MaxID Banishes Checkout Queues

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Long queues at the supermarket checkout could soon be a thing of the past according to MaxID Ltd (MaxID). The company has developed a fully operational, unmanned checkout that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies to instantly identify a basket full of groceries and display the contents of the basket, a picture of the customer and a till receipt on screen. In store the system can be linked to a 'chip & pin' payments system that automatically debits the customer's account and issues a paper receipt.

Long queues at the supermarket checkout could soon be a thing of the past according to MaxID Ltd (MaxID). The company has developed a fully operational, unmanned checkout that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies to instantly identify a basket full of groceries and display the contents of the basket, a picture of the customer and a till receipt on screen. In store the system can be linked to a 'chip & pin' payments system that automatically debits the customer's account and issues a paper receipt.

The system is similar to barcode scanning but instead uses radio waves to read product details and price contained on an RFID tag (a tiny computer chip) incorporated within the product packaging. Unlike a barcode scanner the RFID reader does not need to be able to 'see' the chip and it can read multiple items in an instant – no human intervention is required. The technology is already in use in some retail supply chains and the US retailing giant Wal-Mart recently decreed that its top 100 suppliers must deliver goods on pallets, cases and cartons that incorporate RFID tags before January 1st 2005.

MaxID is using technology from its development partner, Sygade Solutions (Sygade) of South Africa. Sygade are one of the world’s leading innovators in the development and supply of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) readers. Sygade produce a range of RFID readers for retail and other sectors and are developing complementary products including 'smart shelves' that automatically sense when specific products are added or removed, and send a message to the warehouse so they can be re-stocked.

Speaking on behalf of MaxID, Gerhard Mynhardt, Sygade managing director commented, "We've overcome the primary technical challenges and it's clear that the benefits to retailers and consumers will be considerable. RFID tag costs are the only real barrier to widespread adoption and prices are falling fast. The only thing we have to figure out now is how to get the customer’s bags packed automatically!"

MaxID will be demonstrating the unmanned checkout at the RFID Networking Forum to be held on 24th June 2004 at the Renaissance Hotel, London Heathrow, UK.

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact:

Ian Hood

IH Associates            +44 1483 772 499 / +44 7786 171 959

Gerhard Mynhardt

MaxID / Sygade Solutions        +27 11 234 2110

MaxID & Sygade

MaxID Ltd, based in the United Kingdom, is the exclusive license holder and sole distributor of Sygade products and services in all markets outside Africa. Sygade is a developer and supplier of a broad range of innovative products, with the primary focus on the Auto Identification, Government, Electronic Payments and Retail sectors. The company develops products for end users and on an OEM basis. Using its in-house research and development facilities and track record for delivering innovative new products to market, Sygade has become a leading player in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) development.

Launched in 2001 and headquartered in South Africa, Sygade can trace its history to 1981 with the creation of the technology consulting and development firm Advantech by Sygade managing director, Gerhard Mynhard. Advantech was sold to the Barlow Group of South Africa and re-acquired in 1987 (renamed National Advanced Technologies - Natech) via a management buy out led by Mr Mynhard. Through a series of transactions Natech was sold to ICL which, by 1995, had acquired 100% of the share capital. In 1997 Mr Mynhard acquired M-Dev, a division of ICL he had founded in 1995, and in 2001 he re-acquired Natech, merging the two companies to create Sygade.

Sygade currently develops and manufactures rugged mobile computing, financial transaction and consumer athletic products and has developed a range of innovative RFID products with a focus on RFID readers. By leveraging its advanced research and development team, its significant intellectual property in the RFID area as well as its existing customer base, Sygade expects to become a dominant player in the nascent RFID market.

For further details of the range of products and services available from MaxID please see:

http://www.maxidcorp.com
http://www.sygade.com

RFID

Radio frequency identification is a "next-generation" automatic identification data collection technology that is on the cusp of widespread adoption. Companies that have incorporated RFID into their supply chains are reaping tremendous benefits, including significant cost savings, improved customer satisfaction, increased security, and increased inventory control.

In its simplest terms, RFID technology is an electronic version of the barcode system. RFID systems utilize radio waves to automatically identify physical items that are in varying proximity to electronic readers and are able to uniquely track large numbers of items without human intervention.

An RFID tag encases a small microchip containing digitally encoded information and can be affixed to physical assets of various shapes, sizes and types. The RFID reader is an electronic device that receives and decodes unique signals emitted by nearby tags to retrieve stored data within a tag. Unlike a barcode reader an RFID reader can read a tag that is positioned several feet away and outside the line of sight.

The advantages of a supply chain based on RFID technology include the ability to track an asset as it travels through a production supply chain, to authenticate assets and to provide asset security. Tag data is read as a 'tagged' product passes through the supply chain (potentially all the way from core supplier to end user). The readers, which may be networked into an asset management system, communicate the tag data information to a computer where the tag information is stored and utilized by supply-chain systems. The capability to rapidly and economically identify supply chain items without physical contact allows for the development of a large number of new supply chain applications and offers the potential for considerable cost savings.

RFID Networking Forum

The RFID Networking Forum is Europe's largest and most successful RFID event. Further details can be found at http://www.rfidforum.com

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