We, me and my colleague Mr. Bernt Karlsson (CEO at Areff), visited the RFID Journal 2016 LIVE to participate in seminars and discussions with customers, suppliers, researchers and other stakeholders to learn about the RFID industry’s latest trends and innovations.
This world leading event was held in Orlando, Florida and included both an RFID industry exhibition that displayed RFID products and solutions as well as a conference part. The conference included multi tracks within different areas such as Retail, Manufacturing, Health Care, Logistics, Payments and Authentication and one track especially for Internet of Things.
I find three of the trends quite interesting for Areff and our customers …
The IoT age is upon us…
What is internet of things? It seems as it really depends on who you are. It is not just an internet of network connected devices (devices with an IP address). It can be anything such as socks, blue jeans, bicycles, washing machines and other widgets. More interesting, there are solutions where the indexing (or tagging) of products are already done at a large scale. There are readers and solutions that make it possible to communicate and add value to those indexed products. According to Steve Halliday, President at High Tech Aid and RAIN RFID Alliance, the industry are implementing IoT and especially within Energy, Manufacturing and Shipping. Further on, Steve Halliday states that this has also begun in a bigger scale for “Smart Homes”, “Wearables” and for “Smart City Solutions”.
I can see the same thing happening at Areff, with our industrial customers. They want to implement an infrastructure to create IoT functionality for objects that before were just “dead objects”. The reasons are to enhance inventory, inspections and customer relations. This adds not just the security functionality but also a possibility for a much higher productivity. The IoT age is really upon us and most probably, our business in this area will from now on grow rapidly.
Retail is taking big steps
In the exhibition area one could observe a lot of different Retail solutions, such as tags and readers but also full scalable solutions and management systems. This has not been the case earlier, this is obviously a business segment that is growing.
After listening to Jonathan Aitken (Picture from RFID Journal), Program Director, RFID at lululemon athletica, I can also conclude that once again the practical use of RFID and IoT solutions add productivity and increased sales. lululemon athletica has implemented RFID to more than 30 factories worldwide and more than 300 stores throughout Canada, the United States and Hong Kong. Yet another proof – the IoT age is upon us…
Robots are coming…
The third thing noticed is that there is also a trend of embedding RFID readers in robots. We could see a lot of companies and practical solutions at the exhibition, such as RFID equipped drones and other robots that were used to check tags. Smart solutions to protect humans from dangerous working environments (nuclear power plants, risk of explosion and more) but also to increase productivity.
To summon it up – IoT is upon us and increased productivity is the driver!
CTO at Areff Systems AB