Mobile Barcode Scanners – Shaping the Future of the Data Capture Industry

by Shahroze Husain | 12/02/2015

The data capture industry is constantly changing. Handheld barcode scanning is no longer restricted to traditional pistol grip form factors or rugged mobile devices as pairing or integrating scanners with consumer devices is increasingly becoming a popular option for organizations’ barcode scanning applications. Capitalizing on growing smartphone adoption in the enterprise space, new and emerging hardware vendors such as Infinite Peripherals & Koamtac and non-traditional ISV participants like Scandit and Manatee Works (now part of Cognex) are challenging AIDC incumbents by bringing data capture technology to a wider audience in new ways. Read more

Zebra Technologies beats EPS but integration to come at a higher cost

by Shahroze Husain | 11/13/2015

Zebra Technologies reported its Q3 2015 earnings on November 10th beating analysts’ EPS estimates by $0.16 while missing on revenue by $2.22 million. The company’s revenues grew 3% from Q2 2015. Net sales of $916.27 million for the quarter included $605.1 million contributed by the Enterprise business unit acquired from Motorola Solutions, a 5.6% increase from Q3 2014. Zebra’s legacy business (including barcode printers, card printers, consumables, location services) accounted for $314 million, up from $303.3 million in Q3 2014. Read more

AutoID Market Shakeup: TSC Acquires Printronix’s Thermal Printer Business

by Richa Gupta | 11/09/2015

Leading barcode printer vendor TSC AutoID Technology (TSC) announced on November 9 that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the thermal printing business of Printronix, a company focused on serving the industrial supply chain with its rugged, high-performance thermal label printer product line. This acquisition is expected to close in January 2016. I find this development equal parts interesting and refreshing. It has been a while since the market saw an acquisition by a vendor other than one of the AIDC conglomerates (Datalogic, Honeywell, Zebra Technologies, and the former Motorola Solutions). Read more

NFL Roundup: Zebra Technologies Makes a Big Play in Pro Sports with Embedded Sensors in Jerseys

by Shahroze Husain | 10/22/2015

With the 2015 NFL season underway, coaches, analysts, and fantasy football fans are hungry for the latest and most accurate stats for making vital decisions on and off the field. The NFL looks to have found an answer. Enter Motionworks by Zebra Technologies’ Sports Solutions Division. Created by the company’s Location Solutions group, Motionworks is a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tracking system which aims to bring better accuracy and insight into player performances than ever before. RFID systems have traditionally been used to track and trace items throughout the supply chain to enhance overall operational efficiencies but now the NFL and Zebra are tapping into this technology to create a better Football experience. Read more

Socializing the AIDC World

by Richa Gupta | 10/09/2015

AIDC solution providers mentioned in this report - Barcoding Inc., Barcodes Inc., Cognex, Datalogic, Honeywell Scanning & Mobility (now part of Honeywell Sensing & Productivity Solutions), Lowry Solutions, SICK AG, System ID, Wasp Barcode, and Zebra Technologies

Social media continues to be a relatively under-explored and under-utilized avenue for digital marketing within the AIDC community. In our bid to transform how AIDC solution providers use social media platforms, VDC just published a report on current usage trends and statistics along with detailed insight into best practices that can help them achieve their objectives for social media engagement. Read more

Barcode Scanner Vendors Entering Consumers’ Homes? Looks Like We’re Almost There!

by Richa Gupta | 09/03/2015

What is the next step in the evolution of the barcode scanner market? Are vendors going to be restricted to B2B transactions or is there a potential consumer device opportunity for them here? In this blog post, VDC will focus its attention on two at-home scanning devices – Hiku Labs’ Hiku and Amazon’s Amazon Dash (both the wand and the button).

Hiku, an in-home barcode scanning solution designed by Silicon Valley startup Hiku Labs, is a 1D barcode scanner with a built-in microphone to help consumers build grocery and shopping lists. Read more

Can Scandit’s new Proof-of-Delivery (POD) system break through the rugged handheld-dominated logistics and delivery industry?

by Shahroze Husain | 09/01/2015

Zurich based mobile image processing and cloud computing software vendor Scandit recently announced the launch of its new mobile Proof-of-Delivery (POD) System for the logistics and transportation industry such as logistics providers, couriers and postal services. POD apps are designed to track the delivery of products through the delivery chain by scanning barcodes on packages and collecting signatures upon delivery. POD solutions are designed to improve efficiency, reduce paperwork, and eliminate errors. Read more

Zebra Technologies – Is the “Better Together” campaign really working?

by Richa Gupta | 08/11/2015

Zebra Technologies reported its Q2 2015 earnings on August 11th missing analysts’ EPS estimates by $0.13 while beating on revenue. Net sales of $889.8 million for the quarter included $573 million contributed by the Enterprise business unit acquired from Motorola Solutions, a 2% increase from Q2 2014. Zebra’s legacy business (including barcode printers, card printers, consumables, location services) accounted for $320.8 million, down 3.2% from Q1 2015 but up from $288.4 million (11.2%) in Q2 2014. The company’s gross margin now stands at 44.2%, down from 49.3% for 2014; this is reflective of rebranding of legacy Motorola product, the change in product mix and the contribution of Enterprise solutions to the overall revenues, which tend to have a lower margin than legacy Zebra products. Read more

Cognex Stock Plunges 20% Day After Q2 Earnings Call; Weak Q3 2015 Outlook to Blame for Sharp Decline

by Richa Gupta | 08/04/2015

On August 3rd, Cognex (CGNX) published its second quarter results ending July 5, 2015 and recorded a historic winning second quarter for the corporation, ranking the second highest for any quarter in its history. The revenue from continued operations amounted to $143.8 million in the past three months, a 56% growth from the year ago quarter and a 42% sequential increase from Q1 2015. Income from continuing operations from last year and the previous quarter rose 92% and 123% respectively. This quarter’s revenue and income calculations excluded sales from the discontinued Surface Inspection System Division (SISD) operations, which generated $11.2 million in revenue in Q2 of 2015. With the strategic sale of its surface inspection business in early July, Cognex plans to sharpen its focus on automating discrete manufacturing applications with the high-margin yielding machine vision and ID product lines. Read more

Digimarc makes a splash in Retail with Walmart Partnership; Stock UP Nearly 45% in a Month

by Shahroze Husain | 07/01/2015

Big news for Oregon-based inventor of the ‘invisible’ barcode as Digimarc made headlines last week when Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon posted a photo on Instagram, which shows testing of Digimarc’s invisible barcode on a packet of chips.

Since 2014, Digimarc has made great strides in its bid to make its patented Digimarc Barcode the next big thing in the retail space. Taking the traditional UPC barcode, Digimarc makes it invisible to the naked eye using digital watermarking technology and places the barcode all over the printed packaging of the product. Read more

NCR puts itself up for acquisition; VDC breaks down the “retail” reasons why

by Shahroze Husain | 06/23/2015

On April 22nd, The Wall Street Journal announced the news that ATM-maker NCR is eyeing strategic alternatives as they face lagging stock prices and shareholder pressure. A potential spinoff, sale of assets, or a full acquisition/buyout - all seem like very viable possibilities. On June 2nd 2015, news broke of NCR asking for first-round bids from prospective buyers and on June 16th, two large private equity firms, Blackstone Group LP and Carlyle Group LP, have paired up in a $10 Billion leveraged buyout (LBO) offer for NCR, including debt. Read more

Cognex sells its Surface Inspection division for $160 Million; VDC Speculates What’s Next for the Company

by Richa Gupta | 06/09/2015

Cognex Corporation (CGNX), a leading vendor in the machine vision and industrial scanning markets, announced the acquisition of its Surface Inspection Systems Division (SISD) on June 8, 2015, as part of a $160 million, all-cash deal with AMETEK Inc., a multi-billion dollar manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices. While the transaction continues to be subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals, AMETEK expressed its enthusiasm to have the new SISD department as the latest addition to its Electronic Instrument Group (EIG) product portfolio, a leader in the design and manufacturing of advanced instruments for the process, aerospace, power and industrial markets, which amassed a total of $2.4 billion in sales in 2014. Read more

Zebra Technologies’ Stock Pops; Company Soars to New Highs

by Richa Gupta | 05/14/2015

Zebra Technologies (ZBRA) reported its Q1 2015 earnings on May 13th, beating the market consensus on EPS by 27 cents and that on revenues by $11.37 million. Net sales of $892.3 million for the quarter included the $561 million contributed by the Enterprise business unit acquired from Motorola Solutions, a 6% increase on a constant currency basis. Zebra’s legacy business accounted for $331.6 million, up 15% from Q1 2014, a remarkable increase for what is generally viewed as a stable and relatively saturated market.  Read more

Cognex - Consistently Breaking Records, Exceeding Performance Expectations

by Richa Gupta | 05/06/2015

Cognex announced its Q1 2015 earnings after market close on Monday, May 4th. The company reported quarterly revenues of $113 million, 84% (approximately $95 million) of which was attributed to its factory automation segment. Cognex reported that this year-over-year revenue increase occurred despite the global currency exchange rate fluctuations, which constituted a negative impact of approximately $7 million. RD&E and SG&A expenses reportedly grew faster than revenues this past quarter due primarily to growth investments including new product development and sales initiatives. Legal fees related to Cognex’s recently-resolved patent dispute with Microscan also contributed to this rise in expenses. Read more

Taking a Wide-Angle View of the AIDC World in 2015 – VDC’s View on Themes that will Pave the Way for the Future

by Richa Gupta | 04/23/2015

In the past year, VDC has undertaken some rather interesting projects, helping our clients identify new target markets (regional and vertical) and exciting new opportunities to help promote business growth both now and in the future. Our April 2015 VDC Viewhighlights some of the most interesting and pressing opportunities for AutoID technology vendors, distributors and end users. Read more

Digimarc Barcode - The Next Big Thing for Retail?

by Richa Gupta | 03/27/2015

Word about Digimarc’s digital watermark for consumer products or the “invisible barcode” as they’re calling it, is starting to get around. A technology company based in Oregon, Digimarc is renowned for its digital watermarking and identification solutions used in global currency, government IDs, television, and publishing. The company is now focused on expanding its presence into the retail front-of-store with its barcode alternative. Without getting too technical, Digimarc takes a traditional UPC barcode, makes it invisible to the naked eye, and puts it all over the packaging of a product. The camera-based imager being used to scan the items at the front-end of a retail store quickly picks up this imperceptible digital information and allows the check-out process to be completed in record breaking times.  Read more

Zebra Technologies 2014 Earnings Snapshot

by Richa Gupta | 03/19/2015

Yesterday, Zebra Technologies announced its 2014 Q4 and full year earnings. It was notably the first quarter since the acquisition in which Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business unit was integrated with the company. VDC’s qualitative analysis of the most compelling comments made by the Zebra leadership team in the earnings call can be found in yesterday’s blog. This post will discuss some of the key AIDC-centric highlights from the call. Read more

VDC Research-Loftware Present Joint Webinar on Enterprise Labeling

by Richa Gupta | 03/16/2015

On Thursday, March 26th, VDC’s Richa Gupta will co-present a webinar with Loftware’s Josh Roffman, Vice President Marketing and Product Management, where they will discuss why labeling is a strategic imperative in today’s global supply chains. This presentation is a follow-up to the comprehensive white paper co-authored by the two firms in December, titled “Enterprise Labeling – A Supply Chain Strategic Imperative”.  Read more

Here’s what makes Datalogic’s latest partnership with NCR interesting

by Richa Gupta | 02/06/2015

On February 3, data capture industry veteran Datalogic announced that it has entered into a multi-year agreement with retail solutions behemoth NCR Corporation for the supply of its Jade X7™ Automated Scanner. I have seen these at the NRF show – designed to facilitate automated scanning and checkout at high-volume retail locations. The products are placed on a moving conveyor belt in any orientation, and are then scanned by multiple array imagers as they move through a “tunnel,” easing the checkout process for both the attendant/cashier as well as the customer. Read more

NRF 2015 Musings – Is the show far too out of touch with reality?

by Richa Gupta | 01/14/2015

I am back from spending an interesting couple of days at the NRF Expo in New York City. This annual event is, of course, all about retail. It is all about vendors showcasing technologies and solution capabilities that ease retailers’ everyday operations, helping them get their products to the right customer at the right time and the right price. Omnichannel has been an industry buzzword for several years at this point and one that several vendors showcasing their products at this forum have latched on to. Retailing today has morphed into something that places just as much importance to the distribution center and logistics partner as it does to the retail store.  Read more