Big Data Driven Decision Making – Brought to you by AutoID Solutions

by Richa Gupta | 11/21/2014

Big data is a topic generating significant interest among AIDC industry veterans. Barcoding technology is making a wealth of information available to organizations. Defined generally, big data is simply a set of data too large to be stored and managed using traditional processes. Oracle breaks down big data into three general categories: traditional enterprise data, social data, and machine-generated and/or sensor data. Data capture technology contributes to the collection of this third category of data—machine-generated data – especially in retail, logistics, and supply chain environments. Read more

Barcode Scanning – Now More about Software than Ever Before

by Richa Gupta | 10/24/2014

At VDC, we believe the BYOD trend in enterprise environments has far-reaching consequences even on the barcode scanner market, particularly the handheld form factor. As discussed in an earlier blog, Scandit, a mobile image processing and cloud computing software vendor headquartered in Zurich, has developed a platform that enables retailers and consumers to use smartphones and other consumer devices to facilitate enterprise-grade barcode scanning. Founded in 2009, Scandit’s clientele now includes retailers like  Ahold, Coop, Homeplus (Tesco), PartyCity, and Saks Fifth Avenue among others. Their software platform also provides features such as cloud services and the ability to easily perform software updates and maintenance. Using a device’s built-in camera Scandit’s software platform allows for camera-based barcode scanning at any angle and with high read rates. Read more

More AutoID Industry Consolidation on the Horizon - Who's Next?

by Richa Gupta | < 09/24/2014

How will the final quarter of 2014 shape up for the AutoID and Data Capture industry? Can the market accommodate or even handle one more acquisition? I believe it can. In this blog, I will highlight my top picks for:

  • The company most likely to make an acquisition
  • The company (or business division) most likely to be acquired

The AIDC market has had a rather interesting 18 to 24 months with some big name acquisitions. First, there was the Honeywell acquisition of Intermec Technologies. When this deal closed in September of last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) placed conditions on this proposed merger, taking issue with the competitive impact of this merger on the 2D barcode OEM scan engine market. In order to ensure that Motorola Solutions and Honeywell are not, essentially, the only vendors competing in the US market for this product category, the FTC afforded Italy-based Datalogic the choice of licensing Intermec’s 2D scan engine patents for the next 12 years. Read more

Factory of the Future and Where Machine Vision Solutions Fit In

by Richa Gupta | 08/06/2014

I am posting this blog from the Austin Convention Center, home to NIWeek 2014, National Instruments’ rather elaborate annual partner conference. It has been an interesting two days for me at the event, where I’ve had the opportunity to gain some insight into the company’s (embedded) vision for the future, both its own and that of the industries it serves. Read more

Asia Trumps the Americas and Europe in Barcode Printer Investments in 2013

by Richa Gupta | 07/07/2014

For the first time ever, Asia-Pacific trumped both the Americas as well as EMEA as the region accounting for the largest revenue share in 2013. VDC sees this as a direct reflection of the pickup in the Chinese manufacturing sector in the past 12 months, a result of its government’s diligent efforts to tackle slowing growth in the world’s second largest economy. Growing reliance on logistics service providers to get products to the final consumer on time coupled with their rising need for automation will also help spur continued investments in the near future. Industrial printer sales contracted 5% year-over-year in North America because of users’ increasing investments in lower cost desktop options that are well-suited for deployment across several application environments. Read more

An Acquisition Worth the Cost: What Makes Cognex an Attractive Target

by Richa Gupta | 07/06/2014

Cognex Corporation, a company specializing in machine vision and imaging products, has emerged as an industry leader in recent years. VDC just published a report that analyzes the company’s financials, product offerings, and future prospects, positioning it as an attractive, albeit expensive, acquisition target. Specifically, Cognex is recognized for its engineering focus, strong vision-related IP, product development innovation, expanding ID products business, and its growing presence in the logistics vertical. Read more

From the Last Mile to the Last Meter – VDC’s Vision for Augmented Reality in Logistics

by Richa Gupta | 06/20/2014

At VDC, we are fascinated by the “last mile delivery” conundrum confronting logistics service providers today. A boom in ecommerce sales coupled with the retail omnichannel challenge make for interesting times. In our previous blog, we discussed the issues parcel delivery organizations face during the final stages of the delivery process, the only step in the supply chain where they directly interact with the end consumer. Inefficiencies in packing procedures, less-than-optimized delivery routes, and problems in locating a package’s final destination among others, all contribute to disproportionately high costs and frustration for shippers, which are then passed on to irate customers. Read more

Data Capture and the Race to Shorten the Last Mile

by Richa Gupta | 06/03/2014

With an ever-growing volume of e-commerce sales consumers, retailers, and parcel service providers have all come to realize the glaring inefficiencies in the so-called “last mile”, the last leg of a package’s journey from the distribution hub to the customer. Hermes Europe, a multinational group providing full-service supply chain management solutions headquartered in Germany, published an article on last mile deliveryin the first issue of their company magazine, Hermes Wing, which piqued our interest. According to the article, at least 50% of a parcel service provider’s total costs occur during this part of the delivery process. The article reveals that the main reason for these high costs is that only about half of all packages shipped reach the recipient’s residence on the first attempted delivery. Read more

It is all about Retail for Zebra Technologies

by Richa Gupta | 05/28/2014

Investors turned their heads on Tuesday, April 15th when Zebra Technologies (Zebra) announced its $3.45 billion acquisition of Motorola Solutions’ (MSI) Enterprise division. This will be an all-cash transaction, with $200 million directly from Zebra’s coffers, and the remaining being financed largely via debt. The market’s immediate reaction to this announcement was an 11 percent drop on the NASDAQ, bringing down ZBRA’s price per share to $60.77 from close to $70. Following the shock, brought about by significant upfront cost, investors seem to be now taking a look at this acquisition as Zebra seizing an opportunity to promote long-term growth. Read more

How IoT Could Fuel the Next Generation of Data Capture and Asset Traceability

by Richa Gupta | 04/23/2014

This past week has been all about Zebra Technologies’ acquisition of Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business unit and what it means for the global AutoID & Data Capture industry. Zebra’s executives have consistently cited the Internet of Things or IoT phenomenon, powered by their home-grown, cloud-based software platform, Zatar, as the bridge to tie the company’s existing product portfolio with that of MSI’s. Given the buzz surrounding this topic, at VDC, we have put together a two-part blog series where we discuss IoT as a concept and Zebra’s big bet on Zatar, and enabling Enterprise Asset Intelligence. This is Part 1. Read more

Are We Getting Closer to a Scanner-less World?

by Richa Gupta | 04/01/2014

Scandit, a mobile image processing and cloud computing software vendor headquartered in Zurich, has developed a platform that enables smartphones and other consumer mobile devices to facilitate enterprise-grade barcode scanning. The performance level of applications developed on Scandit is comparable to dedicated scanning devices, with respect to speed and in their ability to scan damaged and blurred barcodes. This platform has already been tested in Europe where several companies use applications developed on it. The company also recently announced that it has raised $5.5 million with its latest round of funding – an investment made by a small group of high net worth technology entrepreneurs. Read more

MODEX 2014: A Data Capture Analyst’s Perspective

by Richa Gupta | 03/24/2014

Sponsored by the Material Handling Institute (MHI), MODEX is one of the largest expositions showcasing products and services targeted at the manufacturing and logistics verticals. This was VDC’s first time attending the show and it most certainly did not disappoint. Along with being extremely well attended, this event boasts a healthy exhibitor mix of hardware vendors, solution providers and integrators. As the AutoID & Data Capture analyst here at VDC, I had the opportunity to speak with some of the leading names in each of these communities, and learn their perspective on product innovation and market evolution. Read more

SATO’s Marketing Teaser – Is That a Thermal Color Label Printer?

by Richa Gupta | 02/25/2014

SATO’s recent slew of marketing emails has piqued my curiosity. The company looks all set to announce its new industrial printer model during MODEX 2014. This is pure speculation, but to me, it looks like they are launching a thermal color label printer. That would certainly be a most interesting addition to their existing line of barcode label printer offerings. While interest is building in color thermal printing technology, vendors have largely refrained from dedicating R&D dollars to it because of associated challenges and costs involved – both from their own perspective as well as that of their customers’. Engineering complexities typically make such projects cost prohibitive. Read more

Target's Data Breach – Is this good news for VeriFone and Ingenico?

by Richa Gupta | 01/29/2014

The massive data breach at Target over the 2013 holiday season, which affected over 110 million customers, is slated to have significant repercussions on the payment community within the United States. The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) reaction to this infringement has been to lay the blame on retailers’ banking partners that continue to issue magnetic stripe payment cards. The bankers on the other hand, hold the retailers responsible, citing their inefficiency in securing and managing in-store systems. There is now considerable talk of a switch to the purportedly more secure EMV chip-and-pin based technology. MasterCard, American Express and Visa have all announced their intention to shift the liability for fraudulent charges onto retailers and banks, starting October 2015, if they do not upgrade their payment terminal hardware to those that accept smart cards. Read more