AutoID & Data Capture Blog

Where RTLS will be in 2012

2008-2010 were challenging years for RTLS due to economic conditions, unmanaged expectations and the market’s lack of understanding of the solution and all its supporting technologies, its capabilities and its value propositions. During this timeframe several companies closed down or left the market, budgets plateaued or contracted, and existing deployments saw limited scaling.  Read more

Where RTLS will be in 2012

2008-2010 were challenging years for RTLS due to economic conditions, unmanaged expectations and the market’s lack of understanding of the solution and all its supporting technologies, its capabilities and its value propositions. During this timeframe several companies closed down or left the market, budgets plateaued or contracted, and existing deployments saw limited scaling.  Read more

The Truly Interactive Digital Signage Solution

Earlier this year, there was considerable interest generated around supermarket giant Tesco’s deployment of large screen billboards in a South Korean subway station. These featured displays designed to look like supermarket shelves, allowing consumers to purchase products online with their smartphones by scanning corresponding QR codes. This further exemplified how the balance-of-power has been shifting from the retailer to the consumer, as businesses increasingly look to take the shopping experience to wherever the consumer may be, as opposed to drawing them toward distinct ‘choke points’ – both online and in the traditional ‘brick-and-mortar’ stores. Read more

Hot Topic Webinar with GS1: Scanning Ahead - AutoID in 2012

Despite current economic conditions and the continued volatility expected in many global economies in 2012, next year is shaping up to be another year of growth for the Auto Identification (AutoID) industry. During this GS1 US Hot Topic webinar, VDC will present information, insights and trends to watch for in the Barcode and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) markets in 2012, including leading & emerging Electronic Product Code (EPC)-enabled RFID applications. Near Field Communication (NFC) and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) markets will also be covered. Read more

Personal Shopping Systems-There's an app for that, too...

Stop & Shop is scaling its Scan-It Mobile initiative, an Android/iPhone-based version of its original handheld Personal Shopping System (PSS). At the end of October, the supermarket extended the app to 42 more stores throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Leveraging a smartphone’s embedded camera as a scanner, the Scan-It app allows customers to scan & bag their groceries as they shop, thereby expediting the checkout process. As a regular Stop & Shop customer and iPhone user (not to mention analyst covering PSS), I was interested to test the Scan-It app first hand. I got that opportunity this past weekend while doing my weekly grocery shopping.  Read more

Intermec’s First Foray into the Value-Priced Scanning Category

Intermec, a global market leader for AIDC solutions including barcode printers and scanners, recently released a general purpose handheld linear imager, SG10T, targeting the small- and medium-sized business segment across multiple vertical markets and installation environments. The solution has been designed for non-industrial use, which marks a shift from the company’s traditional stronghold. While classifying it as a low cost, easy-to-use barcode imager, Intermec is also offering a 3-year warranty with the product that has a list price of $140 (€108). Read more

NFC Hits the Hub: Mobile Monday kicks off the Boston NFC Cluster

Last night’s Mobile Monday event in Boston confirmed that NFC is an increasingly hot topic whose appeal extends well past the sphere of mobility, as there was strong representation from the software developer, investment and media communities as well. Read more

VeriFone's Acquisition of Global Bay Technologies

On November 1st VeriFone announced its acquisition of Global Bay Technologies, a mobile retail solutions provider behind some recent mobile POS deployments including Guess and PacSun. This is in line with VeriFone’s strategy to invest heavily on inorganic growth strategies (to the tune of $1 Billion), as the company looks to expand its presence in key vertical segments & emerging country markets. Read more

RFID Market Development to Date in 2011: The Treats/The Tricks (Part II)

Happy Halloween from VDC Research! As a follow-up to Part I posted on Friday, VDC Research is continuing its brief take on the RFID market to date in 2011. In the spirit of Halloween, this time we highlight a few of the “RFID tricks” we have come across so far this year. Read more

RFID Market Development to Date in 2011: The Treats/The Tricks

In the spirit of Halloween, it is time to ask ourselves: “Is the RFID market in 2011 full of tricks or treats?” With the market racing toward the end of 2011, we are already being asked to give our take on the RFID market this year. There are still two full months left for action, but if I look into my analyst bag of goodies this Halloween, I see lots of RFID treats, but there are a few “tricks,” too. Part I will look at the “RFID treats,” while Monday’s Part II will highlight a few “RFID tricks.” Read more

Changing Regional Dynamics of the Barcode Printers Market

VDC’s annual coverage of the barcode printer market is pointing out to a significant regional trend – the growing dominance of Asia-Pacific. According to our recently published estimates and forecasts, the Asian market is expected to continue to account for a larger share of the overall revenues derived by printer vendors the world over – having outpaced EMEA in 2008, and slated to take over North America, when it comes to barcode printer investment, in 2015. Read more

A "Cool" New Application for NFC Technology

New NFC applications for use in specific enterprise operations continue to emerge. American Thermal Instruments (ATI) recently introduced a NFC-based temperature monitoring solution, which combines a smartphone application with the company’s LOG-IC NFC data logger to scan, review, and communicate real-time temperature monitoring data. The ATI smartphone application is the first of its kind that enables fully functional end-to-end temperature monitoring in real-time. Read more

The Market for Read-on-Metal Ruggedized Gen2 UHF Tags

We’ve been getting a lot of requests recently about the read-on-metal ruggedized UHF tag market. These tags have been gaining more attention not only due to their ability to perform on or in ‘harsh RF’ environments (i.e.: metals, liquids that distort the RF signal), but also due to their durability. Typically housed in a durable plastic casing designed to ‘take a knocking and keep on working’, these Gen2 transponders typically offer read ranges in excess of 10 ft in some of the most hostile RF environments. Read more

When NFC Smartphones are not NFC Capable

In a recent post, we discussed how consumers’ increasing access to NFC devices could drive broader adoption of this technology beyond the enterprise. While this certainly remains true, this week has brought a couple of disappointing announcements for those among us who are excited to use NFC. Read more

My Experience at the AIM and PACK Expos

I spent two days at the AIM and PACK Expos in Las Vegas this past week. Although light on enterprise end user foot traffic on the show floor, the AIM Expo was chock full of great sessions and presentations and turned out to be a decent peer networking event. Most exhibitors I spoke with were expecting more of a carryover from the mammoth PACK Expo; however, the general consensus was that the sessions on various AIDC and Mobility technologies and applications made up for the shortcoming.  Read more

NFC World Congress, Day 2...

Today was the second (and last) day of the NFC World Congress here in lovely Nice, France. There was a noticeable increase in activity and attendees relative to day 1, as today all the booths were filled and the show floor bustling with NFC solutions providers from all parts of the world. Read more

Bonjour! NFC World Congress Day 1

Greetings from the NFC World Congress in Nice, France! Today was the first day of the show, with numerous NFC hardware suppliers and application developers showing off their latest offerings. We will be blogging throughout our visit here, keeping you abreast of some of the most interesting and exciting announcements at this year’s show. Read more

NFC Technology Gaining Traction with Consumer Device Manufacturers

NFC is being integrated into an increasing number of consumer electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. For example, over the past few weeks, Samsung, RIM, Nokia, HTC, LG and Fujitsu all introduced new smartphone models with NFC functionality.  Read more

Imaging Solutions - Market Overview

Imaging vendors’ experienced strong growth in 2010 as end-users loosened their purse strings to re-invest in AutoID solutions – suppliers derived more than $417 million via sales of Linear and 2D Imagers, corresponding to a year-over-year growth of over 29%. Read more

Intelleflex and The Hartford – A Partnership that Makes a Lot of Sense

The recent announcement on the partnership between Intelleflex and the Hartford to offer cold chain tracking and monitoring systems (i.e.: sensing/monitoring of food & pharmaceuticals) is the first of its kind in RFID and further demonstrates that the technology is providing real-world benefits.  Read more

Current Economic Volatility has Limited Impact on AIDC Markets … for now

About 2 weeks ago, we did a quick survey to a select group of companies to find out how the recent economic volatility is impacting the AIDC industry. We spoke with leading firms from the component, device manufacturer, channel and end user communities to ascertain the market’s health and identify where (if any) the impact is occurring within the value chain.  Read more

Imaging Solutions – Applications Beyond the Retail POS

A fair amount has been written about how retail POS applications including mobile couponing and gift/ loyalty cards are driving growth in adoption of 2D Imagers. These solutions have also been deployed extensively across various other vertical markets for applications including.  Read more

NFC-based Mobile Payments Gain Visa's Support, but are Far from Reality

Visa recently reaffirmed its commitment to support NFC-based payments by announcing measures that will increasingly move U.S. merchants and consumers away from magnetic-stripe based cards to next-generation payment types, including EMV/chip and pin and NFC. This is an exciting development for the NFC community, as the transition of NFC-based mobile payments from concept to reality will create significant demand for NFC-based payment solutions. Read more

Limited Capacity for Thermal Ribbons to Create Opportunity for Direct Thermal Solutions

Leading suppliers of thermal transfer ribbons are facing raw material constraints, which means they will be raising their prices and placing their largest vendors on allocation by establishing fixed volume commitments for 2011.  Why? Thin film PET suppliers have shifted capacity to meet increased demand for thicker films used in support of more profitable applications, such as the production of flat screen displays.  Read more

Smartphones Meet Smart Posters

Proxama, a global Near Field Communication (NFC) solutions provider, has launched a smart poster marketing campaign in New York and Los Angeles advertising the upcoming new season of VH1’s hit show Basketball Wives. There are several partners working on this campaign, including Hyperspace, a firm specializing in out-of-home communications, Nokia, a leader in NFC-enabled mobile devices and marketing media distribution specialists JCDecaux and Cemusa. Read more

Application-specific Deployments Driving Kiosks Market Growth

Suppliers experienced strong growth in kiosk installations across a variety of vertical market segments as end-user enterprises embraced a number of applications targeted at enhancing customer engagement and loyalty. Vendors are expected to derive maximum revenues from product vending kiosks & pedestal kiosk installations in big box retail chains (including department stores and mass merchandisers) and supermarkets/grocery stores.  Read more

Competing and Complementary Frequencies Changing Global RFID Landscape

Technologies (i.e.: Active, Passive, BAP) and Frequencies for several core solutions are migrating to HF or EPC UHF solutions due to cost efficiencies, increased performance and the desire to have more ubiquitous solutions. For example, LF security/access control and ID systems are migrating to HF 14443, LF animal tracking solutions are competing with HF and EPC UHF systems, and passive EPC is now a viable option for many traditional active UHF and MW systems for asset tracking, location-based services (LBS) and vehicle identification systems.  Read more

Demand for 2D Imagers Outpacing Forecasted Growth (again!)

If we’ve learned one thing following the barcode hardware and consumables markets for the past several decades it’s this: these niche technology markets are stable and predictable. The B2B nature of these markets insulates suppliers from fickle consumers, and the dramatic gains and losses that seem to play out on a quarterly basis in consumer technology markets. And we like it that way.  Read more

NCR Acquiring Radiant Systems, Inc.

On July 11, NCR (NYSE: NCR), one of the largest global technology vendors for assisted- and self-service solutions, announced its intention to acquire Radiant Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: RADS), a leading technology solutions provider to hospitality and specialty retail establishments. NCR extended a cash tender offer of $28.00 per Radiant Systems share, with the equity purchase price of $1.2 billion having been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. Subject to regulatory approval, this transaction is expected to close during the 3rd quarter of 2011. Read more

RFID in 2011: The Vertical Market Story

VDC is in the process of publishing its 2011 RFID vertical market estimates/forecasts for all regions, products, frequencies, verticals and applications. The following are a few higher-level trends for some of the primary RFID verticals. Read more

Digital Menu Boards: An Increasingly Common Application for Digital Signage

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

Why We Are Updating Our EPC Tag Numbers

As part of our ongoing research into the RFID communities, we have noted a delay in several high profile retailers’ deployment plans. These delays have caused us to revise our estimates and forecasts for the EPC UHF market downward in 2011 as well as adjust the growth rates in 2012 and 2013. These changes were limited primarily to transponders in the retail sector. Passive EPC applications outside of retail remain on par with our earlier expectations. We strongly feel that these delays should be considered a temporary ‘bump in the road’. Read more

EAS Gets a Boost from RFID

Checkpoint Systems recently introduced its Overhead RFID EAS system, a packaged solution that combines EAS with RFID. Checkpoint, a market leader in loss prevention solutions for retail, just introduced its first EAS/RFID system. The solution, which includes a low-profile, concealable overhead reader, satellite antennas, software and an alarm box, is targeted at most retail installations, particularly image-conscious fashion/clothing retailers who desire an unobtrusive and smart EAS solution.  Read more

Global Adoption of Self-Checkout Solutions

Self-Checkout suppliers realized over $524 million in revenue during calendar year 2010, with the market expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.9% over the next five years. Regional adoption of this self-service technology was fairly inconsistent in 2010, however, as the value derived from solution installation varied significantly across the Americas, EMEA and APAC. Read more

The Global Market for EPC RFID Hardware

The market for EPC RFID hardware exceeded $354 Million in 2010, an increase of more than 140% over 2009.  We anticipate that the market will continue to experience rapid growth in 2011, with global revenues growing more than 104% (over 2010). Read more

Smartphone-based Personal Shopping Solutions-Threat to the Dedicated PSS Market?

The concept of delivering PSS functionality to shoppers via their personal devices continues to gain momentum with retailers, as evidenced by Stop & Shop’s recent introduction of an iPhone-based version of its “ScanIt!” PSS. This development is particularly noteworthy for Stop & Shop. To date, the company has been one of the most aggressive deployers of PSS solutions in the US. Prior to the introduction of its iPhone application, Stop & Shop delivered PSS to its customers exclusively via company-owned and managed devices.  Read more

Retail Technology Convergence

Consumers today are increasingly leveraging the incredible depth of information available to them and exercising total control over the purchase process. By necessity, retailers are embracing this shift in control, taking the checkout to wherever the customer may be (case in point: large-scale mobile device deployments in Home Depot and Nordstrom).  Read more

POS Terminals — Commoditization, Disaggregation, and the Importance of Software Solutions

Point-of-sale (POS) hardware continues to be commoditized, and is driving the disaggregation of the traditional POS hardware-software bundle. This trend is evidenced—and being accelerated—by intensifying competition from IT vendors such as Dell and Intuit. These suppliers, along with other budget-oriented competitors, offer low-cost POS hardware platforms that support a number of technical standards. So, too do the software packages from a growing community of independent POS software vendors.  Read more

RFID Journal Live! – Day 3

Today was the last day of the show and I’m blogging about cool applications and products. There was an abundance of them that had the ‘wow’ factor, but the following were standouts in my book. Read more

RFID Journal Live! – Day 2

I didn't have the chance to attend the presentations today as I spent my time on the show floor getting up to speed on the new products, applications and business strategies.  Read more

RFID Journal Live! – Day 1

This year’s show is off to a great start. Attendance seems to be up from last year and there are clearly more exhibitors showcasing a diversity of applications and related products. The show kicked off with some very interesting presentations … Avery Dennison’s entitled “Where do we go From Here: The Future of RFID Technology” is one presentation you should make a point of downloading.  Read more

Near Field Communication: It's not Just for Payments Anymore

Near Field Communication (NFC) technology has been receiving a lot of attention recently, often in the context of enabling contactless payments. However, NFC is well suited to a host of other applications, including contactless ticketing. We expect ticketing will be an increasingly common NFC application as more smartphones and other consumer devices incorporate NFC capability as a standard feature.  Read more

Kiosks – Ringing in a New Age

Interactive Displays & Digital Signs and consumers’ personal handheld devices (including smartphones and tablets) have been steadily converging with kiosks and increasingly changing the market’s landscape. These devices have caused kiosk vendors to rethink and re-engineer their traditional applications such as product/service information lookup and wayfinding, particularly for consumer-facing organizations.  Read more

Tablet Computers: A Key Point of Convergence for Customer Engagement

The emergence of tablet computers, such as the iPad, Motorola Xoom, and Samsung Galaxy has many businesses thinking about ways to integrate these devices into applications that compliment their existing customer engagement solutions. Tablets are a cost effective, flexible, and easily scalable addition to a variety of enterprise hardware devices such as POS terminals, self-service kiosks, and interactive displays.   Read more

Reading Between the Lines: What Convergence Means for AIDC Suppliers

Historically, many companies invested in barcode technologies to comply with customer, industry or regulatory requirements. Once external compliance mandates were met, companies began to extend their barcode investments by pursuing internal process improvement initiatives. For many of these companies, barcoding became a viable source of competitive differentiation, improving margins and operational efficiency. Read more

RFID End Users Cite Significant Operational Improvements

In a survey conducted in Q4 2010, we asked over 300 RFID end users about the operational benefits they associate with the technology. They were asked a series of questions pertaining to pre- and post-RFID operational topics such as resource allocation, increased asset utilization, quality improvements, labor management, error reduction and process efficiencies/time on task.  Read more

Looking for New Markets? They’ve Got an App for That!

Smart phones have been a boon to the application developer community, and this community will be instrumental in cultivating demand for AIDC suppliers. With nearly a half million apps created for smart phones, and downloads eclipsing 10 billion at Apple’s App Store alone, the implications of this mobile revolution are clear for AIDC suppliers participating in the retail and hospitality markets.  Read more

New Kid(s) On the Payment Block

Around this time last year, we introduced you to mFoundry and its digital wallet & vCard solutions, heralding an entry into the plastic-less future of commerce. Starbucks (SBUX), one of mFoundry’s premier customers since 2009, recently announced a nationwide rollout of its consumer mobile payment initiative, extending to all of its 7,500+ stores/outlets. Loyalty card holders with Smartphones can now pay for their purchases at these locations via a 2D barcode displayed on the mobile screen that is scanned at the point-of-sale using Honeywell 2D barcode scanners.  Read more

Asset Tracking with RFID is More than Tracking Assets

Asset tracking is one of the most prolific applications in the industry, with solution revenues (all hardware, software & services) exceeding $540 Million last year and expectations of that nearly doubling by 2014. But all that growth is not just coming from more assets being tagged; it’s also coming from the expansion of the solution. Asset tracking is not just about tracking assets - the value proposition is becoming much broader now. These solutions are increasingly being leveraged to provide more information about the asset, its environment, its movements and its users.  Read more

New Accounts on the Rise for the RFID Industry

Approximately 80% of the total global RFID revenues in 2009 were from accounts that have been using or evaluating the technology for at least 1 ½ years, and that figure didn’t change much in 2010 (~75%). There are several reasons behind this. New accounts are typically pilots or evaluations that, depending upon the application, can last from days to years and use limited infrastructure (and contribute less revenue) as they design and tweak their systems. Read more


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