Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New report: apparel tagging will consume 20 billion tags and reach $1B by 2021

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Apparel tagging is starting to finally experience the scale that will drive it to become ubiquitous in the retail marketplace. According to a new study, the apparel industry alone will account for $1 billion worth of UHF tag sales by 2021. The report from IDTechEx says that apparel will consume 20 billion RFID tags annually within a decade. (Click here to view more coverage of item level and apparel tagging)

In addition, $670 million will be spent on RFID infrastructure for apparel alone in 2021, up from $80 million this year.

And, the report states that for the first time ever, more passive RFID tags are being used in the apparel sector than in all other industries combined. The apparel movement started with the tagging of rented apparel and linen, which now accounts more than 60 million tags annually. By 2021, more than 200 million tags will be used for that application.

Click here to view an executive summary of the report.

Charleston County, S.C. deploys RFID-enabled solution to dramatically increase recycling efforts

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

The use of RFID technology is being integrated into products from cradle to grave. While more products are being tagged at the source to provide visibility through the supply chain and to the store shelf, RFID is becoming big business in the trash hauling sector as well.

This morning, Intermec announced a partnership with systems integrator Sonrai Systems that has helped Charleston County, S.C. to more than double its recycling participation, surpassing 70 percent recycling levels in some areas. (Watch for more details in this week’s issue of RFID 24-7).

RFID has been instrumental in providing Charleston County with unparalleled accuracy within its environmental management program with productivity rates increasing by 83 percent.

“In order to make future program decisions, we needed to be able to collect reliable and consistent data about recycling in our County and the RFID solution from Intermec and Sonrai has given us a high level of data confidence,” said Hal Crawford, Charleston County Collection Department Manager. “We now have technology as a trusted measuring stick for recycling in the County so we can strategically implement programs to encourage recycling to residents who aren’t.”

The County deployed curbside recycling carts with RFID tags at 5,000 homes in an initial pilot effort, and is in the process of extending the program to another 5,000 homes.

Bar codes are hot again!

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

The mundane bar code just got a little sexier. A pair of British volleyball players have signed a deal to wear scanable bar codes on their bikinis. The British based gambling site Betfair signed the deal with Olympic volleyball players Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin, according to the London Daily Mail. Their bikini bottoms will feature a quick response code that will take users to a Betfair website when photographed on a smart phone.

According to the Daily Mail, the women tried out the bar code bikinis during a recent tournament. However, Olympic sponsorship rules will prevent them from donning the bar codes during the 2012 London Games.

No word yet if Dampney and Mullin will opt to embed RFID tags on their clothing as well. Although, RFID and apparel tagging is certainly a hot sector.

Stanley Black & Decker acquires CribMaster parent WinWare

Friday, August 5th, 2011

In a very quiet transaction, Stanley Black & Decker acquired WinWare, the creator of the RFID-enabled CribMaster tool management system, with very little fanfare  in May. No purchase price was disclosed.

In our coverage of the ThingMagic acquisition last October, RFID 24-7 predicted that CribMaster would be one of the next firms to be purchased. While no terms were announced, those with knowledge of the company said it had sales of about $25 million, $10 million of which were related to RFID.

In a letter dated May 23, CribMaster president Larry Harper announced the transaction to WinWare’s customer base. The first paragraph of that letter reads as follows:

Today is an exciting day to be a CribMaster user, because today we are becoming part of the world’s biggest and best tools company — Stanley Black & Decker. That means in the near future you will be able to use your CribMaster solutions with a powerful new complement of Stanley Black & Decker brands, such as DeWalt, Mac Tools, Proto Tools, Vidmar Cabinets, and much more.

 

Stay tuned for more details on this deal and what it means to Stanley Black & Decker.

Avery Dennison readies for NFC onslaught by introducing line of NFC RFID inlays

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

It’s still too early to tell how just quickly NFC-enabled smart phones will be deployed around the globe, but some predictions call for 100 million being in use by the end of this year, with 500 million deployed globally by 2015.

Although the forecast remains unclear, Avery Dennison isn’t wasting any time preparing for the eventual onslaught of NFC technology. Today Avery announced its N-Zone™ line of near field communications (NFC) RFID inlays, designed to support the proliferation of innovative, high-performance NFC applications expected to spread across the globe.

NFC uses short-range wireless technology for a wide variety of new mobile commerce, information exchange and social networking applications that will simplify tasks like buying movie tickets and ticketing for public transit. For example, some of the initial uses for the Avery NFC inlays will be the transformation of ordinary product labels and store environments into powerful media for branding and new customer experiences, as well as in “smart” posters and NFC-enabled mobile devices.

“NFC is reaching the tipping point,” said Maggie Bidlingmaier, global director of sales and marketing at Avery Dennison RFID. “NFC-enabled smart phones are rapidly proliferating, and consumers will quickly demand applications that the technology makes possible. Our N-Zone NFC tags were designed specifically to power these rapidly emerging solutions.”

The first products in the N-Zone line of NFC inlays utilize NXP’s ICODE semiconductors. Jeff Fonseca, NXP’s NFC global business development director, said, “Combining Avery Dennison’s inlay design expertise and our ICODE®, Mifare™ Ultralight™, and DESFire™ line of products to create best-in-class NFC inlays is a natural progression of our strategic relationship.”

NXP and Avery Dennison are both members of the NFC Forum, the industry’s standards group.

Retailers hope RFID will curb $340B out-of-stock issue

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Why are retailers like Walmart and Macy’s so anxious to deploy item level RFID technology? For starters, out-of-stocks are robbing them of more than $430 billion in sales each year. A new study from IHL Group says that major retailers could improve sales by close to 10 percent by entirely eliminating out-of-stocks.

While RFID can’t do that on its own, it’s no wonder retailers like Walmart, Kohl’s and Dillard’s are pursuing item level tagging with such vigor. The IHL study says that more than one in five shoppers leave consumer electronics retail outlets empty handed because of out-of-stocks.

“What it comes down to is that there is no good way of counting your items at this point in time,” says Zander Livingston, CEO and co-founder of Truecount Corp., and a pioneer in apparel item level retail tracking. “It’s tedious on the employee, it’s manual labor and employees can easily be distracted, so there are significant problems with trying to manage your inventory with human beings, particularly if you have lot of turnover. So nobody is ignoring RFID any more.”

[Click here to view RFID 24-7's previous coverage of retail item level tagging]

There are varying reports about the pace of item level tagging at the retail level. Some analysts are calling for explosive year-over-year growth for the foreseeable future. In its 2010 report, VDC Research predicted that retailers would consume 800 million tags in 2011, and 3.4 billion by 2014. Given developments that have taken place over the last year, those estimates will likely be lifted in VDC’s next report. ABI Research, meanwhile, predicted in February that the footwear and apparel sectors would consume 750 million item level tags this year.

However, some tag manufacturers say that major retailers are not adopting as quickly as anticipated. But the intent is certainly there. Major retailers banded together in November to unveil the Item Level RFID Initiative, a group chartered to spread the pace of item level adoption.

And Livingston, who founded his RFID software and services company last year, says his firm signed on four retailers in May alone, although they are mostly Tier 2 and Tier 3 players.

“People are paying attention to RFID now,” he says. “Obviously the smaller retailers can move much quicker and those kinds of companies can jump in and make decisions quickly and see more immediate results.”

Livingston says that he is seeing increased action with retailers of mobile concert items such as T-shirts and hats that travel from venue to venue. The items need to be counted each time they enter and leave a concert venue, creating huge labor costs. RFID can accomplish the task much quicker and more accurately.

“They jumped on this solution immediately,” says Livingston. “They just have really bad inventory numbers and it’s a perfect opportunity for RFID to come in with handheld mobile devices to do cycle counts for them.”

Truecount is also working with a pair of Tier 2 sporting goods stores. Livingston expects those rollouts to be complete sometime this summer. In addition, Truecount is negotiating with a dozen more clients, including a major Tier 1 retailer.

The IHL study outlines how bad the out-of-stock issue is. The study says that the amount of revenue lost to retailers each year through distortion totals $778.5 billion worldwide. More than half (56 percent, or $433.4 billion) is a result of out-of-stock items.

The report says that retailers are in denial about out-of-stocks, and that the true rate experienced by consumers is almost 18 percent, about three times higher than the out-of -stock rate claimed by the retail industry. The report says that Radio Shack has an out-of-stock rate of 22.7 percent, and that Office Max was at 30.6 percent, equal to a loss of $1.96 for each customer entering the store.

North American apparel stores experience about $23.5 billion in annual out-of-stocks, and $16.2 billion in overstocks. “We talk anecdotally about RFID as a help, but the biggest issue is poor planning and lack of staff execution at the store level,” says Greg Buzek, an analyst with IHL. “RFID typically would help about $12 billion of the $39.7 billion inventory distortion problem for apparel retailers in North America.”

According to the Item Level RFID Initiative, EPC tagging can lead to much greater inventory accuracy, moving the industry average from 63 percent to 95 percent. Inventory productivity could be increased by 96 percent, improving from 200 items per hour to 12,000 items/hour with RFID. Item level tagging can also reduce the time it takes for an associate to find a product by 18 percent. Finally, out-of-stocks can be reduced up to 50 percent, with a sales lift of anywhere from 2 percent to 20 percent resulting from item level tagging.

“I’ve always said that a misplaced item is equivalent to not having it available at all,” says Livingston. “There is a breakdown at every level, from the supplier to the DC, the DC to the store, and then store to store transfers. The more times humans touch it, the more distortion you’re going to get because humans are just not 100 percent accurate. So for every one item you are off, it creates two points of distortion within your inventory.

“But once you put in RFID and become confident with the system and you know you are at 99.9 percent inventory accuracy, you will look for that missing item because the system says you have it, and you will always find it.”

Intelleflex white paper examines six key benefits of XC3 technology

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Click here to view and download the white paper.

 

 

Asset tracking and supply chain solutions drive strong growth at Zebra

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

The stock of Zebra Technologies up is strongly today after the company announced first quarter results that exceeded Wall Street estimates. Zebra’s 2011 first quarter net sales were $237.3 million, up 11.9 percent from the same period in 2010. The company expects second quarter sales to fall in the range of $240-250 million.

By mid-morning, the stock had set a new 52-week high and was trading just over $43.00 a share.

In a press release, Zebra attributed the increased results to supply chain and asset tracking solutions.

“Excellent execution on a clear and focused business strategy helped Zebra deliver these record results,” Anders Gustafsson, Zebra’s chief executive officer, stated in the release. “Innovative new products introduced over the past year are helping us meet more of our customers’ asset tagging needs in a more complex supply chain environment.”

Last month Zebra unveiled its UHF Gen 2 RFID card powered by Impinj Monza® 4 chips. The new UHF card extends Zebra’s high performance card product line with a new model that offers exceptional performance in access control, personnel tracking, long-range ID applications, and social media and hospitality check-ins.

Summary of RFID Live Day 1

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Avery Dennison’s Jack Farrell kicked off the opening day at RFID Live by elaborating on the company’s shipment of its one billionth tag last week and pointing out that RFID “is in the early stages of a very strong growth cycle.”

Farrell, vice president and general manager at Avery Dennison, said Avery is seeing the biggest growth in the retail apparel item level tagging, but “in three or four years it’ll be something else, whether a pharmaceutical application or authentication of consumer goods.”

“The industry has come a long way in the last seven years when it was focused around pharmaceutical, pallets, aviation and supply chain,” he said. “Clearly that early investment has been fundamental in allowing us to get to this point where we are seeing exceptional growth. It’s across the board and it speaks well of the continued momentum behind RFID when you have large companies rolling out the technology because very simply — they know it will make them money.”

In addition to retail, Avery Dennison is seeing active pilots in the coffee industry, as well as golf and wine sectors.

Farrell believes that the continued popularity of smart phones, coupled with item level retail tagging, will lead to a revolution in consumer retail habits. Noting that research shows that smart phones will outnumber PCs and laptops sold by 2012, Farrell said that increased mobile connectivity will enable an entirely different consumer experience.

“Retail item level tagging has led to significant growth, but the paradigm is changing for consumers,” he said. “People are looking for an entirely different retail experience and RFID can play a significant role.”

Farrell said that by 2013 to 2014, RFID will play a significant role in consumer product authentication, ensuring that consumers are getting what they pay for, while offering manufacturers new brand protection when it comes to counterfeiting. “This is the next big opportunity,” he said.

For example, RFID will ensure that accessories like printer cartridges are authentic, and that parts for expensive items like coffee makers are genuine.

The difference between 80% reads and 99.9% accuracy

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Without 99.9% accuracy, your RFID deployment is destined for failure. Check out ODIN’s video now to learn the difference between 80 percent read accuracy and 99.9 percent (the difference can be hair raising – but don’t expect too much high level info here).