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Intel Unveils RFID System for Retailers
Levi Strauss has been piloting the Intel Retail Sensor Platform—designed to make RFID deployments easier and provide real-time inventory data—at one of its stores.
Prior to launching the Retail Sensor Platform, the company evaluated the RFID reader and the adoption landscape. "We've looked at why RFID hasn't scaled, especially in the retail sector," Gutwein states. With RFID tags being applied to a growing number of items in order to track products in the supply chain, he notes, retailers could serve to benefit from those tags by reducing their own out-of-stocks and understanding their inventory levels onsite.
Intel determined that deployment of fixed solutions to track tagged goods within a store or back room required too much infrastructure installation for some retailers, as well as software integration. To address that issue, the firm developed a reader that uses power-over-Ethernet (PoE) and can be attached to a wall or ceiling. The readers are designed to provide "intelligence at the edge," Gutwein says, by capturing the read data and conducting pre-set analytics, such as identifying only when a tag is being moved, and then transmitting that event data back to the Intel Gateway, which manages the collected read data and forwards it to a server.
The quantity of readers per gateway could be considerably higher than the 21 installed at the Levi's Plaza store, Gutwein says, though most stores would require only a single gateway. Intel is also providing an open API that a retailer's software integrator can use to develop an RFID data-management system that could integrate into a store's existing inventory software.
"RFID is just another sensor to me," Gutwein says. Readers provide one key piece of information: where products are and where they've been. He adds that RFID data could be linked to information from other systems—such as video-based analytics regarding the movement of customer traffic, or data derived from Bluetooth beacons—to provide predictive intelligence.
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