Sirit president John Freund joining Kapsch - will the Austria-based company compete in sticker tags?
2012-10-21: In one of the biggest toll industry personnel changes in recent times John Freund left 3M/Sirit this week to work for Kapsch. His appointment at Kapsch has not yet been officially announced, but a 3M spokesman has confirmed he left them voluntarily Wednesday, and we have it on good authority his leaving was due to an offer by rival Kapsch.
The big Europe-based company with a new office for North America in northern Virginia has a wide range of products from 5.9Ghz on offer for truck enforcement and car safety applications through the huge E-ZPass business, plus multi protocol readers.
The missing gap in the Kapsch product line is at the low end with sticker tags, and it seems likely Freund was hired to help fill that gap.
At Federal Signal Technologies (FSTech) Freund was a key figure in driving the 6C sticker tags as an open standard alternate to TransCore's 6B series that dominate Texas and Florida. That led to important FSTech/Sirit sales in Washington state, at the Ambassador Bridge, E470 CO, Utah and Georgia. Meanwhile FSTech/Sirit remained the dominant supplier of Title 21 equipment to the established California electronic tolling market - due to expand shortly with several new toll express lanes in Los Angeles, the Bay area and San Diego.
And Freund pushed development and sales of 3M/Sirit's highly regarded multi protocol readers. He moved to southern California from the Toronto area to join FSTech's head office and be closer to the developing sticker tag market.
6C is the likely upgrade for California from the old hardbodied Allegro protocols, and based on its amazingly low price could play a major role in the move to national interoperability.
3M of course owns the patents to the FSTech multi protocol readers with the purchase of that unit from Federal Signal completed in September, but the tags are open standard.
Kapsch already does multi protocol readers but these will likely be developed further.
Freund will stay based in southern California for Kapsch but his close familiarity with 6C, the California market and developing sticker tag markets makes it exceedingly likely that Kapsch will work to compete with TransCore in the sticker transponders that sell at single digit prices. Neology is another significant 6C supplier.
Neology's head of sales Eric Redman moved to FSTech in 2010 and is now a major figure at 3M. By some accounts he is favored to replace Freund there.