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

RFID, AIDC and IoT New Round Up for July 8, 2019


Nike CEO Bullish on RFID; RF Controls Claims Low Cost RTLS Technology; Flexible RFID ICs to Tackle Counterfeit Consumer Goods


July 8, 2019
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Below are three of the top stories in automated data collection, RFID and the Internet of Things in recent weeks.

Nike CEO Bullish on RFID

On its recent quarterly earnings call with analysts, Nike CEO Mark Parker gave a big thumbs up to RFID.


Nike continues "to build our capabilities in data and analytics, digital demand sensing and connected inventory to create a supply chain that anticipates and response to shifts in consumers demand quickly," Parker said on the call.

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IATA said RFID tracking is more cost-efficient than other approaches to achieve the industry's target of 100% bag tracking.

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He said that starting in its current Q1, Nike has embedded RFID in nearly all of its footwear and apparel, which translate into hundreds of millions of individual products.

"RFID gives us the most complete view of our inventory that we have ever had. It's quickly becoming the most precise tool in our arsenal to meet an individual consumer specific need at the exact right moment," Parker added. "We will go live with this capability in Q1 across 20 Nike Direct stores and then continue to scale across the fleet."

As a result, Nike's understanding what's selling will also continue to inform its "express lane," which is already driving higher full price sell through and better gross margins.  Express lane involves faster deliveries direct to consumers.

Parker added that smarter use of data is also providing even more value to its most engaged consumers.

Could Nike's plans be a turning point in the slow adoption of RFID in the supply chain?

RF Controls Claims Low Cost RTLS Technology

RF Controls, an asset-tracking solutions provider, says it has developed a real-time location system (RTLS) that is says can use passive RFID tags, which are far less expensive than the so-called active, battery-based tags usually associated with RTLS systems.

If accurate, this would indeed be a major be a major breakthrough,

"Our battery-free tags have the ability to scan an area with high speed, over long distances and with high accuracy," said Adrian Turchet, senior vice president of strategy at RF Controls.

As part of its system, RF Control s provides a overhead reader system, flooding a given space with radio frequency waves that allow the system to track a tag and asset, such as a pallet of goods, with one-foot location accuracy.

Turchet says that key to the system is the concept of last known location.

"Last known location is important in cases where the tag goes inside of a metal box or any area where radio waves are unable to enter. In such a situation, we could get the read from the tag about two feet before it goes into the metal shelving," said Turchet.

RF Controls adds that as an example of coverage capabilities, if you've got a 30-foot high ceiling and with one antenna, you can cover 3,600-square feet of space for tag reading.

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Flexible RFID ICs To Tackle Counterfeit Consumer Goods

A Chinese packaging materials firm called BSN intends to use RFID inlays (or ICs) from another UK company called PragmatIC for use in in anti-counterfeit solutions for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), ecommerce, and pharmaceutical products.

BSN is part of the Baoshen Group, one of China's largest packaging material suppliers for a number of consumer goods product category, especially in the soft goods sector.

The PragmatIC RFID elements are thin and flexible, making them suitable for embedding into a wide range of substrates, including plastic or paper. BSN claims they are imperceptible when added to labels or packaging. Using so-called "integrated energy harvesting" and designed for use with single layer antennas, they resulting RFID tags are said to reduce total system cost.

Headquartered in Cambridge UK, PragmatIC says the low cost of these flexible ICs means RFID tracking or authentication is no longer limited to high-value luxury items. The company contends its technology now makes it economical to add "smart" features such as traceability and interactivity to high-volume FMCGs and other mass market applications.

The company's ConnectIC series "is set to bring connectivity to items we buy every day," says Scott White, CEO.

Any reaction to the stories in this week' roundup? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


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