A Quick Scan of the 2012 AIM Summit Conference
Last week the VDC Auto ID team visited Chicago for the 2012 AIM Summit. AIM (Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility) is an industry standards and education organization dedicated to all AutoID and Mobility technologies—including barcode, RFID, RTLS and mobile devices. VDC was pleased to participate in this year’s event—both as attendees and presenters. AutoID VP Mike Liard delivered the opening keynote address during which he discussed current trends impacting the barcode and RFID markets. With a broad focus encompassing all AutoID technologies, there was a lot to take in during the event. Here are some of the key highlights:
- We believe the US FDA’s Unique Device Identifier (UDI) initiative could have a major impact on adoption and usage of Auto ID solutions in the healthcare vertical: Essentially, UDI is a federal mandate that will eventually require all medical devices to be individually marked with a code containing important information including manufacturer, model number and expiration date. Complex, high-risk (i.e., implantable) medical devices will be the first class of product to be effected by this new regulation (in 2014), but over the course of the following 5 years, the mandate will extend to other device classes as well. While the major objective driving the UDI legislation is improving patient safety and the effectiveness of medical device recalls, VDC believes the initiative could benefit healthcare enterprises by improving insight to their supply chains and supply inventory levels as well. Of course, realizing these adjacent UDI benefits may necessitate healthcare enterprises to augment current AutoID systems, but if the opportunity for strong ROI is there, we expect investment to follow.
- The barcode market is no longer just about linear and standard 2D barcodes: New 2D symbologies such as Han Xin code are emerging, and could have an impact on certain segments of the market. Han Xin code, introduced about a year ago, is a new two-dimensional matrix symbology. Han Xin codes are particularly effective at encoding large numbers of Chinese, numeric and ASCII characters, and can be printed in 84 different sizes. However, since this symbology is largely designed to encode Chinese characters, we expect its impact to be mostly limited to China and other parts of the Asia-Pacific region.
- Another relatively new symbology, called Ultracode, is also gaining traction: Ultracode was designed for printing on uneven surfaces/materials that are generally poorly suited to printing standard symbologies (e.g., stone, fiberboard, wood and other irregular surfaces). Also, thanks to its ability to be read even when damaged, Ultracode is also favored for applications where barcodes are highly susceptible to being damaged, such as supply chain and T&L.
In addition to being a great forum for engaging with the entire AutoID community, this year’s AIM Summit also provided a special opportunity to remember Bert Moore, a longtime industry advocate and AIM member, who passed away earlier in the year. Bert was given a heartfelt tribute during the post conference dinner and awards program—a fitting gesture considering his contributions to both the AIM organization and the broader AutoID industry for many years. VDC thanks AIM and its constituents for another great event and we look forward to next year’s show.