Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

Wall Street Journal: RFID will simplify the airline experience for travelers

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

We’ve covered a lot of developments in the aerospace sector when it comes to RFID and how the technology will benefit the airline industry. Airbus, which is scheduled to deliver its new A350 line beginning in 2013, says that each new plane will include from 3,000 to 10,000 RFID tags to simplify maintenance and safety checks, saving airlines thousands of hours in labor.

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal looks at some of the consumer-facing benefits that flyers can look forward to. Some, like RFID-enabled check in at airports, are currently in the pilot stage. Others, like using RFID to track the progress of trips from start to finish, are longer term projects. Either way, just the idea that RFID is going to greatly enhance the consumer travel experience is exciting news.

An excerpt from the WSJ article:

Qantas Airways Ltd. has gone a couple of steps further with a pilot program in place for domestic flights at four airports in Australia. The program allows travelers to check-in in seconds at a kiosk that reads an RFID, or radio-frequency identification, chip in their frequent-flier card. At that moment, flight details, including a gate number, are sent to the traveler’s smartphone. At the gate, passengers can simply have their card scanned again and board the plane.

Farther down the line, technology will emerge to manage every aspect of a trip, from door to door, says Brian O’Rourke, who leads the global airline team at International Business Machines Corp., which is working with Qantas on its RFID technology. “In a decade or two, there will be smart analytics around your travel itinerary that will do everything from recommending the best transport options to and from the airport to being able to update the airline, the driver, the hotelier and the rail company on the status of your flight and other travel,” he says.



WSJ: Avery Dennison RFID revenue headed for $1B

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

RFID continues to see increased exposure, most recently in the Wall Street Journal, which just published a very revealing piece on Avery Dennison’s promising RFID business, which is being driven by the phenomenal growth of retail apparel tagging.

The article pegs Avery’s RFID revenue is estimated at $50 million this year, possibly increasing to $150 million in 2011. Some analysts predict the company’s RFID revenue will eventually reach $500 million to $1 billion a year.

Avery’s net sales last year were $5.95 billion.

Click here to read the full Wall Street Journal article.

ClearCount Medical closes $5M in funding

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

ClearCount Medical Solutions, an innovator of patient safety solutions for operating rooms, has received a $5 million shot in the arm from Draper Triangle Ventures and other existing investors. The Series B financing will allow the company to drive market penetration and research and development of its RFID-based solutions for hospital patient safety applications.

ClearCount has developed an FDA-approved sponge counting and detection solution that was recently put into use at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare. The RFID-based platform uniquely identifies each sponge so that they can be easily counted and detected, avoiding having surgical sponges left in patients after medical procedures.

“Thanks to the strong backing of our investors, this past year ClearCount completed a valuable distribution deal, signed major new customers and introduced an important new product that is making surgical procedures safer every day,” David Palmer, CEO of ClearCount Medical Solutions, said in a release.

“ClearCount’s patented RFID technology and offerings are more relevant than ever,” said Mike Stubler, Managing Director of Draper Triangle. “As improving the quality of healthcare continues to be a national focus, solutions that can also impact the efficiency and value a hospital offers its patients are sure to be adopted.”

Retained sponges are the most frequent and dangerous of retained surgical items, a “Never Event” resulting in non-payment to hospitals and significant risk to patients. A large multi-center trial recently demonstrated that as little as a 30-minute surgical delay can nearly double the risk of infectious complications, so clearly every minute counts.

The company was also featured recently in the Wall Street Journal. Click here to read the article.

Wal-Mart’s item-level apparel tagging campaign will drive global adoption

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

For anyone that missed RFID 24-7 on Tuesday, we’ve posted our Wal-Mart story here…

It’s not often that RFID ends up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. But it’s not often that the world’s largest retailer goes public with its technology plans either. Wal-Mart used to be quoted widely about its plans for RFID in the supply chain. Then a light bulb went off; the retailer realized that RFID is far more valuable at the store level, and on specific items.

And while Friday’s article in the Journal wasn’t exactly breaking news, it did cement the fact that Wal-Mart is pursuing item-level tagging for certain lines of men’s jeans and underwear. Industry experts predict that Wal-Mart will consume 30 million tags over the next 12 months just on those lines. If the launch is expanded, and it likely will when Wal-Mart sees the proper business value, the retailer’s use of RFID could explode and catapult item-level tagging to global acceptance. Down the road, it’s entirely possible that Wal-Mart could use hundreds of millions of tags while not even approaching a full apparel rollout.

“This is the beginning of the whole retail item-level tracking thing in the big world,” says Drew Nathanson, senior RFID analyst and director of research operations at VDC Research Group, Inc., who says that retailers will use more than 800 million RFID tags in 2011.

“We’ve seen some of these other applications with retailers but this shows it’s not only sparse deployments. You have the number one retailer in the world saying that this is the way we’re going to get more profit and more efficiency.”

Item-level tagging for apparel has been a sweet spot for the retail industry for years, although projects have been limited in scope, with many small pilots. There have been some exceptions, such as American Apparel’s well-documented item-level program, some very successful footwear programs in Europe, and, more recently, the Gerry Weber chain. The company will be the first German retail company to roll out RFID technology combining inventory management and loss prevention. Gerry Weber will rely on an Avery Dennison supplied RFID solution in more than 25 million garments a year through an RFID chip imbedded in a care label. This solution will optimize Gerry Weber logistics and retail processes, reduce theft and ensure stores are well stocked with popular items.

American Apparel operates about 300 stores. That’s a significant rollout, but considering that Wal-Mart operates well over 300 retail outlets in Texas alone, it’s understandable how this deployment could scale significantly.

“If Wal-Mart moves forward with this by rolling it out to all stores it would dwarf all other initiatives to date,” says Bill Hardgrave, founder and director of the RFID Research Center at the University of Arkansas. “It’s just another indication that we are moving down the item-level path very quickly. The fact that retailers are embracing RFID is nothing new. The fact that Wal-Mart it out there talking about its current plans is what caught everyone’s attention. It’s been a while since they’ve talked about this.”

The ramifications of Wal-Mart pushing item level tagging go well beyond the apparel sector and retailing. For starters, Wal-Mart has great clout with its suppliers, and this initiative will cause tagging to be pushed down the value chain quickly, resulting in more tagging at the source of manufacture. Additionally, the move will force competitors like Target to enter the game quickly. Target has remained very quite about RFID, but it’s believed the company has learned from others and could be ready to dive into the technology soon.

“Any time that [Wal-Mart] does something, everyone wants to understand what it is, why, and what kinds of benefits are being gained,” says Rose Depoe, global director of RFID strategic solutions and alliances for Avery Dennison Retail Information Services. “In general, in retail the quickest categories to adopt are those that are most complex in terms of SKU management. So in apparel, when we talk about the Wal-Mart announcement being for jeans and underwear, nearly all of them start with areas that are the most complex to manage. This is true for the 20 or 30 projects we’re involved in now.”

Such a big push by the retail sector could drive prices down further, opening up other opportunities in other industries. The pharmaceutical sector, which has seen stop-and-go item-level tagging, could  expand tagging initiatives if pricing drops further.

Last month RFID 24-7 published VDC Research’s predictions for the retail segment that includes a prediction for more than 10.5 billion tags sold by 2014, of which 3.4 billion will be used in retail, including item-level tags, as well as tags used for smart courtesy cards and access control.

“This all kind of goes along with that retail forecast that we’ve discussed where you see a huge number going up because they will be doing it continuously not only by store, but by additional product lines,” says Nathanson. “If [Wal-Mart] get the benefit they are expecting from it, you’ll see this [expand] fairly quickly.”