GIGA-TMS Does POS (Point of Sale) and More
You probably aren’t too familiar with the GIGA-TMS name, but there is a very good chance that you have encountered at least a few of its products in the past. The product portfolio from GIGA-TMS spans smart labels, employee clocking equipment, point of sale terminals, and more. It’s actually quite impressive when you consider the amount of work that goes into making something like a cash register. You know that little display at the top of the point of sale machine? GIGA-TMS actually runs those through a burn-in test process that takes several days.
Testing equipment like this requires some creativity and they also have other interesting testing measures in place. Want to see how quickly a machine can read and process a barcode or an RFID tag? Stick a few of them on an old-school turntable and let them run wild. We saw more than one testing rig with this kind of configuration. We wondered if the place turned into a rave after hours.
It was also interesting to see some of the other RFID products, like smart badges, that allow employees to gain access to restricted areas, clock into their time sheets, and so on. Many of these were touchless, so they could be some distance away from the reader too.
Champtek Champions Active RFID Tech
It seems that RFID technology is slowly (but surely) on the rise and Champtek Inc. aims to be a leader in this industry. Interestingly enough, the company decided right from the get-go that it would only be interested in active RFID technology rather than passive RFID technology. This means that the RFID tags are actively broadcasting their information and need to have their batteries changed about every six months. About 10% of Champtek’s $30 million annual revenue comes from its RFID business. The remaining 90% is from its barcode scanners.
When we went to visit Champtek, they provided us with RFID bracelets. As we entered the main meeting room, our respective names appeared on the screen. This is because the reader in the room was able to pick up on the RFID tags. Each tag also had a red button, which allowed it to signal we had a question to ask, for example.
All of the core technology used by Champtek was developed in-house and it continues to expand its business. Working with passive RFID partners, for instance, it has started working on some passive RFID products.
Champtek is also the company responsible for the audio tours at the current Shanghai Expo. Users going to the different exhibits simply scan the tags and are given the appropriate tour information. It can also guide the visitor to the next exhibit. Similar technology can be used for inventory control and even sporting events where accurate time keeping is a must. You may see some of their technology in the Tour De France, allowing the commissaires to log the racers in easily.
Behind the Consumer Retail Experience
While these company tours didn’t bring us down the production line the same way that we were able to see during the Kingston Technology factory tour, or GIGABYTE Factory Tour, they nonetheless offered us a glimpse into how these companies function and how they churn out those wonderful toys that we see each and every day.
Be sure to check out the much larger image gallery (60+ pictures!) on the next page for a closer look at GETAC, GIGA-TMS, and Champtek. And of course, make sure you check out our YouTube COMPUTEX 2010 Playlist as well as the other COMPUTEX 2010 articles that we’ve written just for you.
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