AutoID & Data Capture Blog

The Pandemic is Clouding In-Store Automation Investments: Walmart to End Robotics Pilot Program

by Michael Clarke | 11/06/2020

The retail landscape continues to face key challenges around inventory management and accuracy where enterprises are looking towards automation to drive productivity. The lack of accurate inventory management and stock availability has cost retailers sales and consumer satisfaction in their in-store shopping experience. Read more

Eliminating Friction from the Retail Point of Sale

by Summer Schuster, with Andy Adelson | 07/09/2019

Change is afoot and the pressures facing retailers are driving them to re-evaluate their infrastructure, especially with their point-of-sale (POS) solutions. Taking stock of their operations, many retailers are moving towards administering new types of code onto their consumer products. Read more

Zebra to Acquire Temptime

by Tim Kane | 01/29/2019

Zebra Technologies announced its intent to acquire privately held Temptime Corporation for an undisclosed sum. Temptime is an industry leader in the development of remote temperature monitoring solutions, with a particular focus in the healthcare industry. Read more

Iron Ox: A Model for Fully Autonomous Workflows

by Michael Clarke | 10/24/2018

The idea of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) and collaborative robots (cobots) in the warehouse have gained traction as machine vision, sensor, and motion technology advances. AMRs and cobots are designed to augment employee work flows making work processes easier and more efficient. Employees have growing concerns that robots will displace their jobs in the manufacturing sector as automation continues to grow; however, the reality is that there are many labor shortages in these sectors where employers seek to deploy robotic labor. Read more

Walmart Reimagines Supply Chain Traceability with Blockchain Technology

by Michael Clarke | 10/02/2018

Supply chain traceability is often a time-consuming and costly challenge for food producers. When food bacteria outbreaks such as E coli and salmonella infest any portion of a grocer’s produce, they are forced to throw out an entire batch for a lack of a quick and accurate method to easily identify where it originated from and discard the infested produce. Consumer trust and brand protection are integral to this process where retailers would rather be safe than sorry. Read more

A Slippery Slope Between Collaborative Robotics and Human Workers

by Emely Cedano, with Michael Clarke | 06/19/2018

As companies shift towards relying more on intelligent robots in their work flows, the concern for human job replacement and robot autonomy rises. The increase of ecommerce has intensified order fulfillment requirements, which pushes enterprises to need faster order processing and delivery speeds. While the implementation of collaborative robots (cobots) have many benefits in terms of streamlining order fulfilment work flows, the full impact on human job replacement has yet to be determined. Read more

MODEX 2018 Highlights the Drive Towards Industrial Automation

by Michael Clarke | 04/23/2018

MODEX is the premier tradeshow for supply chain and logistics solutions, powered by the MHI and held biannually in Atlanta, GA where industry leaders in AIDC and robotics display their latest technology. This blog will detail the latest announcements and provide commentary on the newest innovation unveiled at MODEX 2018. Read more

The Digital Union of Spectrum and Smartflow Is Poised to Bolster Loftware Inc.’s Enterprise Labeling & Artwork Solutions

by Michael Clarke | 03/23/2018

As a global leader in enterprise labeling solutions with over 5000 customers in over 100 countries, Loftware Inc. aims to extend and synergize its global capabilities with its acquisition of UK based company and artwork management solutions provider, GAP Systems. This combination of enterprise labeling and artwork management solutions is poised to drive innovation and offer singular enterprise platform for labeling and packaging artwork requirements. Read more

Checkpoint Systems Aims to Further its Connected Store Ambitions with Latest Announcements at NRF 2018

by Michael Clarke, with Richa Gupta | 01/18/2018

Checkpoint Systems Inc. (a division of CCL Labels), a leader in electronic article surveillance (EAS) and RFID solutions for the retail industry, announced two new product offerings at the recently concluded NRF conference in New York. Thus, this blog will detail the latest products and the company’s outlook for the retail space in 2018. Read more

Leading Leuco Dye Manufacturer Shutdown Causes Signi-ficant Disruption in Direct Thermal Paper Market

by Michael Clarke, with Richa Gupta | 01/05/2018

VDC recently published a white paper in collaboration with mobile data capture vendor, Scandit. This piece analyzes the unprecedented challenges facing retailers with brick-and-mortar store locations today and their need to make strategic investments in technology solutions in order to compete effectively for customers and revenues. Shoppers today seek instant gratification and their exposure to a variety of different platforms and brands has dramatically altered their retail-related expectations. Read more

Reengineer, Restructure, and Revamp Retail with Mobile Data Capture Technology

by Richa Gupta | 12/13/2017

VDC recently published a white paper in collaboration with mobile data capture vendor, Scandit. This piece analyzes the unprecedented challenges facing retailers with brick-and-mortar store locations today and their need to make strategic investments in technology solutions in order to compete effectively for customers and revenues. Shoppers today seek instant gratification and their exposure to a variety of different platforms and brands has dramatically altered their retail-related expectations. Read more

AIDC’s Time to Shine in the Asian Supply Chain Market

by Richa Gupta | 12/11/2017

The Asian logistics market has seen a flurry of activity this past week from an AIDC standpoint with market leaders Honeywell and SATO both making strategic announcements to address opportunities within it. This blog details the strategic investments and alliances forged by these conglomerates with an eye on the future. Read more

Software takes center stage in the AutoID & Data Capture market – ISV partner programs abound

by Shahroze Husain | 09/01/2017

AIDC vendors today face intense competition in the barcode printer and scanner hardware markets. This has them adopting non-traditional approaches to maintain and grow their market share, and generate higher shareholder value. In recent months, incumbents and emerging participants alike have launched initiatives on the channel development front with an aim to address client and prospect engagement opportunities. Read more

Omron’s Acquisition of Microscan to Shakeup the Industrial Scanning & Automation Market

by Richa Gupta | 08/31/2017

Japanese Nikkei published a news article today announcing that factory automation vendor, Omron, is very close to acquiring US-based Microscan Systems for $157 Million. The acquisition will enable Omron to better integrate data and image capture capabilities into its robotic arms as a means to track product movement through today’s increasingly automated and connected factories. Microscan announced on its website that the deal would close in early October 2017 subject to regulatory approval. Read more

Mobile barcode scanners helping expand total available and addressable market for data capture technologies, according to VDC Research

by Shahroze Husain | 08/09/2017

VDC recently published Interim Findings for our upcoming 2017 Mobile Barcode Scanning Solution Report. The following blog highlights some of our thoughts on this market and its potential. Handheld barcode scanning is no longer restricted to the traditional pistol grip form factor or rugged mobile devices. Mobile barcode scanners including companion scanners, sleds, ring scanners and barcode scanning software platforms saw strong demand globally in 2016 and will generate more than $150M in revenues by 2021, according to VDC’s latest research on the topic. Read more

Good news all around for Zebra Technologies’ Q2 2017 performance, but is the run rate business slowing down?

by Richa Gupta | 08/09/2017

Zebra Technologies announced its Q2 2017 earnings on August 8, beating analyst expectations on EPS by $0.03 and revenues by $18.07M. The company saw an improvement over Q2 2016 across all regions with its various product lines; this included 9% sales growth in North America driven by an especially strong performance in mobile computing, 4% increase in EMEA, and an 11% rise in Latin America brought on by exceptionally strong data capture, printing, and supplies sales. Read more

SATO Global Solutions’ Omnichannel-focused Initiative – VISION Retail Platform

by Richa Gupta | 06/27/2017

Customers want a range of choices not only in products they are looking to purchase but also in the shopping channel. Omnichannel enablement today is therefore becoming increasingly critical to secure purchases and brand loyalty. Technology leaders BT, Intel, Nexgen Packaging, RetailNext, SATO Global Solutions (SGS), and Valmarc Corporation have come together to form the Acuitas Digital Alliance (launched in 2016), which is aimed at transforming the in-store retail experience by enhancing buyer behavior predictability, inventory visibility, and stock accuracy. It combines analytical concepts and the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve overall retail in-store efficiencies. Read more

GS1 Connect 2017 – All About the Data

by Richa Gupta | 06/22/2017

I returned to Boston earlier today after spending an interesting two days at the 2017 GS1 Connect conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. I had the opportunity to present a session titled “How Retailers are Using Inventory Accuracy to Streamline Operations” with a representative from Target (Kevin O’Dare, Lead Business Partner). Here we talked about the importance of in-store inventory visibility to help facilitate a seamless and consistent omnichannel shopping experience for customers while at the same time elevating their retailer/brand loyalty levels. Read more

Omnichannel Fulfillment and E-Commerce Will Drive Growth in Mobile Printer Market, According to VDC’s Latest Research

by Shahroze Husain | 06/05/2017

We recently published market estimates and forecasts as part of VDC’s 2017 coverage of the global market for Mobile Thermal Printers. The market grew nearly 2% from 2015 to 2016, per our research. E-commerce fulfillment and retailers’ omnichannel initiatives are transforming supply chains and how they operate. Retail, Transportation & Logistics, and Commercial Services segments are the biggest adopters of mobile printing solutions, and will continue to be the main segments driving growth for the mobile printers market through the forecast period (2017-2021). Read more

Is Machine Vision the Next Frontier for AIDC Market Participants?

by Shahroze Husain | 05/25/2017

VDC recently published a report analyzing Machine Vision as a growth opportunity for AIDC participants. The following blog highlights some of our thoughts on the market and its potential. In the enterprise, cameras have historically been associated with machine vision solutions such as Smart Cameras and PC-Based Machine vision systems that leverage industrial cameras & software applications for advanced machine vision applications. However, camera technology has over the years expanded to traditional AIDC markets through the introduction of camera-based imager engines. Imager engines today have overcome previous performance limitations including decode snappiness, ambient light performance, depth of field, and price, all of which has helped the technology do what laser scanners can and more. Read more

Changing Competitive Dynamics Herald Big Shifts in Handheld Scanner Market, According to VDC’s Latest Research

by Richa Gupta | 05/24/2017

We recently published market estimates and forecasts as part of VDC’s 2017 coverage of the global market for Handheld Barcode Scanners. The market contracted nearly 2% from 2015 to 2016, per our research, with vendors generating close to a billion dollars for the segment during the year. Revenues from the laser scanner category declined 20%, in keeping with the overarching trend of migration to camera-based imaging. 2D imager-based scanner sales were up more than 7% in USD terms. From VDC’s perspective, it has been interesting to see the transition from 1D to 2D scanning take place with this form factor, especially from the standpoint of the changing dynamics of the global competitive landscape. Read more

VDC’s Richa Gupta to Present at GS1 Connect® 2017 in Las Vegas

by Richa Gupta | 05/22/2017

Retail store closings have dominated headlines these past few weeks with several major brick-and-mortar chains announcing significant changes to their existing landscape. Retailers today have a heightened focus on creating a meaningful, engaging, and consistent shopping experience for their customers across all channels of operation. In keeping with this theme, VDC’s Richa Gupta, Director of the AutoID & Data Capture (AIDC) Practice, will be presenting on the topic “How Retailers are Using Inventory Accuracy to Streamline Operations” as part of the Apparel and General Merchandise Track at the GS1 Connect® 2017 conference on June 20, along with Kevin O’Dare, Lead Business Partner at Target Corporation. Read more

Are Integrated Cross-channel Order Management Solutions the Answer to Retailers’ Omnichannel Woes?

by Shahroze Husain | 05/16/2017

Retailers with physical storefronts face mounting pressure today. Department store chains nationwide are closing hundreds of stores, e-fulfillment is on the rise, and changing consumer habits are forcing many brick-and-mortar retailers to re-evaluate their operations and move towards a more omnichannel sales model. Brick-and-mortar retail still accounts for over 90% of overall revenues. Despite that, retailers are feeling the pressure to create meaningful and highly engaging in-store experiences that align with shoppers’ expectations in order to facilitate customer conversion Consumers’ access to non-traditional retail channels, including online shopping (both desktop and mobile), and click-and-collect, has transformed retail and logistics, perhaps forever. Read more

Digital Transformation of Retail Drives Zebra Technologies’ Performance in Q1 2017

by Richa Gupta | 05/10/2017

Zebra Technologies announced its Q1 2017 earnings on May 8, beating analyst expectations on EPS by $0.07 and revenues by $17.25M. The company saw an improvement over Q1 2016 across all regions with its various product lines; this included double-digit sales growth in EMEA and Latin America and a 5% growth in North America. Strong demand from retail and e-commerce customers contributed to success this quarter that exceeded Zebra’s guidance range. Read more

Blockchain Goes Mainstream with the Announcement of the IBM Blockchain

by Shahroze Husain | 03/20/2017

To tackle the challenges of data management and security in the supply chain and address new regulations surrounding centralized interoperable database implementation, there is rising interest in the blockchain. Today, IBM unveiled the IBM Blockchain at InterConnect 2017 - A blockchain as a service offering for the enterprise. Known to most as the underlying technology supporting Bitcoin digital currency transactions, a blockchain is a digital ledger that uses cryptography to allow participants (each with a unique signature) on a network to use the ledger and record transactions to enable granular traceability. Read more

New Report: 2016 Global Market for OEM Barcode Scan Engines

by Shahroze Husain | 02/27/2017

VDC recently published a report focused on OEM Barcode Scan Engines. The following blog highlights some of our thoughts on this market and its potential. The global OEM scan engine market grew 6% year over year from 2015 to 2016 and is expected to grow to $362M by 2020, according to VDC latest study. VDC defines OEM barcode scan engines as products that are embedded in devices to enable and facilitate enterprise-grade barcode scanning. Read more

Retail Gets SmartSense with Zebra’s Latest Product Release

by Shahroze Husain | 02/17/2017

Two major issues that face retail stores every year are the low matching accuracy of inventories and potential revenue lost from inventory shrinkage. According to Bill Hardgrave, dean of Auburn University's Harbert College of Business and the founder of the RFID Lab, current accuracy of retail inventories range from 30 percent to 60 percent . In terms of shrinkage, $45.2 Billion was lost last year in the United States alone according to the 2016 National Retail Security Survey conducted by the NRF. Read more

Q&A with Scandit CEO and Co-Founder Samuel Mueller

by Shahroze Husain | 01/13/2017

This interview is part of an ongoing Q&A series VDC conducts with AIDC solution providers where they share their views on their company, products, and state of the market. We had the opportunity to catch up with Samuel Mueller, CEO and Co-Founder at Scandit to learn about the company and its recent initiatives. Read more

Scandit closes $7.5 Million investment from Technology Investment Firm Atomico

by Shahroze Husain | 01/11/2017

Zurich-based mobile image processing and cloud computing software vendor Scandit – with clients including Cardinal Health, HomeDepot, Macy’s, GE Healthcare, Coop, Shell and Verizon – recently closed a $7.5 million Series A funding investment from London-based VC, Atomico. Atomico’s investment portfolio consists of notable IoT (Internet of Things) and mobility companies like EVRYTHNG (which also partnered with Avery Dennison), Fon, and Jawbone. Read more

Taking Measurements - the growing adoption of dimensioning solutions in the supply chain

by Shahroze Husain | 01/10/2017

VDC recently published a report focused on Dimensioning Solutions. The following blog highlights some of our thoughts on this market and its potential. The market for dimensioning solutions (also known as cubing solutions) is expanding. For years, these solutions were used for dimensioning products and parcels for efficient storage, package sizing, and quality checks and have recently come to gain greater attention beyond the transportation and logistics industry. According to the new report from VDC Research on enterprise requirements for dimensioning solutions, 55% of respondents across the manufacturing, retail, wholesale/distribution and logistics industries indicate currently using dimensioning solutions to support applications from inventory management, to order management and shipping in hubs across supply chains including distribution centers, manufacturing shop floors, warehouses, retail back of stores, and offices. Read more