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Observations from NRF's Big Show 2019, Part II

RFID companies showed off some impressive solutions, rather than just products.
By Mark Roberti
Tags: Retail
Jan 28, 2019

Read the first part of this column here.

I had the opportunity to visit the booths of most of the RFID companies exhibiting at the National Retail Federation's Big Show 2019. My key takeaway from the event was that RFID companies are finally starting to offer integrated solutions rather than just tags, readers or software. Here's a look at some of what was exhibited by those companies, in alphabetical order.

Avery Dennison: The RFID inlay and solution provider has done a remarkable job of providing tags that work on a wide variety of products, including metal cookware, cosmetics and even food you can put in a microwave oven. These tags were on full display at its booth. Avery Dennison also hosted Wiliot, which makes a passive, battery-free Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensor tag (see Wiliot Unveils Passive Bluetooth Sensor). Avery recently invested in Wiliot.

In addition, Avery was promoting its Freshmarx solution for food labeling, food safety and compliance, and RFID inventory management (see Avery Dennison Provides RFID System for Food Management). The system includes a printer for labeling food products, handheld product labels, inventory-management and temperature-tracking capabilities, and software that runs on a tablet—in other words, it's a fully integrated solution. Avery says restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores can use the Freshmarx solution to help ensure food safety, increase efficiency, save money, reduce waste and enhance the consumer experience.

Checkpoint Systems: The maker of electronic article surveillance and RFID systems showed off its HALO platform. HALO is a software and hardware solution that collects data from portal, handheld and overhead readers, then auto-generates alerts that can be sent to store associates and supply chain workers in order to improve operational efficiency and drive productivity gains. Store personnel might receive alerts on their handheld units indicating, for example, that they need to perform back-stocking, or alerts could be issued throughout the supply chain and in-store, thereby improving productivity in receiving, back-stocking and restocking high-demand products. This could help to ensure that sales aren't lost.

Impinj: The passive UHF RFID chip and reader manufacturer showed off its full array of portal and overhead readers, as well as the data they can collect and the applications they can drive. Impinj also showecased a new embedded tagging solution for fashion and sport brands, which it developed with r-pac International and TexTrace. The Woven Soft and Brand Labels, which use Impinj's Monza R6-P chip, allow an RFID transponder to be sewn directly into either a garment care label or a brand label, enabling more creative and flexible tagging options for manufacturers (see Textrace Unveils New Woven RFID Brand Label With Impinj Monza R6-P).

Sensormatic: Tyco Retail Solutions announced that it had changed its name to Sensormatic—which, of course, is the brand under which Tyco sold its EAS tags. The company showcased a variety of demonstrations illustrating how RFID can be used to locate specific items, count inventory, enable "buy online, pick up in store" (BOPIS) and "pick to the last unit," and so on. Sensormatic is now offering its TruVue software-as-a-service, and is integrating its RFID, ShopperTrak and security solutions into a unified platform for retailers.

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