It’s the time of the year when we look back at some of our most popular articles of 2014. As RFID continues to explode in retail apparel, articles covering that vertical were very popular this year.
However, our global readership is very interested in how RFID is used in healthcare, the supply chain and the auto industry. Other popular articles include how RFID may enable retailers to pursue dynamic pricing strategies, and how drones may soon act as RFID readers.
Here’s a look at the articles that received the highest readership in 2014.
Marks & Spencer expands RFID rollout; will tag 400M items in 2014
The UK’s largest clothing retailer expects to consume 400 million RFID tags this year as it moves to become the first retailer in the world to tag 100 percent of its general merchandise items in order to provide more holistic inventory tracking throughout its supply chain.
Marks & Spencer’s RFID initiatives have already sliced out-of-stocks by up to 40 percent. M&S, which began piloting RFID in 2003, plans to expand its RFID program to jewelry, cosmetics, home ware items and gifts, with cosmetics and beauty goods rolling out in the spring of 2015.
RFID market exceeds $9B in 2014; retail drives strong growth
The total market for RFID goods and services will climb to $9.2 billion this year and will approach $20 billion by 2018, according to new data produced by market research firm IDTechEx. Those figures include all frequency tags, readers, software and services.
IDTechEx CEO Raghu Das outlined the top four segments driving growth — retail apparel item level tagging, asset tracking/inventory, transit ticketing and animal tracking.
Macy’s continues RFID rollout in 2014
Macy’s is now using RFID on all shoe displays at 850 stores, which has allowed it to increase shoe display compliance from 65-70 percent to nearly 100 percent. The men’s department is a very penetrated category, with most dress shirts, slacks, suits, belts and fashion accessories carrying RFID tags. Some specific vendor categories within home furnishings are also being tagged.
Pam Sweeney, senior vice president of logistics systems at Macy’s, says that additional products will be rolled out in 2014, although the main focus is to increase penetration with existing categories being tagged.
RFID Research suggests new shipping methods for produce
It’s always been believed that the biggest role for RFID technology could be within the food supply chain and delivering fresher foods to consumers.
That theory gained some traction this year when a research team from the University of Florida revealed that the results of an RFID pilot could change the way companies ship fresh fruits and vegetables. The research was funded by a $155,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Lockheed eyes IoT future by deploying reader solution from RF Controls
In a major coup for tiny startup RF Controls, Lockheed Martin has signed a contract with the firm to install its proprietary antenna system to track assets for Lockheed’s Lightning II program, a 5th Generation fighter combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility.
RF Controls CEO Tom Ellinwood said that the deal is worth $400,000 and will likely lead to more contracts in the future. RF Controls had revenue of just $1 million in 2013. The company has raised $30 million from investors and expects sales to double in 2014.
Google heads list of founding partners of RAIN RFID Alliance
Google is ready to increase its presence in the RFID marketplace. The online giant has been announced as a founding member of the RAIN RFID Alliance, dedicated to promoting UHF RFID industry growth.
Other founding members of the group include Impinj, Smartrac and Intel. The announcement was made at RFID Live in Orlando. RAIN, which stands for radio frequency identification, symbolizes the synergy between UHF RFID and the cloud as well as the infinite presence of UHF RFID tags and applications.
How RFID can enable dynamic pricing for brick and mortar retailers
RFID technology continues to redefine retailing. As online vendors like Amazon aggressively invest in dedicated supply chain infrastructure, brick and mortar retailers seek to compete with high levels of inventory accuracy that allow for omnichannel and dynamic pricing business models.
In an omnichannel environment, consumers can order items online or from a mobile device and opt to pick them up at a nearby store or have them delivered, sometimes arriving on the same day. This is possible because the inventory accuracy provided by RFID gives retailers nearly exact inventory counts at the store level.
The next step for retailers seeking to compete with their online cousins is to adopt dynamic pricing strategies that will let retailers like Macy’s and Kohl’s better compete with Amazon’s strategy of changing pricing on items several times a day.
Video: BMW rolls out RFID at Munich dealership
The largest BMW dealer in Germany has deployed RFID to track cars that arrive at its facility for service. Three to four hundred cars pass through the Munich facility each day, which are serviced by 130 mechanics.
With so many cars moving through the facility, the dealership was looking for an easier way to track vehicles as they are serviced. Systems integrator Dimension Data installed RFID readers from Zebra at 70 locations throughout the dealership.
Wearable technology measures pregnancy contractions
Wearable technology could soon help expectant mothers to avoid frequent trips to the doctor’s office for fetal and uterine monitoring. Researchers at Drexel University are combining fashion design with RFID technology to produce a belly band that will monitor uterine contractions and fetal heart rate in real time.
The band, currently in prototype production in the Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory in Drexel’s Expressive & Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center, could be used to monitor high-risk pregnancies, women near their due dates or as a quick, non-invasive procedure during a routine check-up.
Video: Will drones supplant fixed and handheld RFID readers?
A West Coast startup is creating lots of excitement with its innovative plan to use drones as RFID readers. ADASA Inc., which emerged from stealth mode this summer, expects its “flying robot” readers to be commercially available in June.
ADASA is targeting the retail market, where the unmanned flying robots would compete with fixed and handheld readers and potentially revolutionize the way that RFID is deployed.
“Our flying robot answers a market need for low cost inventory readings,” says ADASA founder Clarke McAllister.