracking technology from recent acquisition, Airespace, in the shape of the Cisco 2700 wireless location appliance (see Cisco: Location, Location...).

Cisco is also working with partners such as PanGo Networks Inc. for wireless tracking software, and ThingMagic for RFID readers.

The firm expects to find initial customers in the retail, government, and other vertical sectors. Like the adoption of enterprise wireless LAN technology the firm is expecting to see takeup in vertical market sectors first, followed by broader adoption in the enterprise.

Cisco already has big name customers like Wal-Mart on its list.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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