Nov 11, 2013Last week, RFID Journal hosted its second annual RFID Journal LIVE! Brasil conference and exhibition in São Paulo. The event drew 375 attendees, slightly down from the 400 we had in 2012—due, perhaps, to the fact that Brazil's economy is not as strong now as it was a year ago. But slower economic growth might also encourage companies to become more serious about deploying radio frequency identification technologies. I heard from numerous exhibitors that the current and potential end users they met had specific projects in mind and were serious about investing in RFID to improve efficiencies.
We showcased some great RFID projects during the conference. Veiling Holambra, the largest distributor of flowers and plants in Latin America, explained how it is employing RFID to identify and track returnable assets (see Veiling Holambra, a Major Latin American Horticultural Supplier, Adopts RFID and HP, Veiling Holambra, Duratex, TEVEC Metodologias to Speak at LIVE! Brasil). Deca, one of Brazil's largest ceramic and metal-fitting providers, presented a case study on how it is using RFID to monitor the movements of products between its manufacturing units and processors.
MAN, one of the largest truck manufacturers in the world, discussed how it is employing RFID to track returnable containers and racks used to transport parts. TEVEC, a logistics technology provider, showed how it is employing RFID-based technology, coupled with thermodynamic models and data-analytics tools, to enhance traceability and reliability in the supply chain. And Vale, a large mining firm, revealed how it utilizes RFID to control and monitor Certificates of Occupational Health and Instruction Requirements for Critical Activities, in order to improve safety and meet standards.
I heard about a lot of other great projects that have yet to be made public, including several retail initiatives with large Brazilian companies. A representative from TCG, one of our exhibitors, told me his firm has deployed an RFID system for a Brazilian company that is already tracking 10 million documents. And ITS-RFID has developed a solution for tracking explosives, which it has deployed for several large manufacturers.
In addition, some of the solutions I saw were exciting. Hewlett-Packard Brasil, for example, had several demonstrations at its booth. One involved a smart cabinet that makes it easier for retailers to see which ink cartridges need to be replenished. Another showed a case of 60 ink cartridges, each containing a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) EPC RFID tag, which was interrogated as the cartridge passed through a tunnel reader. And a third showed an automated system for reading tags on a pallet of 72 printers.
What impressed me about the HP demo was that in each case, the data collected from the tag reads was being uploaded to the cloud and then displayed within a second or two on a tablet computer. Hewlett-Packard plans to develop tools that can run on top of this infrastructure, which would allow end users to build customized solutions. For instance, a customer could create a shipping application that compares orders against actual tag reads, and alerts a worker via text message if the order is incorrect. Other businesses have ported their solutions to the cloud, but I am unaware of any company offering the level of customization that HP intends to provide.
I left the event convinced that Brazil, before long, will become one of the world's largest markets for radio frequency identification. I look forward to next year's event.
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.