AutoID & Data Capture Blog

2011: Another Big Year for RFID Item-Level Tracking in Retail

Item-level Tracking (ILT) was the big story in RFID for 2010. We have seen companies significantly scale, expand and integrate deployments this year; so much so that Gen2 tag volumes have increased approximately 6x over 2009. We are confident that 2011 will be another big year for ILT in retail. Why? More scaling of deployments and solution expansion within the current installed base. Read more

Customer Empowerment: Rising Star in 2011 Retail Automation Technology Market

During yesterday's webcast, we discussed retailer technology investment priorities and plans. The retail and transaction automation market is evoloving—customers are more powerful than ever before, forcing B2C operators to realign with a rapidly changing customer base and their ever-expanding scope of demands. Customer empowerment, along with cost savings and operations improvement, will drive more technology investment in 2011; this strategic requirement barely registered in our survey returns five years ago. Read more

Barcode and RFID Convergence is Not About Technology

Tom Wimmer and I gave a presentation on this topic yesterday in support of the white paper we just published for GS1/EPCGlobal US, the crux of which can be summarized by the following: Technologies are being integrated with each other because the end user wants to leverage the information and attain the benefits from each independent system. Gathering and sharing information from independent systems can be attained by creating consistency within common architectures. Read more

Pumping Up the RFID Tag Volume

2010 turned out to be a tremendous year for RFID, with success stories coming from nearly every facet of the industry, but the underlying theme and a primary indicator of success for many of these stories is the increase in tag volume. More tags typically means that the solution is scaling and/or expanding, the enterprise is increasingly leveraging the system and the level of commitment to the technology is rising.  Read more

The Many Faces of Personal Shopping Systems

One of the more exciting in-store retail technologies we study as part of our Retail practice is Personal Shopping Systems (PSS), a handheld or cart-based self-scanning device that enables retailers to personalize promotions and the in-store experience while also allowing the shopper to scan-and-bag items on the go. Although suppliers have long touted the value proposition of this solution, it is only over the past couple of years that global retail conglomerates have moved from pilots to larger scale deployments, particularly in Europe.  Read more

Barcode and RFID Come Together in 2011

2010 turned out to be a banner year for both technologies. Barcode rebounded strongly from a very challenging 2009, exhibiting double-digit growth in 2010 in what is perceived to be a restocking year, although it is expected to return to historical growth rates (5-10%) rapidly. And although barcode is a mature and deeply penetrated technology, it still has significant potential as it continues to migrate from compliance applications to processes at the core of an enterprise, leveraging imaging and mobility to extend its value propositions along the way. Read more

Barcode and RFID Convergence: Leveraging EPC & GS1 for Business Value

That’s the title of a newly created white paper we’ve just produced for GS1/EPCGlobal US. This paper provides a detailed and easy-to-digest overview of the nuances associated with the convergence of these two technologies (as well as other AIDC solutions) on the EPC™ (Electronic Product Code) platform, offering examples from real-world installations and users, as well as hard data gathered by VDC as we researched the topic.  Read more

Mobile Marketing: The Next Battleground for Retail Automation Suppliers

Retail Automation suppliers preparing for NRF’s 100th Annual Convention & EXPO are working with VDC to position their products and services for this key event. One topic has dominated many of these conversations: mobile marketing. Today’s consumers have access to more information than ever about the products and services they intend to buy, and mobile devices are increasingly delivering this information at the point of decision. Read more

Developing UHF Solutions Just Got Easier

About a month ago, Sisvel and the RFID Consortium announced the launch of their UHF RFID patent licensing program. This program offers developers and manufacturers of UHF RFID solutions access to critical intellectual property...in a single transaction and in an economical way. Companies that participate in their "early adopter" program (which ends March 30) can lock in very attractive rates for a five year period. Read more

Presenting A Snapshot of the Imaging Solutions Market

Yesterday, we presented a webcast discussing the emerging trends among the imaging solutions market. Unlike other data capture solutions, demand for imaging solutions grew in 2009 despite the recession, and grew significantly. Although standards and mandates helped to drive adoption, demand for imaging solutions was primarily driven by operations improvement initiatives. Read more

RFID Tracks Well with IT Assets

We’ve been hearing about tracking IT assets with RFID since the rumblings of Sarbanes Oxley and the ‘pains’ associated with its compliance. There’s a variety of flavors of RFID solutions targeted at this application; however, only a few have gained traction. Read more

Electronic Shelf Labels: Where’s the Tipping Point?

VDC’s analysts have been following the electronic shelf labeling market for years, and with good reason: we love disruptive technologies. 

Many of the disruptive technologies we follow have proven more evolutionary than revolutionary: 
• 2D barcode symbologies, 
• RFID, and 
• voice recognition

Each of these technologies has made fools of optimists and cynics alike.  Still waiting for that much ballyhooed 5 cent smart label?  Take a number.  Still waiting for multi-modal data capture to be embraced globally by warehouses and T&L operators?  We’re already there.

Read more

Authentication and Anti-counterfeiting: The Next Key Application to Drive Growth for RFID?

There is more to the emerging success of RFID in markets such as retail and pharmaceuticals aside from the benefits associated with track and trace applications on an item-level. The successful use of item-level RFID within the supply chain is also creating new opportunities for suppliers to create a more secure supply chain. It’s a natural extension – if you are able to track an individual item throughout the value chain with an RFID transponder, you should be able to use that same system to ensure that all product within the value chain is authentic. Read more

Retail Automation in 2010: What Needs to Be Done to Operate Successfully?

In yesterday's webcast, we provided a sneak-peek into the data from our 2010 Retail & Transaction Automation Equipment Business Planning Service. The webcast was recorded and the slides can be found below. We encourage you to review both to get a good high-level picture of the current state of the traditional and next-gen retail and transaction automation markets, and how customer experiences with multiple technologies are aiding, or hindering, retail automation supplier efforts to gain traction in this turbulent market. Read more

Ninety Percent of Global RFID Revenues are from Non-Retail Applications

We’ve just completed the preliminary estimates for our 2010 RFID Business Planning Service. What we’ve learned is that the overall RFID market – all hardware, software and services – will approach $4.2 billion in 2010 and grow more than 20% annually through 2014. There is a tremendous amount of activity occurring in both new and emerging markets. High transponder volumes, more scale, high value-add, convergence with other solutions, deeper integration, proliferation throughout the value chain, increased commitment from end users, decreased evaluation times, increased adoption within new accounts … the RFID universe is rapidly expanding.  Read more

2009 Retail Automation Investments Hampered by Store Closings and Shifting IT Priorities, Spurring Holistic Innovation Among Tier 1 Suppliers

We have nearly completed our research campaign with leading and emerging suppliers of retail automation solutions. We’ve learned that 2009 was a challenging year for many of these suppliers, as leading retail chains extended their refresh cycles for core POS solutions and related components. This contraction left many retail automation suppliers with a short list of less than compelling strategic alternatives likely to create margin compression that could adversely impact the industry long after these markets recover. Read more

RFID Growth in Retail – I Believe!

Back in the early days of RFID, in particular the beginnings of the EPC market, it was easy for the RFID community to perceive that the market was evolving much faster than it actually was due to highly pervasive media hype, rogue evangelism, a continued stream of account win announcements and an overselling campaign of the technology's value proposition and business models. My mantra during those years was simply, "Don't Believe the Hype." The reality of the situation was that the RFID industry was still embryonic and not quite ready to live up to the image the media created. Read more

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words, and More Margin…

VDC’s been bullish on imaging solutions for years. Our estimates and forecasts have shown that this segment of the data capture market has grown faster than other segments, and with good reason: imaging solutions enable deploying enterprises to extend the value proposition associated with those applications they support, providing tangible benefits that resonate with users.  Read more

Transponders as consumables - A signal event for the RFID markets?

Since I began studying the market, I’ve been saying that RFID will evolve similarly to barcode and will undergo broad adoption throughout global value chains. I’ve also been saying that in order to attain broad adoption for many RFID solutions, a consumable tag would be required – a tag that would need to meet user performance and price expectations, as well as supplier community gross margin requirements. The market has been moving in this direction for a while … Read more

Taking the Q2 2010 Pulse of the RFID End User

Today we hosted a webcast highlighting the results from our recent survey of RFID end users. Some high-level findings from the survey that were presented in the webcast were: RFID spend is expected to dramatically increase by 2011, largely in order to support scaling deployments and deeper integration.  Read more

RFID Journal Live: Putting RFID to Work in Orlando

Last week Orlando became home for nearly 2,500 representatives from RFID suppliers, integrators and deploying enterprises. What sets this show apart from other industry events is not only the diversity of technologies, served markets and applications showcased, but the collaborative emphasis placed on using RFID to solve business problems.  Read more

Digital Signage - Big Challenges, Bigger Opportunities

We spent today at The Digital Signage Content Strategies Summit at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. We’re interested in the digital signage market first because we are covering it in detail as part of our 2010 Retail Automation Planning Service, and second because we think digital signage represents an enormous opportunity for established and emerging technology suppliers. Below are some highlights – with our commentary – of the days most interesting insights for those participating in the digital signage value chain. Read more

Retail Automation Industry Expert Opinions Needed

VDC is conducting its semi-annual survey of companies deploying retail automation systems. If you are involved in the selection of the retail automation systems deployed by your company, this is your chance to have your voice heard by the supplier community. Read more

The Doctor Will RFID You Now

Remember a few years back when Pharmaceuticals were the RFID topic dujour? Suppliers were salivating over its near-term potential. Resellers were lining up to position themselves for the high margin RFID health care opportunities. Evangelists were gushing over the potential for RFID to revolutionize quality in life sciences. And then, do you remember when this market went flat after a series of delays in standards development, FDA approval, and piloting?   Read more

Industry Expert Opinions Needed

VDC is conducting its semi-annual survey of companies using, deploying, or evaluating the following systems: Retail Automation (i.e.: POS terminals & workstations, Kiosks, Self-Check Out, Digital Signage, ESL, Imaging, Payment Terminals, etc.) Bar Code (i.e.: All bar code scanning and printing solutions) RFID (i.e.: All RFID related hardware, software, and services) Read more

For Long-term Growth & Prosperity, AIDC Suppliers Should Take a Second Look at Disqualified Leads

Can a lead generation engine be too efficient? Leading AIDC suppliers generate tens of thousands of leads each year through website interactions including web inquiries and on-line referrals, whitepaper downloads, software downloads, and through inbound traffic generated from various marketing initiatives. Separating the wheat from the chaff enables these suppliers to quickly identify opportunities with an immediate need and supporting budget from those opportunities that that will require nurturing.  Read more

Retailers Rate Highest When Their Digital and Physical Experiences Map

Last week, Paul Carr wrote on TechCrunch about Amazon's botched release of Michael Lewis' latest book -- The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. Carr pointed out that the book had 64 one-star reviews, more than the total of 2/3/4 or 5 star reviews combined. This might have lead shoppers to the conclusion that the book was trash. But Carr looked a little deeper and found that more than half of the one-star reviews were in fact NOT reviews of the book at all, but complaints about Amazon not releasing the book's Kindle version. Read more

RFID Convergence with Biometrics Takes its Next Step

The convergence of RFID with Biometrics has been anticipated for some time due to the ability of each solution to compliment the other – both technologies are proven to provide reliable and secure access control/ID solutions. The marriage of these two technologies enhances the value propositions for each technology by providing a complimentary, value adding solution and an additional level of redundancy, a critical component of an advanced security system. RFID and Biometrics have been evolving in parallel and competing for similar applications, so it was only a matter of time that these two solutions began to converge.  Read more

HIMSS 2010: Who Stands to Benefit from the Stimulus Package?

This year’s HIMSS conference was enormous. With 888 exhibitors filling nearly all the space available at the Georgia World Congress Center, it’s impossible to understate the magnitude of healthcare’s largest tech event. Everyone who wasn’t discussing the stimulus package was thinking about it. With between $20B and $23B proposed for healthcare information technology (HIT), it’s easy to understand the all enthusiasm, particularly when you consider that the total HIT market was a meager $26B prior to the economic downturn. Read more

Lead Management Is the Key to Growing Channel Partner Relationships; Is Your Organization Managing Leads Effectively?

Lead Management was the leading AIDC supplier selection consideration in 2009. Partners want better qualified leads, and more of them. Many AIDC suppliers cut their marketing budgets in 2009, producing fewer leads for their channel partners (responses to informal inquiries suggest total lead volume dropped in 2009 from 30% to 40%). Doing more with less requires that we devote more time and attention to each of the core steps in the lead management process. Read more

Innovation in ICs: Impinj, Verayo and Tego

Digital menu boards (DMBs) are gaining traction as an application for digital signage, particularly in QSRs and fast food chains. Although adoption of DMBs has been relatively limited to date, some forward thinking enterprises have been piloting this technology and are moving towards large-scale rollouts.  Read more

What Keeps Your Retail Clients up at Night?

Among other things, we think it’s the (in-store) inventory management vs. out-of-stock mitigation issue. Stores stock the “must have” merchandise according to an agreed-upon plan - but why does it seem so difficult for them to meet or exceed the plan? Read more

RFID for Direct Store Delivery (DSD) - Not Yet, But Moving in the Right Direction

A few years back, I moderated a panel with some supply chain heavyweights about RFID and DSD. The main theme that came out of the discussion was that at the current level of the technology’s and market’s evolution, RFID really had no role. Although this notion still resonates today, recent market activity demonstrates that RFID, as it continues to penetrate global value chains, is migrating toward this type of application.  Read more

I Saw the Future of Commerce

Seriously. Maybe not THE future of commerce, as in commerce will only have one future. But, a future that is so brilliant on so many levels, that we think it is worth its own post. www.mFoundry.com and its digital wallet and vCard solutions offered one of the most compelling solutions I have seen in nearly 15 years. The approach is simple, but, with so many brilliant nuances, its value proposition is overwhelming. Read more

Which Market Segments Will Provide the Strongest Near-Term Growth Opportunities in Barcode & RFID?

We answered that question - and many others - in a webcast we presented this week which took a "where are we going, where have we been," look at the barcode and RFID markets. The webcast was recorded, and we've posted the slides below.  Read more

The 'New' Retail - Pursuing Balance Between Strategies & Tactics That Influence The Point of Decision Experience

What's new in the retail & transaction automation equipment market? That question was the focus of a webcast we hosted yesterday. If you missed it, don't worry, we recorded it. To sum it all up: The recession accelerated the pace of change in an already tumultuous consumer economy. As a result, the pressure for retailers and other b-to-c operators increased exponentially. Apparel retailers working on out of stock issues suddenly needed to radically reduce inventory carry cost. Sporting goods retailers training 500 associates on merchandising, saw their trainee corps shrink by 30%, and the focus for those teams shift to customer greeting.  Read more

Market Update & 2010 Outlook - RFID, Barcode and Retail & Transaction Automation Equipment

What technical, commercial and operational issues will you have to address this year in order to remain competitive? To help you answer these questions (& more), we've got two great webcasts coming up next week that we wanted to make sure to share with you. Read more

AIDC Channel Organizations Should Be Maximizing Their Own Channel Relationships in 2010: Predictions from Vertical System’s Reseller’s 3rd Annual Review & Outlook

I was flattered to be asked, along with some pretty impressive thought leaders in the AIDC industry, to provide my predictions for suppliers for 2010 for Vertical Systems Reseller’s “3nd Annual Review and Outlook.” (Please note that registration with VSR is required to access the document).  Read more

Self-Service’s Future within the Hospitality Vertical Market

We’ve all reviewed countless case studies on self-service applications in hospitality and the benefits these applications are providing to the enterprises that deploy them, their customers, employees and trading partners. But what is the future of self-service in hospitality? What are some of the most compelling applications? And how is the technology and distribution paradigm for these applications changing? Read more


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