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

RFID and IoT News Round Up for Week of March 21, 2017


Is RFID Tech Provider Impinj a Real Stock Buy? Here Come the Connected Purses; Smart Dust May Finally be on the Verge of Real Applications


March 21, 2017
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Below are some of the top recent news stories relative to RFID, the Internet of Things, and Automated Dats Collection (AIDC).

Looking to Invest in RFID? Go with Impinj, Morgan Stanley Says

RFID at long last may be at something of a "tipping point" of mass adoption, according to the Wall Street analysts at Morgan Stanley, and if investors want to ride that wave, invest in Impinj, a new report from the investment bank says.

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Many years after the technology was first developed, so-called "smart dust" may be on the verge of practical applications.

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Initiating coverage of the stock with an "Overweight" rating, Morgan Stanley set a $40 price target for Impinj. With the stock currently at about $28 per share, that would mean a return of about 43%, if the Impinj share price does indeed hit that $40 level.

"We see the company leveraging its technology leadership (200+ patents) and strong market position (60% share), capitalizing on a $10 bilion+ opportunity in RFID and connectivity," Morgan Stanley analysts Craig Hettenbach and Joseph Moore recently wrote.

They added that "We see accelerating RFID adoption, as evidenced by a strong uptick in end point IC [integrated circuits or RFID "chips"] shipment growth for Impinj to 71% in 2016, up from 21%/52% in 2014/15.The company's initial focus markets of retail and healthcare offer a substantial – about $10 billion - opportunity by 2020, while newer verticals such as data center, travel, and automotive should propel growth further."

Morgan Stanley notes that RFID has penetrated less than 10% in retail in terms of items tagged, providing ample room for growth in that sector.

The analysts say that Impinj - based in Seattle - is the only company that provides all three elements of an RFID solution: end point ICs, reader ICs and full readers, and software.

Further, Impinj has over 60% market share in end point and reader ICs, while competitors such as Zebra and Alien buy its ICs to make into full RFID tags with antennas or their own readers.

SCDigest will note, however, that Impinj's stock fell 20% in February, after issuing an outlook for Q1 that was below Wall Street expectations, even though it exceeded expectations for Q4 sales and profits.

Impinj went public last July at $14 per share and reached an all-time high of $41.91 on Dec. 22.

Now Your Purse Can Be Connected Too

Last year RFID solutions provider Avery Dennison and Internet of Things platform EVRYTHNG announced plans to introduce 10 billion items of connected clothing over the next three years, in what the pair called their "Born Digital" campaign.

Now luxury retail brand Rebecca Minkoff is jumping on that bandwagon with a new line of connected handbags.

The retailer has announced that all of its handbags will include RFID tags and be "smart" by this summer. In addition, Minkoff will unveil more connected apparel items later this year.

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The technology gives each handbag its own "digital identity" in the Cloud, which can unlock exclusive offers, e-commerce services, private styling sessions with founder Rebecca Minkoff, and entry into a loyalty program.

Rebecca Minkoff is looking to appeal to the "truly tech-active millennial" craving a "new level of immediate satisfaction," according to the Minkoff team.

"We know that all products in the future will have a digital life as part of the Internet of Things," says Uri Minkoff, co-founder and CEO of the brand. "Rebecca Minkoff wants to be first in letting our customers access this new world of experiences, content and services digitally by interacting with our physical designs. Most fashion brands lose sight of their products and customers; this technology now allows us to directly connect with our shoppers through our products after the purchase."

We can hardly wait. Sort of on the other end of the consumer goods spectrum, we're starting to see connected beer, so why not handbags?

Smart Dust May beFinally Coming

In a new report on the industrial internet of things (IIot), the web site says many years after the technology was first developed, so-called "smart dust" may be on the verge of practical applications.

The concept of tiny sensors the size of a grain of sand, with the ability to detect everything from chemicals to vibrations, was first thought up in the early-1990s, but little progress was made in the following years turning this intriguing idea into a reality. However, interest in this nascent technology has grown recently, with research firm Gartner predicting smart dust will trend in the next five to ten years.

Applications of these connected smart dust particles in the IIoT are virtually endless, from oil exploration companies spreading smart dust to monitor rock movements to small sensors all over factory equipment continually looking out for changes and problems.

At the moment smart dust sensors are still out of reach, primarily due to the difficulty in miniaturization and the prohibitive cost of producing huge quantities. However, they are slowly but surely becoming cheaper to manufacture, so it may not be long before billions upon billions of miniscule smart dust particles populate the world.

Any reaction to one or more of these round up stories? Do you applicaitons for smart dust? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button below.

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