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Category: RFID, Automated Data Collection, and Internet of Things

RFID, AIDC and IoT News Round Up for July 31, 2018


Tamper Proof RFID Label; Food Distributor Finds ROI from Tracking Reusable Totes with RFID; Smart Phone Scanning Software Maker Scandit Raises Big Money

July 31, 2018
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Below are SCDigest's picks for the top stories in recent weeks on RFID, automatic data collection and IoT. It's actually not easy to find news on these topics in supply chain applications, but we do our best.

New Tamper Proof RFID Label

We've reported several times on what appears to be a never ending series of criminals trying to switch UPC bar code labels at stores such as Walmart to pay a low price for a much more expensive product.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

Greatly simplifying, by adding RFID tags to the totes and readers on its conveyors, the new system can identify how many and specifically which totes are shipped to which customers.

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As retailers and others move to RFID labels, a similar scenario could occur, with thieves moving RFID labels from one product to another – and perhaps making detection of the switch even harder, as the RFID labels might have less human readable information on them.

A company called Identiv says it has an answer to this challenge, announcing a new tamper-proof RFID label that integrates an aluminum-etched antenna and a new tamper-proof release coating. The antenna bridge is guaranteed to destruct after the label is torn from any applied surface, including glass, paper, plastic, and other non-metal environments.

The cost-effective design renders it impossible to tear off the complete antenna or label. Once torn from an adhered surface, the label is no longer functional and cannot be reassembled.

"The destructive label is ideal for uses cases in which the end-user needs to ensure an asset is genuine - once removed, the label cannot be reapplied to a new, non-authentic product," the company says.

The company adds the new label addresses the need for anti-counterfeiting and brand-protection measures in the retail, transportation, and pharmaceutical industry. The labels are designed for simple use on wine and spirit bottles, pharmaceuticals, and any item in transport that requires broken-seal detection or tamper prevention.

The advanced label is compatible with any RFID inlay.

Tracking Re-Usable Totes with RFID Saves Distributor Big Money

The business case for RFID in the supply chain continues to be a bit wobbly, but from the earliest days in the modern RFID era – starting say in 2000 – the return from using RFID to track re-usable logistics platforms has always been strong.

Fresh food distributor Reynolds from the UK has also found this to be true, saying it has saved £150,000 per year following the implementation of a project to embed RFID tags into its plastic delivery totes.

"We were packing goods into sturdy plastic totes because that's what our customers wanted. That was all very well, but we were finding that we weren't getting them all back," the company's IT director Richard Calder told the web site.

Calder added: "It wasn't as if it was just a small number. People were finding them useful, they weren't returning them… We were losing a significant sum of money each year having to replenish crates that just seemed to disappear out of the system - we know this isn't a unique problem to Reynolds. You only need to walk round any farmers' market."

Greatly simplifying, by adding RFID tags to the totes and readers on its conveyors, the new system can identify how many and specifically which totes are shipped to which customers. It can then track which of those totes are returned – and which are not.

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Calder said that "if a restaurant hasn't returned its crates, credit control can contact their head office. They can see by day which ones haven't come back and, if it goes over four or five days, they can phone the restaurant and ask 'where are our crates?'"

He added that Reynolds can build crate return-rates into the contracts it strikes with restaurants and restaurant chains, for example, with the most diligent customers benefiting from the most competitive pricing arrangements.

Smart Phone Bar Code Scanning Firm Scandit Raises $30 Million

We have reported several times over the past few years about a company called Scandit, which provides software that allows high performance bar code scanning from smart phones – much more suitable for demanding scanning requirement in supply chain applications than free or low cost scanning apps.

Investors obviously think there is big opportunity with the company. Scanit announced last week that it has raised $30 million in a round led by Google Ventures and NGP Capital. That joins a previous $13 million raised by the Zurich-based startup.

And the investment is needed because Scandit is moving beyond its scanning roots into augmented reality solutions in the distribution center arena, focused on the Microsoft Hololens and other wearable displays.

In a blog post last year, Scandit wrote that "a warehouse associate with a HoloLens headset could be directed with virtual markers to the correct items. They could then use the built-in HoloLens camera for hands-free scanning. HoloLens could also indicate where an item should be placed once it is scanned, or deliver additional information about scanned objects."

This latest round will go toward growing the company globally and introducing its technology across various mobile platforms or "any camera-equipped device," as it puts it in a press release tied to the news.


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