RFID Trends: What's Ahead in 2017, Part 3

Technology providers predict advances in reader technology and management for the retail market and beyond.
By Claire Swedberg

First and foremost, Mitchell says, "The cost of deployment has to come down." One way to do that, he explains, is to find different ways of powering the readers, such as networking them together and powering them via Ethernet. This enables a reduction in an installation's cost, by requiring fewer cables, while also creating an Ethernet-fed, cloud-based network. If a store requires greater granularity of location data, it can then add one, two or more readers without the high installation cost.

"There will always be a need in the market for handheld readers," Mitchell says. "No one is going to replace that technology," but when it comes to low-cost, hands-free RFID tag capture, he sees improvement in the technology ahead.

Alien's Neil Mitchell
RFID is increasingly being used for brand protection as well, Mitchell adds, and Alien is addressing this need with a mechanism to capture and read tag identifiers (TIDs) that are specific to a brand owner or other company. That serves as a unique, easy confirmation of the ownership of each tagged product.


Cost is always an issue for any retailer, large or small, when it comes to installing a real-time, hands-free RFID system, agrees Tom Racette, Mojix. That's because such solutions require more infrastructure than a handheld system.

Hands-free solutions offer many benefits over traditional handheld deployments, Racette says, since they can provide labor-free, automatic, real-time inventory updates for continuous replenishment and timely stock confirmations. They also provide item location identification, he adds, which leads to expeditious stock pick and allocation—all critical components for omnichannel success.

Unlike some conventional solutions currently on the market, Racette says, Mojix's Vizix software provides a Task Management Application that automatically pushes replenishment tasks to store associates. This eliminates routine preparatory work involved with the replenishment process, he adds, such as exporting data to Microsoft Excel, as well as sorting columns and running reports.

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