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RFID News Roundup

Zebra reveals field operations study results ••• Mühlbauer, PragmatIC announce partnership to provide RFID manufacturing solutions ••• NeWave Sensor Solutions, Smart Label Solutions recognized by Retail CIO Outlook ••• iDTRONIC intros HF-NFC RFID panel reader ••• Teslonix seeks commercialization partners for distributed RFID reader system ••• Semtech announces LoRa cloud geolocation service ••• Accruent, Tridium form IoT partnership for real estate, facilities lifecycle management.
By Rich Handley
Mar 21, 2019

Presented here are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Zebra Technologies; Mühlbauer, PragmatIC; NeWave Sensor Solutions, Smart Label Solutions; iDTRONIC; Teslonix; Semtech; Accruent, and Tridium.

Zebra Reveals Field Operations Study Results

Zebra Technologies has announced the results of its latest vision study, "The Future of Field Operations." The study reveals mobile technology investment is a top priority for 36 percent of organizations and a growing priority for an additional 58 percent, to keep up with rapidly evolving and increasing customer demand. The findings indicate investments will be made in disruptive technologies and enterprise mobile devices to enhance front-line worker productivity and customer satisfaction in field operations, including fleet management, field services, proof of delivery and direct store delivery workflows.

"Driven by the acceleration of e-commerce, along with customers' heightened expectations and more focus within companies on differentiating service levels, the field operations industry is rapidly adapting the way it looks at its mobile technology investments," said Jim Hilton, Zebra's director of vertical marketing strategy for manufacturing, transportation and logistics, in a prepared statement. "Our study shows how growing challenges related to the on-demand economy drive organizations to adopt transformative, disruptive technologies such as augmented reality and intelligent labels to provide visibility and integrate business intelligence for a performance edge."

The survey shows only one-fifth of organizations have a majority of their field-based operations using enterprise mobile devices. This number is estimated to reach 50 percent within five years, the company reports. Respondents indicated most organizations intend to invest in handheld mobile computers, mobile printers and rugged tablets. From 2018 to 2023, handheld mobile computer usage with built-in bar-code scanners is forecasted to grow by 45 percent, mobile printers by 53 percent and rugged tablets by 54 percent. The higher levels of inventory, shipment and asset accuracy provided by these devices is expected to increase business revenues, according to the study.

A key driver of productivity, efficiency and cost-savings in field operations is ensuring ruggedized enterprise devices replace traditional consumer models. Nearly 80 percent of respondents said they usually or always conduct a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis of business devices prior to making a capital expenditure, while 32 percent said they believe consumer smartphones have better TCO than rugged devices. The survey reveals these TCO considerations when investing in new front-line enterprise technology: replacement (47 percent), initial device (44 percent), application development (44 percent) and programming/IT (40 percent).

Almost 40 percent of respondents said device management and support costs are important, along with customer service (37 percent), device lifecycle cadence (36 percent) and repair costs (35 percent). Such factors increasingly influence the purchase cycle, showing that those who do not provide clear value or cannot control these costs will quickly be overtaken by those who do. Seven in ten organizations said they agree that faster mobile networks will be a key driver for field operations investment to enable the use of disruptive technology.

Anticipated industry game-changers will be droids and drones, with more than a third of decision makers citing them as the biggest disruptors. The use of smart technologies, such as sensors, RFID and intelligent labels, also play a role in transforming the industry, the study indicates. More than a quarter of respondents continue to view augmented or virtual reality (29 percent), sensors (28 percent), RFID and intelligent labels (28 percent), and truck loading automation (28 percent) as disruptive factors.

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