The Infoprint 6700 R40 includes IBM WebSphere software, which supports the transmission of shipping information from business applications to the labels. As a label embedded with an RFID chip passes through the printer, an IBM Power processor encodes onto the chip information such as manufacture date, destination, inventory data, and product-handling details. The Infoprint 6700 R40 also prints a bar code on the paper label as a secondary source of supply-chain information.
The printer appears to be just the beginning of IBM's involvement in RFID-enabled hardware, as the company has plans for more, says Doug Oathout, VP for the IBM printing systems division. The Infoprint 6700 R40 with RFID capabilities will sell for $5,525.
Market leadership for RFID-enabled printers is still up for grabs, AMR Research analyst Dennis Gaughan says. "I don't think IBM views this as an opportunity to become a market leader in printers, but instead as a way to provide its customers a single point of contact for both hardware and software."