The company is expanding its presence through acquisitions to serve specific markets, and to offer a wider portfolio ranging from NFC and UHF RFID to BLE.
May 1, 2023
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As the demand for digital identities applied to an ever-growing number of goods and objects increases, a global technology company that started with toll-road solutions in Brazil is building out its presence into dozens of vertical markets throughout the world. Beontag provides Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and graphic and label materials in more than 15 countries, with a footprint in approximately 40 markets. Through acquisitions and fabrication expansions, the company says its strategy now is to meet the expanding demand for radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies beyond traditional deployments such as apparel inventory management.Ricardo Lobo, Beontag’s CEO, recently discussed the company’s plans and his own aspirations for Beontag and for the RFID industry. With growth averaging 30 to 40 percent yearly, Lobo says, Beontag doesn’t mind being big. Its goal, he explains, is to serve organizations that have new diversifying needs for RFID, as well as to reach a wider audience around the world. “That’s part of the evolution of RFID,” he states.
Beontag has been building its presence through acquisitions, research and development, and by the expansion of its fabrication capacity for RFID tags and labels. The company launched under the name Colacril in 1984, as a self-adhesives manufacturer. In 2012, it founded CCRR RFID to build into the digital ID market, and the latter launched Beontag RFID in 2021.
New Acquisitions and Verticals
During the past two years, its acquisitions have included Finland’s Stora Enso, which created the ECO RFID Tag paper antenna. In addition, Beontag purchased LAB ID, in Italy, which makes RFID technology for the luxury retail market, and Zecode, in Brazil, for its automatic-identification and data-capture services in South America. In addition, it has acquired IoT technology company Temera, in Italy; Confidex, which makes Near Field Communication (NFC) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) solutions for numerous sectors (see Label Company Beontag RFID Acquires Confidex); and Technicote, a provider of adhesive products (see Beontag Acquires Adhesive Company Technicote).
Beontag is now the fastest-growing supplier of passive UHF and NFC RFID inlays and labels in the Latin American market, just as it is rapidly growing its presence worldwide (see Beontag Plans New U.S. Factory with Sustainability and Beontag RFID’s VP Reveals the Firm’s Global Strategies). That focus on growth in RFID began when the company was offering toll-road tags and sewn-in labels for the apparel market—two solutions that seemed poised for growth.
“It was obvious to us that the customers that we were addressing needed to be served globally,” Lobo says, and so Beontag went on to offer full RFID solutions. Since then, it has extended its offerings into North America, Asia and Europe, with multiple plants now in operation. “What we’re doing is quite unique in both the regional breadth and also the product portfolio,” he states. By building into specific markets, the company is now able to specialize in the types of applications that might have been underserved by traditional technology companies.
“We don’t find the same competitor in the different verticals,” Lobo says. While each unique vertical market might be served by only a few companies that specialize in areas such as industrial or healthcare, for instance, Beontag provides full, targeted solutions, while maintaining a global presence.
Targeting Industry’s Global Footprint
One key focus for Beontag is sustainability, the company reports. Its paper ECO RFID Tag, intended as a recyclable solution for intelligent packaging, is gaining ground, with a larger percentage of total tag sales annually. While Beontag reaches out to global customers with RFID tags and products, Lobo says, “We want to do it in the most sustainable way.” The use of RFID technology offers companies sustainability benefits, and he adds that the technology can become more sustainable still.
That was part of the company’s strategy in acquiring Stora Enso’s portfolio with the printed ECO RFID Tag. The tag is designed to reduce RFID’s carbon footprint, Lobo says, while ensuring it operates with the same quality as standard tags. “We know that people don’t want to compromise on performance and cost,” he states, “and our tag doesn’t.” For that reason, the company has seen ECO RFID Tag sales rise from 3.5 percent of its total tag sales to double digits over the course of the past two years.
The company’s goal is to have that sustainable tag or other sustainable products in its DTE business division represent 70 percent of its total sales by 2030. As part of that effort, the company is now developing an NFC variant compliant with ISO 14443. The ECO NFC tag is expected to be available later this year. The firm operates three facilities for tag fabrication, located in China; Bologna, Italy; and Campo Mourão, Brazil. In addition to fabricating the inlays and labels, Beontag can encrypt and encode these tags, select the appropriate reader infrastructure, and provide software and integration in certain markets, particularly in luxury goods. The company is also building a facility in Ohio to better serve the North American market.
Among the RFID markets that Lobo projects to grow in the near future are parcel management and apparel tagging, as well as a more diversified set of retail items. For instance, he says, sporting goods stores that initially were tracking jerseys or other apparel with RFID are now looking into tagging and tracking golf clubs and other general merchandise, which often requires different tags and tagging methods.
Creating RFID-Based Ecosystems
Lobo says he expects food to be managed via RFID technology in the near future, adding that airline equipment and luggage, as well as automotive manufacturing and components, will all be areas in which RFID will be adopted at higher rates. Additionally, anticipated EU regulations are expected to trigger apparel retailers to adopt RFID for applications such as supply chain monitoring, reselling and recycling. He expects the circularity of merchandise to increase as goods are used, recycled and reused. That model raises the demand for automatic identification of goods with RFID, he notes, which means tracking an item until it is disposed of, recycled, or resold for a second or third life.
One challenge the RFID industry still faces, however, is the ability to provide a single solution that can scale as needed, serving a company with data about goods and assets now, while being expandable to other items or use cases in the future. That is a sweet spot for Beontag, Lobo says. Many vertical markets have crossover requirements and abilities when it comes to RFID tracking, he explains, but when they need unique solutions or products, Beontag wants to be able to serve those needs with a broad RFID ecosystem.
That could mean a wide variety of tagging options, appropriate integration and the training of users. “The Devil’s always in the details,” Lobo says. With each vertical market, he sees challenges or constraints that did not exist for other sectors, which can stymie a new deployment. “I think there will always be challenging situations about the media [such as tag selection], about the software ecosystem, the services ecosystem,” Lobo states. “That’s a constant in every new vertical.”
According to Lobo, Beontag intends to continue its strategy of acquiring companies that will extend its reach into specific verticals and IoT technologies. “We were always very agnostic about the industry,” he says. “Whether it’s retail apparel, airlines, parcels, banks or pharma, we believe that every item needs to be connected.” The technology could be HF, NFC, UHF or BLE, and the labels could contain flexible tags, hard tags or on-metal tags. The company, Lobo says, wants a presence in every media on every continent. Through its growth strategy, he states, “I think that’s what we have accomplished.”
- A global presence geographically, with a focus on niche vertical markets, is part of Beontag’s strategy as its sales increase 30 to 40 percent yearly.
- The company sees sustainability as a key focus going forward, with aspirations of 70 percent of its total tag sales being printed sustainable tags by 2030.