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Manufacturing sector embraces RFID-M2M combo

The arrival of machine-to-machine (M2M) communications is causing manufacturers to accelerate their use of RFID, a development that bears close watching by network operators and technology suppliers targeting that marketplace.

A new report titled “Manufacturers Show Increased Interest in RFID-M2M Systems” examines how RFID and M2M technology in the manufacturing sector is being used today, as well as expected trends over the next 24 months.

According to the report, published by research firm Heavy Reading, the clothing, aerospace and aviation markets are showing the strongest uptake for RFID and M2M, a trend that will continue for the next 24 months. The apparel industry is embracing RFID for item level tagging aimed at minimizing out-of-stocks and improving inventory accuracy. Although much of the tagging currently occurs at the store level or in the warehouse, retailers are quickly pushing that process back to the source of manufacture. Aerospace and aviation manufacturers are turning to RFID not only for asset tracking, but to track work-in-process and to keep maintenance records and life history for parts.

The report also highlights the following trends:

The goal of M2M-RFID systems has evolved from tracking assets to collecting detailed information about products and transmitting them to an IT network; The strongest driver for RFID and M2M in the manufacturing sector is in productivity and efficiency of both employees and systems; Inventory management in manufacturing plants will be one of the strongest opportunities for RFID and M2M vendors and service providers.

“Major corporations in a multitude of industries – ranging from aerospace to oil and gas to electronics – are currently using RFID to manage several machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, including inventory management, shipping and delivery, tracking parts, work in progress and employee data,” says Denise Culver, research analyst with Heavy Reading Mobile Networks Insider and author of the report.

“M2M and RFID solution providers have a tremendous opportunity if they invest in the time, development and trials of newer, cheaper RFID tags, says Culver. “They must collaborate to improve upon the types of RFID systems manufacturers use today, as well as new applications that enable manufacturers to increase productivity and make business processes more efficient.”

 

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