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Impinj Partners With Intel on Collaborative Offerings

Impinj will now sell Intel's Retail Sensor Platform reader and gateway as part of its own solutions to integrators for inventory management in stores.
By Claire Swedberg
Jun 21, 2016

Global computer technology company Intel Corp. and Seattle-based RFID provider Impinj are teaming up to offer EPC ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID-based platforms that systems integrators could build into inventory-management and real-time location solutions for the retail industry.

The platforms feature Intel's Retail Sensor Platform (RSP)—consisting of a UHF RFID reader and the Intel Retail Gateway, which collects and manages data regarding store inventory—combined with Impinj's tag chips and ItemSense software. The gateway can also manage data culled from other technologies, such as video analytics, or sensors that measure shoe or shirt fits for customers, and then link that information to RFID read data. Impinj will market the Intel-Impinj systems, though the company has not yet named the release date.

Intel's Joe Jensen
The joint effort is not the first time that Intel and Impinj have worked together. Since its inception, for example, Intel's RSP has relied on Impinj's Indy RS2000 Reader SiP (system-in-package) for its RFID component. What's more, the partnering companies report, Impinj specifies that its ItemSense software be run on Intel's Core i5 or i7 processors.

Intel first began marketing its RSP system to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in 2015, to make RFID deployments easier for technology providers, such as systems integrators serving the retailer sector (see Intel Unveils RFID System for Retailers).

Intel also sells the RSP product to original design manufacturers (ODMs) such as Impinj, which create their own solutions for use by integrators and retailers, according to Joe Jensen, the VP and general manager of Intel's Retail Solution Division. Intel's RFID reader is designed to be wired to an Intel Retail Gateway (which includes Intel's Quark-based Smart Antennas) that forwards data to a server. In addition, Intel offers its application programming interface (API) to enable integrators to write software to link the collected read data to a user's software.

Since the end of the first quarter of this year, 62 retailers (most of which have asked to remain unnamed) have been carrying out RFID pilots that use Intel's RSP. For many of these projects, the RSP RFID reader and gateway have been integrated with other technologies—most often video analytics—so that retailers can use both RFID tag reads and video to better understand how customers interact with products. Some of the 62 retailers, however, are using an Intel Retail Gateway but not the RSP RFID reader. For example, Brooks Brothers is utilizing Intel RealSense sensors to collect body measurements for the custom shirts it sells, and that data is managed by the Intel gateway. Another example is Nordstrom, which is using Volumental's Vandra foot scanners to measure the dimensions of a customer's foot. The foot measurements are forwarded to the Intel Retail Gateway, which then identifies that individual's shoe size.

In November 2015, Impinj released its ItemSense software (see With ItemSense, Impinj Aims to Simplify 'Always On' RFID Deployments), designed to enable Impinj partners and RFID end users to quickly and easily integrate what the company calls "Item Intelligence"—the identity, location and authenticity of everyday items—into existing and new enterprise and consumer applications. Multiple retailers have piloted ItemSense software in conjunction with Impinj's xArray RFID readers.

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