Lockheed Martin makes Savi buy

RFID provider gives Lockheed Martin new container management capabilities

Lockheed Martin has signed an agreement to acquire Savi Technology, a provider of active radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions. The purchase gives Lockheed Martin a strategic, end-to-end container management solution that is applicable for military and civilian customers, according to analysts.

RFID devices are increasingly finding their way into security-minded government agencies, companies and health care facilities. RFID is analogous to reading bar codes from a distance. Instead of requiring users to move a scanner across an item’s bar code, RFID wirelessly transmits data from a tagged item to a reader.

Savi, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., develops logistics solutions that securely track in-transit container shipments. The Defense Department, international defense agencies, civil agencies and commercial enterprises use Savi’s products — including active RFID tags, data-rich high-performance tags, sensor tags that monitor security and environmental conditions, and related fixed and mobile readers — to globally monitor cargo shipments.

The addition of Savi’s capabilities to Lockheed Martin’s will strengthen the larger company’s competitiveness for RFID projects, analysts say.

“Strategically, Savi has a very inelegant container management solution premised on some basic RFID,” said Bob Guerra, partner at Guerra Kiviat. “Buying Savi makes all the sense in the world.”

Savi’s Defense Asset Management Solution automatically collects data on assets shipped through the global military supply chain. Its Early Entry Deployment Kit and Portable Deployment Kit allow users at remote locations to quickly set up a mobile RFID chokepoint to track assets as they pass through the supply chain.

Examples of RFID are increasingly numerous. A Food and Drug Administration task force is expected to recommend ways to speed the introduction of RFID tracking tags for prescription drugs.

Although electronic tracking technology is fairly mature, some experts say systems are not yet in place to maintain the necessary electronic records throughout the supply chain.

Because Savi can transmit its RFID data worldwide, Guerra said, the company is a valuable asset for Lockheed Martin’s systems integration competency.

The Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center issued a request for proposals in April for an RFID System/Real-Time Locating System that will track medical devices equipped with RFID tags, including infusion pumps, mobile computer equipment, wheelchairs and stretchers.

“The acquisition of this innovative company is consistent with our strategy of making investments that significantly enhance the capabilities we can offer our customers,” said Bob Stevens, Lockheed Martin’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

Founded in 1989, Savi employs about 300 people.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

When the sale is complete by the end of June, Savi will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin and will be managed by Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Solutions.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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