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NeWave Sensor Solutions Unveils Smart Shelf to Track High-Volume, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods

The system uses RFID-enabled shelf dispensers, eliminating the need to tag individual items, and related costs.
By Beth Bacheldor

A typical four-foot-wide shelf system would utilize four Wave antennas, a single RFID reader, RF cables, a Smart Shelf controller, shelf dispensers and spacers, and the RFID tags. The controller, a network appliance, is used to configure and manage the Smart Shelf technology and RFID reader. NeWave partners with various RFID equipment manufacturers for the components, and builds all of the systems in-house to complete a Smart Shelf.

The Smart Shelf solution automates the tracking of inventory and asset locations, thereby eliminating the manual counting of items, while also improving record accuracy. The system reduces labor costs and increases customer satisfaction, the company reports, by reducing the incidence of out-of-stocks, and also provides increased security for high-theft items.

Because the items are not individually tagged, the firm notes, consumers who feel that an RFID-tagged item poses a potential privacy risk need not be concerned. And other than a minimal metal foil cost for some items, there are no recurring expenses—just a one-time cost associated with the tagged dispenser trays, the reader and the antennas.

The NeWave Smart Shelf system detects and records items removed from the shelf. It also issues alerts—customized to trigger based on criteria set by the retailer for low-inventory limits—which can be sent as e-mails or text messages, or be announced over a public-address system. The Smart Shelf Web-based software provides graphical displays, out-of-stock reports, historical data and more. Users can view the information via a Web browser running on a PC, smartphone or tablet, after logging on to the hosted app. The Smart Shelf system can run in a closed loop, or be integrated with a variety of retail systems, via open application programming interfaces (APIs).

What's more, the solution can be integrated with a closed-circuit television (CCTV), and thus be used to protect against shoplifting and more organized retail crime, which typically involves a person swiping a large volume of products from a shelf simultaneously. In the event that this occurs, the Smart Shelf can trigger an alarm on the CCTV to capture video in that area, which can be automatically delivered to a tablet to alert personnel to a possible theft.

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