Happy 40th, barcode!

swiftsureJuly 1, 2014 – June 26 was barcode’s big day. Forty years ago an Ohio grocery store scanned a tagged pack of Wrigley’s gum, making it the first time a barcode using modern UPC standards was used in a retail transaction. In 1974 that barcode cost more than the pack of Juicy Fruit.

Barcode and asset tracking have come a long way since then, with RFID enabling affordable, sophisticated automated data capture solutions used for everything from conducting inventory and tracking supplies and equipment to providing access control for people and vehicles.

Automated data capture and asset management technologies increase accuracy and efficiency as well as reduce costs at libraries, hospitals, airports, universities, manufacturers, event venues and public and private organizations. Unlike barcodes, RFID tags can be “seen” out of line-of-sight, and hundreds of items can be read at the same time using fixed location or handheld readers.

“RFID in the supply chain provides many opportunities for improving supply chain operations,” Pedro Reyes, an RFID expert and author, said on Baylor University’s Web site. “Visibility of inventory throughout the channel is improved and processes are performed faster. Thus, there’s great potential for lead time reduction and reduction in uncertainty.” Reyes is associate professor of operations and supply chain management in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business and director of the Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Management.

What’s ahead for barcode and RFID technology? “When we look to the future, the future is really limitless,” Ryan Eickmeier, senior director of marketing, communications and government relations at GS1, told the CBC News Network. GS1 is the nonprofit group that designs and manages global supply chain standards.

Happy anniversary, barcode!

RFID kill switch could be turn-on for asset managers

June 24, 2014 – Swiftsure’s partner Impinj has joined with Intel and others to create a solution that could help track and monitor equipment, and disable stolen or lost laptops. Tech news media and blogging sites have headlined the “kill switch” feature that could discourage laptop thieves. (Or, some fear, take control of their computers.) But the system might have broader benefits for those who manage assets.

According to Swiftsure’s Bruno Riegl, this type of solution would mean that instead of event management control being on the backend, it would be embedded in the chip inside a device. “The benefit is that the device has a degree of intelligence independent of a backend information management system. Pre-chipping items can also help with inventory verification.”

Riegl added that the threat of outsiders taking control of computers is overblown since the level of encryption and security handshake between devices is unlikely to be less than currently exists on both wireline and wireless networks.

Still in development, the Intel solution would use embedded chips to monitor, track, locate and manage provisioning of equipment, including in hospitals and other organizations, as well as tracing movement of such devices as computers during shipment.

At the heart of the project is the Wireless Credential Exchange (WCE). It uses Impinj’s Monza RFID chips, Technology Solution UK’s (TSL) RFID readers and Burnside Digital‘s cloud-based data repository and dashboard.  The WCE system enables Intel’s System on Chip (SoC) to read and write data to the Monza RFID chip. The chip can also be read and be written to using an external TSL RFID reader. Data – from unique IDs and error logs and permissions to device configurations – can be written to the Monza chip and then read back to the Intel processor.

Burnside Digital designed custom Windows, iOS, and Android applications to communicate with a TSL reader using Bluetooth technology. The applications can also communicate with a cloud-based database that Burnside Digital created.

The WCE system can disable a device prior to shipping and then reactivate it when it reaches its final destination, making it useless if it were lost or stolen during shipment.

Burnside’s Website states: “By embedding Impinj Monza RFID chips inside Intel SoC-powered devices, they can be tracked, provisioned, shipped, deployed, and monitored using industry standard RFID readers such as those developed by TSL. Burnside Digital developed the software called IPTrak that ties all these components together.”

 

 

 

Food for nought – RFID, GPS to track trucks in India

June 11, 2014 – Delhi’s government hopes that RFID and GPS technology will ensure that food intended for needy families is not diverted, reports the Economic Times.

GPS to be used to track trucks carrying PDS food grains

NEW DELHI: Delhi government will track the trucks carrying food grains with the help of Global Positioning System ( GPS) and Radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices to curb the menace of diversion of rations meant for families below the poverty line. The Department of Food, Supplies and Consumer Affairs has started work on the setting up of a comprehensive web based, real time tracking system for effective implementation of the Public Distribution System.

“The objective is to continuously track the movement of vehicles to ensure that the ration commodities are properly and timely delivered to the FPS and are not diverted to the open market,” said SS Yadav, Food Supply and Weights and Measures Commissioner today.

It will be implemented by the Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation (DSCSC) Limited which is responsible for supplying foodgrains from the six Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns in Delhi to about 2,500 Fair Price Shops (FPS) across the city, informed Yadav.

The move is significant in the wake of the department receiving complaints about diversion of food grains.

Moreover, the department conducted a series of raids in the last two months to detect and prevent diversion, and more than 30 cases have been registered in various police stations.

“3.8 lakh quintals of wheat and rice are supplied from FCI godowns to the FPS and DSCSC also transports 20,000 quintals of sugar from its two godowns to the FPS every month.

“For the transportation, DSCSC deploys 300 trucks every month. There have been a number of complaints about diversion of these items. But leveraging information technology can provide a permanent solution to curb the menace of diversion of foodgrains by real time tracking of vehicles,” Yadav said.

New RFID group seeks members

June 5, 2014 – RAIN, a recently formed alliance promoting UHF RFID, hopes to increase membership by hosting a July webinar and offering a discount to those joining before Sept. 8.

RAIN was announced at the RFID Journal Live conference in April 2014, as an industry alliance that promotes the awareness and adoption of UHF RFID (as standardized by GS1 EPCglobal™ and ISO/IEC 18000-63).  RAIN promotes education and marketing initiatives to accelerate the growth and adoption of ISO/IEC 18000-63 / GS1 EPCglobal™ UHF Gen2 RFID in business and consumer applications worldwide.

“New charter members joining founding RAIN members will elect an additional board member at the first meeting of the alliance,” said Steve Halliday, president of RAIN.  “They will also receive a discount on their first year’s membership dues.”

Companies with further questions about the benefits of joining the alliance are invited to attend a webinar on 8 July, 2014 at 10:00am EDT.  Details and a sign-up form can be found on the web site (http://www.rainrfid.org/rain-rfid-announces-webinar/).

#  #  #

About RAIN

RAIN promotes awareness, education, and initiatives to accelerate UHF RFID adoption in business and consumer applications worldwide. RAIN delivers focused messaging about the benefits of UHF RFID to end users companies and consumers alike. Information on RAIN is available on the RAIN website at http://www.RAINRFID.org or by email at info@RAINRFID.org.

RFID access control basics

June 4, 2014 – Engineering.com offers a quick overview of RFID for access control, ensuring people and vehicles are only where they need to be, and when.

Ray Floyd posted on May 30, 2014

There are a number of applications for RFID being developed for access control.  The fastest growing are for personnel access, gate control, and parking facilities.  Here’s a brief look at each of these applications.

Personnel Access

In its most common form, RFID access for personnel may simply be the inclusion of an RFID tag in the identification badge of the worker.  RFID has made inroads into this area that was originally dominated by the magnetic stripe badge.  RFID applications for personnel access typically uses low frequency, 135 KHz, systems for the badge detection.

RFID badges can be used to control access to particular areas, for time keeping, or other applications.  For example, there are two popular medical applications that move into the higher frequency domain where the application is used to determine the location of either medical staff or wandering patients.

Source – Wikipedia

 

Gate Control 

There are two primary areas where RFID is used in gate control: gated communities, and industrial facility access.  In both applications the RFID system is frequently used in conjunction with electronic loop detectors to control the time the gate is open or to control the closing of the gate once the vehicle has cleared.Many gated communities have exchanged the cost of the 24-hour gate keeper for an automated system employing RFID.   This way the gated community has only the expense of the reader and loops to implement RFID technology.Switching to RFID is more popular in areas that have toll roads or other systems that employ tags already.  Even in more isolated communities, the implementation of the RFID may be cost justified.  The more common systems are implemented using either windshield tags or license plate tags for the vehicles.For industrial facility access, visitors or commercial vehicles will typically employ a telephone that may be used to request entry.  Depending on the style and number of gates (one or two) vehicles exiting the community may not require RFID tags to energize the exit gate, simply loop control.Some trucking companies are also implementing RFID as a gate control method.  In many of these installations the RFID is also used to verify load matches, tractor to trailer or tractor to container.  As noted in this article about RFID in transportation, otherinformationmay be captured by the RFID system, such as fuel level, odometer reading, etc., depending on the type of tags being employed.


Source – Wikipedia

 

Parking Facilities 
In areas or businesses that have other applications for the use of RFID, parking facilities may be able to take advantage of the RFID infrastructure to improve customer service.  Airport administrators, for example, have found that when implementing RFID for curb space tracking and control, the application may be extended into their parking facilities through the installation of card readers at the entrance and exit points.  Such implementation provides the customer faster ingress and egress from the facility.

Even when the parking facility is not associated with a business such as an airport, the investment for tags can be a worthwhile investment to improve customer satisfaction.

Uruguay leads the way in MJ tracking

Uruguay – the first nation to fully legalize marijuana – has found that regulating the controversial substance and industry is a challenge. According to the International Business Times, its government plans a sophisticated system to track the product, from seed to sale, using RFID.

Uruguay Will Track Legal Marijuana Via RFID and Genetic Markers –

on March 29 2014 11:36 AM
RTX16AYL
Marijuana activist and home grower Juan Vaz checks on instructions to cultivate marijuana in his indoor cultivation in Montevideo, December 6, 2013. Uruguay’s senate will vote on December 10 to create a government body to control the cultivation and sale of marijuana and allow residents to grow it at home or as part of smoking clubs. The use of marijuana is already legal in the South American nation, but sale and cultivation is not. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure, which is backed by leftist President Jose Mujica. Picture taken December 6, 2013. REUTERS/Andres Stapff

The head of Uruguay’s National Drug Board says the government will track every legal marijuana plant in the country using radio frequency tags, among other rigorous standards planned for the country’s legal marijuana industry.

Julio Caldeza says all government-grown plants will also be cloned with genetic markers to allow authorities to identify any plant grown legally. Proponents of the tracking and identification systems hope these measures will help them reduce illegal trafficking and production in the country and keep track of abusers that need help.

In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize the consumption, cultivation and distribution of marijuana. Anyone over the age of 18 and registered in Uruguay’s countrywide database is allowed to purchase marijuana over the counter. There are limits to how much an individual or group can grow and buy every month.

The tracking technology is the same used by the South American country to track its beef. An official could scan any plant with something similar to a barcode scanner and get the plant’s complete history from “seed-to-sale.”

Uruguay’s government-grown pot won’t be available until the end of 2014, so the genetically marked plants won’t be on the market when the government releases its official rules and regulations for the legal industry at the end of April. They’ll allow growers to have “illegal” plants as long as they’re registered with the national database.

Uruguay’s track and regulation systems are far more comprehensive than either Washington or Colorado, the only two U.S. states to legalize recreational marijuana. Granted, Uruguay’s legal marijuana system as a whole is more comprehensive. Colorado currently has a similar radio-frequency tracking system for its commercial marijuana, and Washington plans for a system that tracks it from seed-to-sale.

Neither Washington nor Colorado requires home growers to register their marijuana though, and Uruguay is the only authority that wants to ensure its citizens are smoking only legal marijuana. Colorado and Washington stop tracking at sale, but Uruguay’s genetically marked marijuana would make it possible to determine if any sample of marijuana originated from legal marketplaces.

The system may be reassuring to the significant majority of Uruguayans who don’t support the legalization of marijuana. A 2013 poll taken not long before the government passed the legalization legislation to President Jose Mujica in December showed 58 percent of its participants opposed legalization.

ALIM – The lifecycle approach to asset information management

Research confirms that a lifecycle approach to managing asset information helps organizations improve business processes and avoid costly pitfalls.

A lifecycle approach to asset information management can deliver big benefits –

29 April 2014, 11:11 a.m.

Warren Wilson, Lead Analyst, Energy – Oil & Gas Technology

Enterprises in asset-intensive industries such as utilities and oil and gas have many billions of dollars invested in aging assets. These assets cost billions more to keep in good working order, meet regulatory compliance, and modify as requirements change. In a recent survey, Ovum found that an emerging software category, asset lifecycle information management (ALIM), can provide significant business benefits.

To date, relatively few companies have deployed such applications, but they are growing in capability and falling in price. We believe that current business conditions make the ALIM approach a sensible, even necessary, one for asset-intensive companies. Those that adopt ALIM stand to reap gains in service levels, business continuity, cost control, and compliance. Those that do not may face consequences such as greater risk, higher costs, and loss of competitiveness.

Asset management is a longstanding and expensive problem in asset-intensive industries

Utilities worldwide spend billions of dollars on power stations and energy transmission/distribution networks. Oil and gas producers and processors spend massively on drilling platforms, fracking equipment, refining and gas processing equipment, and much more.

These industries have long relied on paper-based asset management systems that are prone to incorrect or incomplete information. Where these systems have been digitized, the data often resides in isolated silos and in multiple conflicting versions. This makes it difficult for the business to achieve accurate and comprehensive visibility and takes a toll on service quality, cost, business continuity, and overall competitiveness.

A lifecycle approach to asset data can minimize costs, maximize asset value, and improve service

Software that can accurately manage all relevant data across the asset lifecycle – from concept and design, through an asset’s operating life, to eventual decommissioning and disposal – can pay dividends by optimizing asset performance while controlling service and repair costs. Such systems have been expensive and difficult to deploy and maintain, and as a result they have achieved much less market penetration than other, narrower forms of asset information and performance management.

In Ovum’s recent survey, 11% of respondents said they have fully deployed an ALIM system, while another 7% said they are trialing one. Applications that focus on asset and project information and performance management but do not take a lifecycle approach have achieved penetration rates of around 60%.

But our survey, which covered seven software categories in all, found that ALIM can be highly effective. Measured by the number of respondents who were completely or mostly satisfied with the solution they had deployed, ALIM applications scored highest in terms of increasing overall asset value and reducing asset costs. ALIM applications outscored five of the six other categories in terms of reduced times and costs for service and repair, and they scored higher than any other category in terms of ease of deployment.

The survey data are discussed in more detail in two recent Ovum reports: Managing Assets for Maximum Performance and Value and Modern Asset Management Critical in Heavy Industries.

Companies that do not embrace a lifecycle approach to asset management risk significant consequences

Compared to narrower approaches, ALIM applications offer better visibility into asset performance and provide the strongest foundation for analytics tools. Such applications are increasing in capability, becoming easier to deploy, and declining in price. We believe that today’s business conditions – including high asset costs, market volatility, increasing business and technical complexity, and tougher competition – make this model a sensible, even necessary, one.

Companies that do not pursue a lifecycle strategy face a number of consequences, including greater regulatory risk, higher costs, project delays, and reduced process stability, all of which erode the company’s competitive position.

Companies in asset-intensive industries should carefully consider the ALIM model. Those that embrace it will reap the benefits, while those that do not risk being left behind.

The post A lifecycle approach to asset information management can deliver big benefits appeared first on Ovum.

You know about the Cloud. How about the Fog?

A bottleneck could be ahead for the Cloud, with billions of objects generating overwhelming amounts of unfiltered data. According to Supply Chain Digest, some experts think the answer lies closer to the ground – in the Fog.

From SCDigest’s OnTarget e-Magazine

– May 20, 2014 –

RFID and AIDC News: Perhaps the Internet of Thing Should be a Little Less Chatty

Do We Really Want All that Data Pushed Into the Cloud? Cisco Pushes a Fog Alterative; How Often Should Pallets Really Communicate?

SCDigest Editorial Staff

The Internet of Things (IoT) seems to be becoming a reality. Earlier this year, for example, the analysts at Gartner predicted that there would be some 26 billion things connected to the Internet by 2020. (See As Internet of Things becomes Real, New Opportunities for Supply Chain.)

What kind of things? Pallets of inventory, machines on factory floors, automobiles, you name it, many certainly with supply chain implications. Gartner, in fact, believes operations staff and the IT team need to start conversations right now to begin planning for the IoT future that will soon be here, looking at what information might be available, and how it might be leveraged.

A key point relative to the Internet of Things is that to date, nearly all of the information on the Internet has been put there by human beings, whether it’s a blog post , the results some scientific study, or a government report. While the level of information available today continues to explode, to an extent this human factor has limited the amount of information that does get posted. Just consider the number of companies and organizations that have trouble keeping their web sites up to date.

While at least for now human beings will still have to develop applications to take in and display the information, with the IoT, once the “things” start sending their data, the Internet as we know it may be overwhelmed, unshackled from the dependence on humans to get data to the web. There will be billions of inanimate objects sending streams of data 24 x 7 to the Cloud.

Bandwidth, it seems, especially in the US (which is well behind Internet speeds versus many countries in Europe and Asia) could become a real IoT bottleneck given this huge increase in traffic. So while the idea that all the connected things will be sending data to the “Cloud,” readily accessible by all the relevant parties, that may just not be practical or even make sense in many applications.

Consider, for example, a truckload full of pallets in a temperature controlled trailer. Each pallet has an RFID chip to uniquely identify it, connected to a sensor that monitors temperature and perhaps other environmental conditions, such as humidity.

As that trailer is moving down the highway, how much of this real-time data do companies really want communicated – and how much data traffic can the communications systems really handle?

Will companies really want updates from the sensors every few minutes? Or will “event management” thinking need to be added to the IoT, so that, for example, data from our moving pallets only is sent to the Cloud if temperature or other conditions change, or start to approach tolerances?

The answer to that last question will often be Yes, meaning operations managers and IT will have yet another set of variables to consider when designing IoT applications.

Or consider that new aircraft engines from GE have sensors and Internet communications for nearly every part the engine contains, and can generate as much as half a terabyte of data for a single flight.

And this jet engine provides a great example of how tricky all this will be. Certainly, there would be some cases where data shows the engine needs some kind of maintenance when it lands, and just that information needs to be sent when it reaches certain tolerance levels.

But in other cases, does a maintenance engineer need to see all the data, because to understand the big picture, readings from several areas or parts need to be viewed together.

And this then begs this question: if only a fraction of the data generated by the IoT is actually communicated upwards, is all the rest just be discarded, or is stored locally?Some of the IT industry’s biggest names, in fact, are pushing the idea of doing much of the data storage locally, with rules about what portions of it get sent to the Cloud mothership.Networking systems giant Cisco, if fact, is pitching a concept it calls the “Fog” as a complement to the Cloud. In Cisco’s vision, a new generation of routers – Cisco’s bread and butter offering – would get even smarter, have big storage capacity, and make decisions about what data goes where.It’s called the Fog because much information would stay “close to the ground” of where it is being generated, not all pushed into the Cloud.
As part of this vision, these routers would not send information to the Cloud unless it needs to, based on defined business rules. IBM is pushing a similar concept.So we might be entering an age of what could be called “information logistics,” with complex questions about what data needs to be captured, how and when and how much of it needs to be moved, how much stored, and how anyone is going to make sense of it.The Internet of Things is likely to have a profound effect on many supply chains, but we are in the very early innings of figuring out how to optimally harness its power.


 

The future of RFID and the IoT

IEEE, RFID, IoT. What does it all mean for inventory, resource and information management – and business process improvement? International experts and researchers recently convened to explore the promise, possibilities and augmented realities.

RFID Makes Internet of Things Come to Life –

Though RFID technology has been around for decades, new technologies and R&D promise to bring a flood of new applications to numerous industries.
May 15, 2014
 | Machine Design

RFID is shaping up to be an important building block for the Internet of Things (IoT). Those attending the recent IEEE RFID 2014 conference in Orlando got a chance to see where the technology is headed in areas ranging from antenna designs to reflective communication methods.

RFID at Disney and in the fridge

The killer application of RFID is still inventory management. David Worrall of Disney’s New Technology Group said, “RFID technologies have been instrumental in streamlining our costuming inventory processes and providing global operational efficiencies across our theme parks, resorts, and cruise ships.”

Another example came from industry researcher Ismail Uysal from the RFID Center at University of South Florida. Uysal worked on tracking temperature and spoilage in the cold-food supply chain. From his research he concluded, “Pallet level or even higher-resolution temperature monitoring can be more widely adopted if three important issues are addressed — cost, data speeds, and standardization.”

One presenter, Dr. Greg Kenning of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, addressed the food-temperature problem with a new material made up of alternating layers of cobalt and antimony. The resulting tag measures the dc resistance of this material, which happens to lower its electrical resistance the longer it stays in warm temperatures.

Consider, for example, a pallet of strawberries, marked with one of these sensor tags stored in a warehouse at room temperature for one day. The pallet tag would have a resistance reading much lower than would that on a pallet stored in a refrigerated storage room. The biggest upside to this technique is that it can be implemented in a passive sensor that uses energy-harvesting charge pumps rather than batteries.

Passive sensors enabled by RFID can now track spoilage caused by extended exposure to high temperatures. The graph of normalized resistance (R/Ro) shows that it would take a little more than a day (100,000 sec) for the material resistance to drop by 10% in a 98°F (310°K) storage room. Researcher Greg Kenning described the behavior in an IEEE paper titled, “Development of a Nanoparticle Time-Temperature Sensor for Passive and Active RFID.”

 

Harvesting energy at any and all frequencies

Aaron Parks and Dr. Joshua Smith from the University of Washington expanded an idea used in simple conventional RFID tags that employ charge pumps designed only for the 915-MHz ISM band. The team put together a prototype with five charge pumps — one for each frequency band around 237, 400, 600, 900, and 1,350 MHz.

With the new charge pumps, the team is able to harvest enough energy from ambient sources to do useful work. For example, they can harvest about 60 uW from a nearby TV-broadcast antenna transmitting at 539 MHz. This happens while simultaneously harvesting about 50 uW from a standard RFID reader at 915 MHz.

This five-band energy harvester receives signals from a wideband log-periodic antenna that feeds the central point in the circle. Each charge pump (labeled 1, 2, …, 5) is matched to a specific frequency band, and the harvested voltage is summed around the outer circle into the output ports (+) and (–) on the right side of the board. Researchers A. N. Parks and J. R. Smith outlined the charge pump in an IEEE paper titled, “Sifting Through the Airwaves: Efficient and Scalable Multiband RF Harvesting.”

More data, more possibilities

Communications between RFID tags and readers is notorious for being low-bandwidth. But researchers think it can improve.  For instance, a team out of Duke University designed a system that can send live audio, images, and possibly video across a 5-Mbps link from tag to reader.

This may not sound like a lot, but it is a 10x improvement over the standard “gen 2” passive RFID tag that sends only about 0.5 Mbps to the reader. This boost in data rate could be used to transmit images and possibly video if enough energy could be harvested to power a camera.

Researchers at Duke University used reflective communications to send this image of a sleeping baby from a passive tag to an RFID reader. Passive tags save energy by reflecting signals with data back toward the reader. The technology was detailed by S. J. Thomas, T. Deyle, R. Harrison, and M. S. Reynolds in an IEEE paper titled, “Rich-Media Tags: Battery-free wireless multichannel digital audio and image transmission with UHF RFID techniques.”

 

Here’s how it works. The passive RFID tag conveys an unmodulated signal back toward the RFID reader via modulated reflections. The passive tag has to scavenge for energy, so it cannot transmit signals like normal. Instead, it reflects the signals already in the air. It’s much like a mirror reflecting the light from a flashlight in a dark room. The modulation scheme used in the Duke paper is Slow-Scan Television (SSTV), which conveys pixel luminance via amplitude modulation and color via frequency modulation.

Augmented reality using RFID

Andreas Parr and Robert Miesen from Friedrich-Alexander University near Nuremburg, Germany, showed off a handheld computer screen with a front-facing video camera attached to an RFID reader. The computer screen shows a live view from the video camera.

With a few clicks on the screen, Parr and Miesen’s augmented-reality application locks onto and tracks an RFID tag in the camera’s view. As you move the handheld assembly, the application smoothly tracks the RFID tag. This demonstration shows the next level of visual target tracking and augmented reality available by combining with RFID.

An RFID tag is tracked on the screen (small circle) using position-estimation techniques pioneered at FAU Erlangen-Nuremburg. The device contains an inertial measurement unit, Thingmagic M6e RFID reader, RFID antenna (large silver box behind the screen), 7-in. touchscreen, a BeagleBoard computer running Ubuntu Linux, and a lithium-ion battery.

 

IEEE RFID conferences take place in early Spring each year alongside RFID Journal LIVE!, the largest RFID industry conference in the world.Next year’s RFID 2015 conference will take place in San Diego from April 15-17, 2015. For more info:http://2015.ieee-rfid.org/

____________________

MATTHEW TROTTER is a research engineer at Georgia Tech Research Institute, Information and Communications Laboratory (GTRI ICL).

2014 RFID Journal Live! Europe registration now open

Registration for RFID Journal’s European conference and trade show opened today. The London event for the RFID industry will be Oct. 23. Read more about it below.

Registration Now Open for RFID Journal’s 10th Annual European Event

RFID Journal LIVE! Europe will be held on Oct. 23 in London, and will focus on the benefits of employing RFID to improve business operations across Europe.
By RFID Journal
 
May 12, 2014—RFID Journal announced today that registration is now open for this year’s RFID Journal LIVE! Europe conference and exhibition, focused on the use of radio frequency identification technology and its many business benefits. The event will take place on Oct. 23, 2014, at Dexter House, located in London, England.”We are seeing a growing interest among European companies in the benefits that RFID can deliver, particularly in retail,” says Mark Roberti, RFID Journal‘s founder and editor. “This year’s event will feature new case studies and a retail-focused track that will help companies determine how they can take advantage of RFID technologies.”The conference will open with three general sessions, and then divide into two tracks. The Retail Track will feature case studies from retailers that are currently benefiting from employing RFID. Among the topics that speakers will cover are improving in-store inventory accuracy, enhancing the customer experience, RFID-enabled inventory replenishment, supply chain applications and supplier benefits.The Main Track will cover a wide variety of applications relevant to businesses in manufacturing, logistics and other industries. These applications will include asset tracking, inventory management, tracking work-in-process, boosting shipping accuracy, RFID-enabled kanban systems, supply chain management, improving supply chain visibility and reducing shrinkage.

This one-day event, to be held in the heart of London, is designed to help companies considering implementing RFID to address real business challenges, determine the best technology for their needs, learn best practices from early adopters, find the right technology partners and move forward with deployment.

The exhibit hall will feature the leading RFID solution providers, covering all types of RFID technology, including passive low-frequency (LF), high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF), as well as every flavor of active RFID and real-time location system (RTLS) technologies. Furthermore, LIVE! Europe will connect attendees with leading end users, industry experts and solution providers offering the latest RFID systems.

More information is available at the RFID Journal LIVE! Europe website, or by contacting attendee registration at europereg@rfidjournal.com or +1 (631) 249-4960.

 

Sky’s the limit for RFID in ME aviation

 

RFID in the Middle East is taking off, with the aviation industry deploying the technology to increase safety and security:

Big growth projected in RFID solutions deployment by ME 

Suspect Bag Tracking System for Saudi airport

UAE and other Gulf airports benefits from EnTrackBag technology

Two to Three per cent suspect checked-in baggage at airports

Dubai, May 12, 2014: The use of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) in the aviation industry in the Middle East region is expected to grow significantly in the next two years with an increasing number of airports, cargo and flight catering companies, duty free facilities and customs authorities deploying this modern technology in their operations.

The Dubai Internet City-based TrackIT Solutions is utilizing the 14th Airport Show to create better awareness about its RFID solutions, including the world’s first Suspect Bag Tracking System – EnTrackBag – designed to meet the needs and expectation of the aviation industry for a secure and safer environment for millions of air passengers across the world.

Soma SekharVedantam, CEO, TrackIT Solutions, said two airports in the UAE and the other Gulf airports have already deployed EnTrackBag which has been helping the custom officials in identifying the suspect bags from the check-in baggage of the arriving passengers. The cutting-edge technology is due to be deployed at an airport in Saudi Arabia in the next six months. “If you look at the pace of RFID solutions deployment in the Middle East, we can say that the next two years will bring all the airports in the region under the RFID technology coverage. We are holding discussions with several organizations and could see the trend taking shape,” he said.

EnTrackBag is a comprehensive Suspect Bag Tracking System for airport customers that facilitate airport security/custom officials to identify and uniquely tag a suspect bag. Subsequently that bag can be unobtrusively tracked or located and relevant officials can then be alerted. The system also enables airports to profile passengers and build a database that can be used to significantly enhance security.

It supports sniffer dog identified suspect bag and could be integrated with Baggage Handling System (BHS), Screening System and Passenger data. No false or repeat alarms come from the system which also has the ability to profile passengers and uniquely identify every suspect bag in addition to automatic reporting. The hardware for the EnTrackBag is from Motorola, while the software comes from TrackIT.

EnTrackAsset offers a strong asset tracking solution to build and maintain master asset registry for various entities of airports. The system enables tracking of movable and non-movable assets throughout the life cycle of asset from purchase till disposal.

For the MRO industry, EnTrack product suite helps Maintenance and Engineering Department in tracking tools and spare parts. EnTrack product suite helps flight catering in tracking employees in the facility, kitchen equipment and knives from management and security perspective.

EnTrack product suite helps in tracking the Linen and Life jackets onboard the aircraft from sanity perspective. Linen Tracking and Management on ground is a huge task. EnTrack Suite assists in automating and streamlining the operations. For the Duty Free facilities, EnTrack product suite provides item level tracking and management of higher value duty free goods in addition to providing security in the facility.

EnTrack product suite provides a complete real time and nested tracking solution for Air Cargo Unit Load Devices (ULDs) and Pallets. ULD is a pallet or container used to load luggage, freight, and mail on wide-body aircraft and specific narrow-body aircraft. With the increasing number of wide-bodied aircraft now in operation, ULD management is a key element of high efficiency in air transport.

The B2B event, which got off to a flying start on Sunday with 25 exhibitors from 39 countries on board, is seeing the launch of 40 new technology, products and solutions by various global companies looking for a strong footing in the region’s highly-promising aviation markets.

The Middle East region is investing $100 billion, including $40 billion in the six GCC states, for airports expansion and new developments to handle the anticipated growth in air traffic.

The Middle East, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA), is expected to record the fastest growth rate of 6.6 per cent until 2016, making it the second-fastest growing aviation market in the world.

Airports in the MENA region, currently under various stages of expansion and upgrades, are projected to cater to 400 million passengers by 2020, with the UAE airports taking one-fourth of the share in the anticipated growth in air passenger traffic.

Dubai is expected to attract an estimated 25 million visitors in 2020 during the six month run of the World Expo world’s third biggest event after Olympics and FIFA World Cup.

The B2B event is specially focused on the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region where the airport developments remains a top priority with the governments’ driving the aviation growth as a key contributor to the economic consolidation.

For further information, please visit TrackIT website www.trackitme.com

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© Press Release 2014

Fujitsu acquires GlobeRanger

Fujitsu, the Japanese electronics and communications giant, has acquired GlobeRanger, a Texas-based RFID and mobility solutions provider. Read more in Fujitsu’s press release below:

Fujitsu Acquires GlobeRanger to Accelerate Top Line Growth in its Defence and National Security Business

Acquisition supports Fujitsu Global Defence Initiative, bringing secure solutions in an ever changing world

Fujitsu UK & Ireland

London, May 02, 2014

Fujitsu today announced the acquisition of GlobeRanger, a US based technology company that operates in the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology space. The acquisition will see GlobeRanger remain as an autonomous product development and marketing unit, owned by Fujitsu UK & Ireland with Fujitsu taking a place on GlobeRanger’s Board of Directors.

Duncan Tait, Head of EMEIA, Corporate Senior Vice President, Fujitsu Limited said: “This acquisition is a key part of Fujitsu’s Global Defence Initiative which aims to harness the capabilities, technology and products from across Fujitsu’s global ICT business. It will ensure our customers can be confident of best of breed, proven and cost effective solutions for the defence and defence related industries.”

GlobeRanger has an established footprint in the US, notably with the Department of Defense, where it is highly regarded and used by many DoD departments for their software layer for passive RFID solution technology. Considered a leader in the emergent Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, GlobeRanger’s solution removes the need for wholesale replacement of customers’ existing information systems – an issue that has hampered the growth of the RFID sector to date.

GlobeRanger’s product suite provides an extremely flexible set of tools, enabling the rapid development of system which exploits data and processes at the edge of the enterprise. For the customer this will result in a transformation of supply chain management (SCM); maintenance repair and overall (MRO) and other asset management information needs by providing automatic, accurate and timely data on an asset’s geographical location enabling Business Processes to be executed even when Enterprise services are unavailable.

The merger will bring together the strength and global reach of Fujitsu in taking products to market, with GlobeRanger’s market leading Edgeware solutions. As a result Fujitsu are able to offer global solutions optimised to customer needs in SCM and MRO. Current market estimates for RFID are expected to surpass $20Bn globally in 2014.

 


About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.4 trillion yen (US$47 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013. For more information, please see: http://www.fujitsu.com

About Fujitsu UK & Ireland

Fujitsu UK & Ireland is a leading IT systems, services and products company employing over 10,100 people with an annual revenue of £1.6 billion. Additionally, Fujitsu’s other operations in the UK bring its total employee numbers to over 14,000 and its total revenues to £1.8 billion. Its business is in enabling its customers to realise their objectives by exploiting information technology through its integrated product and service portfolio. This includes consulting, applications, systems integration, managed services and product for customers in the private and public sectors including retail, financial services, telecoms, government, defence and consumer sectors. For more information, please see: http://uk.fujitsu.com

About GlobeRanger

GlobeRanger is a leading global provider of end-to-end enterprise edge solutions including RFID, mobility, and sensor-based solutions and professional services. Its innovative Edgeware™ platform, iMotion™, provides the critical infrastructure layer for managing devices, networks, data and processes at the edge of the enterprise, enabling real-time visibility and response. iMotion serves as the foundation for GlobeRanger and its partners to rapidly develop, deploy and manage edge solutions. Founded in 1999, GlobeRanger is headquartered in Richardson, Texas. For more information, visit: www.globeranger.com.

Swiftsure at RFID Journal Live 2014

Swiftsure returned from RFID Journal Live 2014 with an even deeper knowledge of proven industry solutions and innovations. Swiftsure, an RFID and resource management consulting group, has attended the event for many years to stay on the forefront of products and trends. The show was also a chance to further relationships and opportunities with such vendors and partners as GlobeRanger, American RFID, InSync, Impinj and Jamison.

The April event in Orlando underscored RFID’s coming of age. Past shows focused on RFID technologies – hardware, manufacturing, tags, etc.  This year displayed greater maturity, with increased end-user attendance and a shift toward demonstration of RFID-based applications.  The range of apps represented more vertical market segmentation, showcasing manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, law enforcement and aerospace.  “After years educating the market about the viability of RFID, participants spent more time presenting applications that assume RFID as a core technology in workflow and business processes,” said Swiftsure’s Bruno Riegl.  “There has clearly been a refinement in the development of RFID-based information management solutions, with substantial integration of mobile devices and mapping. Coming soon undoubtedly will be the increased use of RFID to support business analytics.”

Swiftsure’s international activities have picked up dramatically in recent months, with a focus on some unique markets and applications, most notably in the Middle East, where RFID is increasingly being used in a variety of healthcare, financial, oil and gas, security and education environments.  A key to Swiftsure’s solid reputation is having in-region implementation and support partners, as well as a select group of US-based information management software partners. Swiftsure’s experience in the region has been invaluable in breaking through ethnocentric and cultural barriers.

Following GlobeRanger’s well-crafted demo of RFID-based weapons at this year’s event, Swiftsure has been able to leverage the solution in several applications in Central and South America, where security has become a prime focus of numerous multinational, military and para-military organizations.

 

RFID market to reach $9.2 billion in 2014, triple in next decade

Modern Materials Handling (www.mmh.com) reports on the expanding RFID market.

RFID market to reach $9.2 billion in 2014 and more than triple in next decade

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By Modern Materials Handling Staff

March 31, 2014

IDTechEx, a market research and consulting firm, has released research suggesting the RFID market – including tags, readers, software and services, for passive and active RFID – will grow from $7.88 billion in 2013 to $9.2 billion in 2014.

That figure is up nearly 32% from $6.98 billion in 2012. Most growth is due to active RFID and real-time locating systems (RTLS) systems, the report indicated, followed by interrogators and then tags in terms of total money spent.

“We are entering a period of very strong growth in RFID overall,” said Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, in a recent interview. “By the beginning of 2014, 26 billion RFID tags had been sold and of that six billion alone were sold in 2013.”

In supply chain and logistics, Das said RFID is used for tracking assets such as roll cages, unit load devices (ULD), totes and tools. Because RFID is for relatively short ranges, from between sub-meter to a few meters, it is complimentary to GPS (global positioning system) technology for both asset and product tracking. For instance, Das continued, a container might be fitted with GPS and an RFID reader and as an RFID-tagged case is put on the container the two might be associated in software.

When paired with RFID technology, sensors and data loggers can monitor conditions like temperature and impacts. Das said these are widely used in the food traceability industry, mainly to meet insurance requirements. “These are often more expensive because they have a power source,” he said, “but the cost is falling. Additionally, those in charge of quality control are piloting solutions for brand differentiation, not just meeting insurance requirements.”

Passive ultra-high frequency (UHF) tags have seen rapid growth, the report continued, from a total of just more than three billion tags in 2013 to 3.9 billion tags in 2014. IDTechEx finds that 2.48 billion passive HF tags will be sold in 2014, although at an average price of almost 10 times that of passive UHF tags. The highest volume sector for passive UHF systems is retail apparel, which the report suggests still has some way to go with RFID penetrating only about 7% of the total addressable market for apparel in 2014.

After extensive interviews with suppliers, IDTechEx finds that there are now emerging or established leaders in most positions of the value chain across the different technologies – yet still very few companies have sales of more than $100 million.

IDTechEx expects the RFID market will reach $30.2 billion in 2024. This research was conducted for the report RFID Forecasts, Players and Opportunities 2014-2024 which provides data and analysis in all the main applications. With more than 90 tables, the report provides granular insight into the sector.

Related articles across the web

Swiftsure expert offers insight about Qatar University asset management implementation

Swiftsure’s Bruno Riegl discussed with RFID Journal the planning and implementation of Qatar University’s RFID-based asset tracking and management system. Read below about the challenges and successes in meeting the university’s ever-growing resource management needs:

By Claire Swedberg

Nov 06, 2013—

Qatar University is already employing passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags and readers to track 30,000 assets across most of the 40 buildings comprising its campus in Doha. This fall, the university plans to extend its use of the technology to track individuals and mail deliveries.

The RFID deployment includes the installation of Impinj xPortal readers on stairways and doorways.

Initially, the school purchased the system—supplied and installed in 2011 by Verasset, a U.S.-based RFID solutions provider—to identify such assets as computer equipment and furnishings during audits. The solution not only ensures that the university maintains an accurate record of which assets are located in which areas, but also reduces the amount of time required to carry out an audit process, from several months down to approximately one week. The college’s business operations department will also use the solution to manage the equipment’s maintenance schedules.

Now the school hopes to utilize the technology to ensure that the proper mail is delivered quickly, and to provide location data regarding personnel passing through portals for safety purposes. In that way, the university will be able to track which individual takes which asset into or out of a particular building, as well as warn a person before he or she inadvertently enters a segregated area occupied by members of the opposite sex.

The asset-tracking deployment includes 920 Impinj xPortalsRFID portals made with Speedway R420 RFID readers and integrated Impinj dual linear phased-array antennas (see Impinj Releases Compact High-Performance EPC RFID Portal), as well as 50 Jamison RFID portals equipped with Impinj R220 readers and Laird antennas. The portals are installed at building entrances and exits, as well as at the doorways to each floor and dwelling area. The deployment also includes 10 Convergence Systems Ltd. (CSL) CS101 handheld readers, provided to staff members for auditing processes.

Initially, the school brought Verasset a list of assets to that included about 100,000 items, according to Adam Vinecombe, Verasset’s director of service delivery. The firm then worked with the university to reduce that number to 30,000 of the highest-value items, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units, in addition to laptops and other computers. A variety of EPC Gen 2 UHF RFID tags—provided by such vendors as ConfidexOmni-ID and Emerson and Cuming (a Laird Technologies company)—were required, depending on each asset’s material (such as steel or plastic) and location. For example, HVAC units on the buildings’ roofs (which are tracked for maintenance services) could experience temperatures above 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius), which meant a more ruggedized Emerson and Cuming Metaltag Flex tag was necessary, as well as special epoxy to adhere it to the asset (other adhesives would simply not hold up in extreme temperatures). Due to the locations of some buildings and the portals mounted within, Verasset also installed TRENDnet Wi-Fi routers so that portals could transmit read data to the back-end database, while some portals were cabled via an Ethernet cable for a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) connection.

The school supplied its own Oracle-based software to manage inventory read data, with Microsoft BizTalk to link RFID read data to the inventory software.

The xPortal contains an RFID reader and antennas integrated in a compact unit measuring 30.5 inches by 8.75 inches by 2 inches.

Verasset sent 10 of its employees to apply the tags onsite—a process that lasted four weeks—and record each tagged asset into the university’s software. With that task completed, each time an asset passed through one of the portals, the software is updated to indicate where that item was last recorded as being.

Because the university is growing quickly (its student population increased by 20 percent during the past year), it is now considering other ways in which the system can be used to boost efficiency and better manage its operations, explains Bruno Riegl, senior project manager.

Verasset has now provided the school with evaluation tags for badges that personnel can wear while moving around the campus. Each badge has a built-in UHF RFID inlay (for the purpose of location tracking) and high-frequency (HF) RFID inlays (for use in access control), and incorporates an HID Global DESFire EV1 card containing a UHF inlay made with an Impinj Monza 4QT RFID chip, with a unique ID number encoded on it that could correspond to that specific employee.

As the staff member passes through a UHF RFID portal, the software residing on the college’s database links that ID to the individual and stores a record of that movement. In that way, the university can collect data that could be accessed in the event of an emergency—such as identifying which people are within a given building if a fire or other catastrophe occurs. In addition, the readers could be linked to audible or visual alerts that could be triggered at the portal for an individual entering a restricted area. One concern for the university is ensuring that staff members do not inadvertently enter a restricted area containing those of the opposite sex, as buildings and classes are segregated. For example, the library has separate wings for females and males, in which students and faculty members conduct research. If a male individual attempts to walk into an area designated for females, he could view an alert on a monitor at the portal correcting his mistake.

In addition, the school is testing passive UHF RFID tags on plastic mail-sorting trays in which mail is transported from a mailroom to recipients. The unique ID number encoded on the tray’s tag could be linked to building 2A, for instance, and the mailroom staff would fill that box with letters destined only for that building. As a mail deliverer arrived at the building, the existing RFID reader portal would capture the tray tag‘s ID number and confirm that the box was dedicated to that building, and then either update the electronic record to indicate the mail was received at that time, or issue an alert (either audible or visual) to the mail staff at the portal, indicating that the box was being delivered to the wrong building.

Tagging is currently underway as the university continues to construct new buildings, Riegl reports. Items such as chemicals or equipment for the new research-and-development and biohazard laboratories are still being fitted with passive UHF tags. If employees carry badges, the school will be able to link specific individuals with the assets being removed.

Bruno Riegl, Senior Project Manager

In the future, Riegl says, the university may opt to use the asset-tracking solution to monitor maintenance as well, by allowing the maintenance staff to locate an asset using a handheld reader, and then enter data indicating which services are being provided related to that item. If a worker removes the asset from the building, that event would also be stored, based on a read from one of the portals.

According to Riegl, Verasset faced a variety of challenges related to this installation, including navigating the documentation requirements for customs and other agencies to bring equipment into Qatar. Having successfully acquired all of the necessary paperwork, inspections and certifications from multiple agencies, he says, Verasset has become an expert in dealing with the process of implementing a technology solution in a country such as Qatar.

Additional challenges were created by the widespread nature of the installation in buildings that are, in some cases, located in remote areas of the campus, as well as by the harsh weather, Riegl says. The university thus worked with Verasset to improve its own Wi-Fi network, to ensure that data culled from wireless readers could be received by software on its database.

 

Peek inside Impinj Design Labs

GeekWire magazine looks at the Seattle-based company’s tech testing grounds, located in – of all things – an old grocery store. Learn about the lab and Impinj’s new RFID xArray tracking product:

Impinj bounces back as RFID heats up, expands in old Seattle grocery store

by  on 
impinj-photo

Executives at Impinj (from left to right, William Colleran, Evan Fein and Alberto Pesavento) show off how their xArray reader pinpoints the location of multi-colored blocks at the company’s new Design Lab in the old PCC in Fremont.

Over the past 14 years, Impinj has weathered two economic recessions, not to mention a slow-to-develop market for its radio frequency identification products.

William Colleran shows off a test version of its xArray RFID reader.

Impinj CEO William Colleran shows off a test unit of its xArray RFID reader.

Under normal circumstances, that combination would have killed most companies. But Impinj, founded in May 2000 by leading scientists Dr. Carver Mead and Dr. Chris Diorio and backed with more than $110 million in venture funding, is not only still standing —  but starting to thrive again.

CEO William Colleran admits that the path to success has taken longer than anyone would have imagined. But Impinj, backed by Madrona Venture Group, Arch Venture Partners, UPS and others, is on an upward swing.

A Record Year

Last year, the 140-person company achieved revenue growth of 30 percent, all while hitting other key financial milestones. The profitable company is done raising venture capital for now, and it is not quite ready to file for an initial public offering again as it did in 2011. However, if things continue to accelerate, executives say a public offering could be in the cards down the road.

“(2013) was by far our best year, and there is no reason to think that won’t be repeated this year,” said Chief Financial Officer Evan Fein, adding that they are investing heavily in innovative new RFID products.

The old PCC building is now how to Impinj

The old PCC grocery in Fremont is now home to Impinj Design Labs

Coming off that record year, Impinj is now expanding its footprint in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood where it has long called home.

But the space, located across the street from the company’s headquarters, is not your typical tech office layout.

Impinj recently moved into 11,000 square feet in the former PCC grocery store for a new effort called Impinj Design Labs, a unique laboratory of sorts where the company can test an array of RFID readers and other cutting-edge technologies.

It marks the second creative real estate transaction for a tech company in Seattle’s burgeoning Fremont area following news earlier this month that Tableau was taking over the Sound Mind & Body gym, reformatting it to accommodate its growing workforce.

A New Way To Track

When I stopped by the Impinj Design Labs last week, researchers at the company were testing an installation of its experimental Speedway xArray Reader System.

The xArray attaches to a ceiling and pinpoints where products are located that have RFID tags.

The xArray attaches to a ceiling and pinpoints where products are located that have RFID tags.

A hardware unit about the size of a medium pizza box, the xArray reader is designed to affix to a ceiling in a retail or warehouse environment. It then uses 52 antenna beams to pick up location information of RFID tags across a 40-foot diameter, tracking the whereabouts of products.

For example, a retailer like Nordstrom could use the system to visually track shoes, making sure sales representatives could easily find a matching boot or sandal that may have gone astray. The product, which is set to go on the market later this year, won Best in Show at the RFID Journal awards last year.

Impinj believes the xArray could transform inventory tracking as we know it. Today, RFID tags are typically scanned by someone who walks through a store carrying a hand-held reader, a time consuming and inefficient process.

“That’s not a very scalable model,” says Fein. “And it prevents retailers from adopting RFID because you have to train your employees and you have to have enough devices.”

With xArray, Fein said the model gets flipped on its head, automatically tracking items from above 24-hours per day, seven days per week. It also gives retailers new data, like location of items, so they can pull even more information out of the goods on the retail floor.

A Crossroads of Tech Trends

In many ways, the xArray represents Impinj’s future. If it can help companies more easily track location information of inventory, those insights can be used to boost sales and profits.

impinj-66photo

Evan Fein showing off RFID-tagged garments.

“When you know your store floor inventory, you get an increase in sales because you don’t have out-of-stocks or items that are missing, so you know what people want and you can put it out there,” said Fein, adding that the smart inventory management can lift sales five to ten percent.

That’s part of why Impinj is at an interesting crossroads right now, sitting at the nexus of some important technology trends such as the rise of sensors, location analytics and big data.

That a represents a complex Web of hardware, software and data — one of the reasons why it has taken so long for the company to gain traction. RFID systems are inherently complex, since they involve nearly every piece of a company’s business, from manufacturing (RFID tags must be affixed to products) to integration with complex point-of-sale systems. Those layers of complexity have slowed adoption, but Fein believes the tide has now turned in part because retailers discovered a “killer app” in terms of how they use RFID to track items in a store.

Old Grocery Store Makes Great Test Bed

impinjdesignphoto

That’s part of the reason why the new Impinj location is so important. An old grocery store makes for a perfect place to test implementations of the technology, including high ceilings, stocking areas, a point-of-sale counter and more. Colleran said that they can mock-up various retail scenarios, testing whether the xArray can perform in each of those. A big open floor plan was needed.

“We instrumented up this whole area, and as we change attributes of the xArray and the algorithms, we can see how well they work at inventorying this area, how accurate they can get location,” he said. “As we move on, we will add more and more retail scenarios … and it will look more and more like a store as we play out some of those scenarios with our technology.”

In fact, the new location even includes a warehouse that Impinj plans to use to store its own hardware products, tagging each with a RFID tag and then allowing the xArray to track the movement of the products.

“We can eat our own dog food,” Colleran says with a laugh.

Colleran thinks the company is well poised to take advantage of some big trends in technology in part because it was able to ride (and survive) the roller coaster of the past 15 years. Things didn’t happen quite as fast as what Colleran had hoped, but as venture capitalist Tom Huseby once noted“If you get a good company with a good idea and you hang around long enough, you will probably have a win.”

That old adage certainly seems to apply to Impinj, whose RFID tags are now used to track products at retailers such as Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Zara and Marks & Spencer.

“Slowly, but surely it is becoming commonplace,” said Colleran. “We are not where we want to be, but we are starting to get there.”

 

Motorola Solutions acquires Twisted Pair communications company

Motorola Solutions recently acquired Twisted Pair Solutions, whose founding CEO was Bruno Riegl, Swifture’s chief executive. He guided the VOiP-based interoperable communications software company from early-stage startup, through initial funding rounds into a position as a global leader in real-time, push-to-talk technology.  Learn more about it in Motorola’s press release:

Motorola Solutions Acquires Twisted Pair Solutions

Transaction accelerates push-to-talk over broadband interoperability with land mobile radios

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. and SEATTLE – Jan. 2, 2014 – Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI) today announced that it has acquired Twisted Pair Solutions, a recognized leader in push-to-talk over broadband applications for secure, real-time communication anywhere, on any device. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Twisted Pair is a privately held software communications company whose WAVE® software transforms smartphones, tablets and PCs into powerful, secure communication solutions that provide integrated voice, text messaging, location and presence in one application that serves global public and private sector customers. Twisted Pair’s WAVE Desktop, Dispatch and Web applications provide customers choices in their dispatch communications and unify communications among teams of workers, whether in their office or mobile. The WAVE communications platform provides interoperability to extend land mobile radios, PBXs and other communication systems, allowing teams of employees, whether mobile or in their offices, to effectively communicate through voice, text and data – securely, reliably and in real time – regardless of network, carrier, protocol or device.

“Motorola Solutions is committed to continuing to provide its customers and partners with leading, best-in-class push-to-talk solutions. We recognize that our customers have multiple communications technology options for connecting land mobile radios, wireless broadband networks and smart devices. The acquisition of Twisted Pair enables Motorola Solutions to address all of those choices and accelerate push-to-talk expansion across multiple technologies,” said Bob Schassler, senior vice president, Government Solutions, Motorola Solutions. “We are excited to expand Motorola Solutions’ thought leadership in this space with Twisted Pair’s industry-proven technology and talent who know how to effectively extend the boundaries of land mobile radio.”

“Twisted Pair complements Motorola Solutions’ business, and we look forward to working with the Motorola team to leverage its strengths as a global industry leader to continue to enhance push-to-talk over broadband,” said Tom Guthrie, president and CEO of Twisted Pair.

Twisted Pair now is a wholly owned subsidiary of Motorola Solutions and will be integrated into Motorola Solutions’ Government Solutions business.

About Twisted Pair
Twisted Pair Solutions is the recognized leader in push-to-talk over broadband solutions for secure, real-time collaboration on any device over any network in any location. The company integrates to LMR and provides instant voice communications with text messaging, location, presence and other data so that essentially all devices – smartphones, tablets, desktop PCs and two-way radios – can talk to each other seamlessly. Twisted Pair’s software is the standard communications platform used in critical situations by military, government and commercial organizations worldwide where serious, secure communications truly matter. Its communication and collaboration capabilities can be deployed as an on-premise enterprise solution or as a private managed cloud solution providing deployment choices to our customers and partners.

About Motorola Solutions 
Motorola Solutions is a leading provider of mission-critical communication solutions and services for enterprise and government customers. Through leading-edge innovation and communications technology, it is a global leader that enables its customers to be their best in the moments that matter. Motorola Solutions trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “MSI.” To learn more, visit www.motorolasolutions.com. For ongoing news, please visit our newsroom or subscribe to our news feed.