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

Keeping costs down can also be a matter of a deployment's size, according to Racette. Generally speaking, the greater a store's footprint, the greater the expense. "Therefore, small to midsized retailers are ideally suited for a real-time, hands-free solution," he states, "because they get complete store visibility for a fraction of the cost than, say, a larger department store who may opt to only cover the stock room or a particular department."

Still, costs for readers and antennas have come down during the past few years. Meanwhile, solution providers like Mojix are getting creative at offering new pricing options—for instance, monthly service fees versus an initial purchase.

Mojix's Tom Racette
Source tagging (applying RFID tags at the factory) has been, and will continue to be, the key to sustainability for any RFID inventory-management solution initiated by retailers, Racette indicates. Store personnel are increasingly overburdened with in-store tasks taking their time away from customers and potentially jeopardizing a positive customer experience, he says, "so efforts to remove in-store tagging are paramount."

As retailers install more and more sensors to monitor everything from temperature to in-store foot traffic and real-time inventory levels, the amount of data being captured will far exceed the economical level for in-house servers. This challenge, Racette says, is driving a growing number of retailers to store their data in the cloud with companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Google.

This will provide greater storage, better security, faster processing times and better analytics. However, it's imperative that retailers do their homework and choose the right IoT software platform, Racette advises—one capable of receiving and processing data from multiple, disparate sensors and able to scale with the retailer's future roadmap.

ThingMagic

Bernd Schoner, the business development VP and founder of ThingMagic (acquired by JADAK), notes that many large retailers have now rolled out substantial RFID programs. "Volumes and scale of those projects are enormous," he says, citing the example of Decathlon's worldwide deployment.

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