RFID Talk Blog

Impinj launches xArray; opens era of always-on item intelligence

After nearly four years of development, Impinj announced today that its highly anticipated xArray gateway ceiling mounted reader is in full production. The solution has been available on a limited production basis for most of this year. Impinj has at least 30 partners signed on to bring the system to market.

Impinj is primarily targeting the retail sector, although the company has customers using the solution in healthcare and manufacturing. The xArray gateway provides real-time item intelligence events including item identity, location and authenticity.

RFID in retail

The xArray ceiling reader solution allows retailers to have constant real-time visibility into inventory.

Impinj CEO Chris Diorio says that xArray is a game-changing integrated reader system featuring always-on, wide-area monitoring of items carrying passive RFID tags.

“The xArray gateway will forever alter inventory visibility by replacing infrequent, manual inventory taking using handheld RFID readers or barcode scanners with always-on, real-time automated inventory,” says Diorio, who assumed the CEO role when longtime CEO Bill Colleran left Impinj early this month.

“The advent of fixed-infrastructure inventory solutions based on xArray gateways will relieve employees from the drudgery of inventory taking, dramatically improve inventory visibility, and provide heretofore unavailable information such as the real-time location of each individual item within a facility.”

The xArray gateway provides continuously updated inventory information and real-time location of items without human intervention, increasing employee productivity and satisfaction by removing tedious inventory collection activities. A single xArray gateway can visualize up to 1,500 square feet of floor space; multiple xArrays can cover a zone of any size and shape.

Craig Cotton, Impinj’s chief marketing officer, says that demand is strong. “We do have some pent up demand,” he said. “All of our limited production units were sold out.”

Cotton says that he has received positive feedback from two large retailers that have been piloting the solution. Aside from improving inventory accuracy, the solution helps to increase automation (receiving, transition door, item pairing/grouping, replenishment) and improve the overall customer experience.

“We’re pretty excited that a big retail customer can see data now that they never had visibility to before,” he said. “They can now take action on data in terms of standard metrics of availability and mix on their sales floor versus back room, as well as what kind of items, and new locationing visibility to actually locate items. We’ve received very positive feedback from retailers along those lines.”

In healthcare, Cotton expects primary use cases will include asset tracking and RTLS, patient safety and queuing, and consumables accuracy and visibility.

As for manufacturing, a large automotive manufacturer is using the solution for logistics and supply chain planning, as well as monitoring work-in-progress and parts replenishment.

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