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Getting a Local Read on the Auto-ID Market: MIT Annual Auto-ID & Sensing Expo Recap

Last night the VDC Auto-ID team was in Cambridge for the MIT Enterprise Forum’s 3rd Annual AutoID & Sensing Expo. With approximately 50 exhibitors showing off their latest Auto-ID solutions and two engaging panel discussions, this event offered a valuable opportunity to engage with the RFID, Barcode and NFC communities right in our own backyard. Whereas this event is smaller in scale relative to other multi-day Auto-ID conferences, there were not many new products debuting last night. Still, there were many innovative solutions demonstrated throughout the evening, including the following:

  • Omni-ID launched its new visual RFID tagging solution, which is comprised of RFID-enabled e-paper-based display tags, routers and software. The solution, which is targeted at visual-based asset management applications in challenging, decision-driven environments such as manufacturing shop floors, provides both visual instructions and RFID tracking in real-time. We think this product has tremendous potential to improve accuracy and efficiency in manufacturing, logistics and Kanban applications. Furthermore, enterprises that deploy this solution will also benefit from savings by eliminating the costs associated with using printed labels—namely paper, ink and labor. As an added benefit, deploying enterprises also can tout the “green” benefits of moving to an e-paper based solution, which saves considerable consumable waste in high-volume manufacturing applications.
  • Cognex demonstrated several of its fixed-mount and handheld barcode readers, which are targeted for applications in harsh, demanding environments such as manufacturing and logistics. The demonstration of the company’s DataMan 500 omni-directional barcode reader was especially impressive considering its ultra-fast reading capabilities (up to 90 barcodes/second). The company also offers its readers in conjunction with proprietary reading algorithms, which enable accurate reading of damaged/obscured barcodes. Whereas its earlier engines were developed in partnership with Honeywell, the engines in all of Cognex’s current offerings use proprietary, in-house developed engines.
  • MIT’s Center for Mobile Learning, in partnership with NXP and UPM RFID, demonstrated a web-based Android application building program. The intent of this program is to facilitate the creation of Android-based NFC apps for the rapidly increasing number of smartphones with embedded NFC capability. Generally, application development has been confined to a limited population of developers with specialized technical abilities. Through this program, a broader range of smartphone users will be empowered to pursue their own NFC application visions. We think this program is an excellent way to accelerate innovation in NFC usage and harness the collective creativity of the most critical stakeholder group in the NFC ecosystem—the consumers.

For VDC, this great little event at MIT served as a warm-up for more Auto-ID related travels on the horizon. Starting Monday April 2nd, the team is headed to RFID Journal LIVE in Orlando, so check back soon to hear about the latest and greatest announcements from that show.

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