The companies expect Tyco's global reach and Creativesystems' nimble customization abilities in RFID integration will meet the needs of a retail market hungry for inventory tracking, security and business-analysis functions.
By Claire Swedberg, Reprinted from RFID Journal
Jan 12, 2015—
Tyco Retail Solutions, a Boca Raton, Fla., company owned by global security technologies firm Tyco, has acquired Creativesystems, a European RFID solutions provider based in Portugal. The acquisition, the terms of which have not been disclosed, will allow the two businesses to combine their RFID-based inventory-management solutions for a large customer base in Europe and globally. With the acquisition, Creativesystems will bring its ability to customize RFID solutions for retailers to Tyco's larger enterprise customer base.
Nancy Chisholm, President, Tyco Retail Solutions
Tyco Retail Solutions offers Sensormatic electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems, including some that employ RFID, as well as its RFID-based inventory-management systems consisting of its TrueVue software, following the company's 2008 acquisition of Vue Technology (see Tyco's Sensormatic Division Buys Vue Technology). The firm operates in more than 70 countries and has EAS—and, in some cases, RFID—technology in place at approximately 80 percent of the world's top 200 retailers.
The company's recent focus has been on offering a more diverse set of intelligent, data-driven solutions than it has in the past—evolving beyond simply EAS security or RFID inventory management. For example, Tyco Retails Solutions has begun offering solutions that provide other functions, such as tracking or managing things like internal theft, customer service, in-store customer traffic, vendor fraud, labor productivity, out-of-stocks, item location and merchandise replenishment. RFID—by providing data that enables the locating of a product and the pinpointing of where it has been—allows many of these functions, in some cases combined with other security technologies.
Creativesystems is a much smaller company that offers RFID software and integrated solutions for multiple markets, including retail, logistics and manufacturing. For Tyco Retail Solutions, Creativesystems' strength lies in its ability to easily customize solutions for an individual user, whether a small boutique or a large retailer, as well as innovate new solutions that could be scaled up on the TrueVue platform. In 2010, for example, it codeveloped a separate company known as Surfaceslab that makes RFID-enabled floors or shelves on which shoes or other items could be placed and read within a store (see Fly London Uses RFID to Manage Inventory, and Take Customers Around the World).
"We see more retailers ready to adopt [item-level RFID inventory solutions], and more advanced retail use cases being deployed," says Nancy Chisholm, Tyco Retail Solutions' president. The acquisition is part of Tyco Retail Solutions' drive to scale its inventory-visibility solutions throughout Europe, she says. "Creativesystems offers strong technical and customer-facing professional services. The acquisition will enable us to accelerate RFID-based inventory-visibility growth with European and global retailers." What's more, Chisholm notes, the addition of Creativesystems will enhance the Tyco's core software platform development capability.
João Vilaça, CEO, CreativeSystems
Creativesystems began planning the acquisition with Tyco Retail Solutions several months ago, according to João Vilaça, Creativesystems' CEO. He says the deal will bolster his company's ability to sell solutions on a global scale, and to grow its solution offerings for customers in Europe and elsewhere. The firm will continue to operate its headquarters in the Portuguese city of São João da Madeira, as well as at its other locations throughout Europe, the Middle East, the United States and Brazil. In addition, he says, the firm will continue offering manufacturing and logistics solutions.
"We will continue to serve our customers with the same teams, solutions and services they are currently receiving," Vilaça says. "We will augment this with resources from Tyco as our companies come together."
What's more, Vilaça reports, Creativesystems' inventory-management software could be sold with additional functionality that the company previously could not offer. This includes Tyco Retail Solutions' traffic intelligence solutions, using Tyco infrared sensors to count how many customers enter a store or department, as well as EAS systems that sound an alarm in the event that an un-purchased product is leaving the store.
"[Creativesystems' and Tyco's] customers will benefit from our world-class professional services organization," Chisholm says, "and a comprehensive retail platform that is scaleable and can be tailored to meet each organization's unique needs."
The acquisition will also position Tyco Retail Solutions to better compete against other EAS and inventory-management technology companies. "Our proven market-deployment experience and scalable platform," Chisholm states, "combined with their [Creativesystems'] ability to accelerate innovation and customize solutions, make this an ideal pairing."
Vilaça says he will continue to lead Creativesystems, and will report to Tyco Retail Solutions. "Our group will become an integral part of Tyco's European team," he explains, "including our developers, professional services and sales teams."
At this week's NRF Big Show, being held in New York City, Tyco Retail Solutions announced the release of its latest version of TrueVUE (v.6.0). At the show, Tyco is exhibiting its new Sensormatic RFID antenna and dual technology acousto-magnetic (AM) and RFID pedestal for pairing EAS and RFID data.
At the Big Show, Tyco Retail Solutions also announced a worldwide distribution agreement with Technology Solutions (UK) Ltd. (TSL). Tyco Retail Solutions will distribute and support TSL's mobile ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID readers, including its 1128 Bluetooth UHF RFID reader and 1153 Bluetooth wearable UHF RFID reader. By working with TSL to deliver RFID innovations focused on in-store mobility, Tyco can offer retailers a way to not only maximize existing investments in Apple iPhones, iPads and other iOS devices, but also improve inventory availability and empower employees with real-time inventory visibility and accuracy for enhanced operational efficiencies and increased store performance.