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Checkpoint Partners With Mojix to Offer Passive RTLS in Stores

The system, using Checkpoint software and Mojix's OmniSense UHF reader and antenna array, is being tested by a high-value apparel retailer to make inventory tracking for replenishment and business analytics "hands-free."
By Claire Swedberg

Checkpoint serves as the systems integrator for the OmniSense solution, which includes the company's RFID labels and software applications. The partnership allows the companies to offer a full solution allowing users to detect the movements of goods around a store or distribution center, as well as Checkpoint software to interpret that location data and forward it to the retailer's own management system. The solution is now being used by a high-value apparel store, Sherman says, which has asked not to be named. Although the store's managers decline to describe their use of the system, Kastner notes that "they liked the notion of 'always on' and not requiring cycle counts" by staff members.

The OmniSense system consists of multiple reader antennas installed about 15 feet apart in a store ceiling, with exciters located around the store. When a tag is moved from one location to another, the system identifies that movement, as well as the tag's new location, thereby enabling management to identify not only when a product moves and where, but also how often. That data can enable them to know, in real time, when products require replenishment, and to use business analytics to determine which products customers are picking up and which are being purchased. According to Kastner, the system provides data required for replenishments "with a high degree of accuracy."

The need for RTLS technology, Sherman says, is "a good indication of the increasing sophistication in retail." And seeking alternative RFID solutions, such as RTLS, is necessary for many brick-and-mortar stores, Kastner adds, since retailers often ship goods based on online purchases, and need to be able to do so quickly. "Those who can provide same-day delivery [to customers at the store] at low cost will be the big winners," he states. "If you do a periodic cycle count, that [inventory] information is already aged. Handhelds are not good enough to support an omnichannel [model]."

Checkpoint's own expansion into radio frequency identification has been significant during the past year, Sherman reports. Not only did the firm provide RFID technology for Kohl's nationwide installation (see Kohl's Rolls Out RFID for Select Product Categories at Its Stores), but it recently installed an RFID system for an unnamed retailer throughout 18 countries, at a total of 200 stores within a span of six weeks. The company teamed up with inventory service firm RGIS this year as well, which sends workers to retailer sites to attach RFID labels to store products.

To further its growth in the RFID market, Checkpoint developed the Zephyr 2, a new RFID label containing an NXP Semiconductors Ucode 7 chip. The Zephyr 2, also announced last week at LIVE!, measures 54 millimeters by 34 millimeters (2.1 inches by 1.3 inches), is designed for greater read speed and accuracy, and has earned certification from the University of Arkansas' ARC Center for use on denim, poly-bagged apparel, boxed items and hanging apparel, for both North American and Europe. According to Sherman, the label is designed to provide retailers with a single tag that can be used on a large variety of goods.

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