RetailX Begins With RFID Journal LIVE! Retail

As the event opened this week in Chicago, RFID Journal editor Mark Roberti spoke about the growth of radio frequency identification as a business tool.
Published: June 26, 2019

This week, RFID Journal is hosting RFID Journal LIVE! Retail, its event covering radio frequency identification technologies for the retail industry, as part of the new RetailX event at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. At the opening of the event, Mark Roberti spoke about the growth of RFID as a business tool.

The conference is a partnership with the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE), the world’s largest e-commerce event, and GlobalShop, the largest event for retail design. Thus, RetailX brings together three distinct areas of expertise: e-commerce, store design and innovation with RFID.

RFID Journal’s Mark Roberti offers a presentation at RetailX.

The first RetailX session was conducted by RFID Journal LIVE! Retail, with an introduction from RFID Journal’s founder and editor, Mark Roberti, who said the adoption of radio frequency identification as a business tool, especially for the retail sector, is at a higher level. According to Roberti, companies are increasingly using RFID to control their inventory levels, as well as to ensure the authenticity of products and enhance the customer experience.

Professor Kevin Berisso, the director of the University of Memphis’s Automatic Identification Lab, was the first speaker on day one. Berisso focused on how to get things done faster and more reliably using RFID technologies. “RFID is a way of capturing data without having to use humans for it,” he told attendees, “without the mistakes humans make for it, by using radio waves. This data is embedded in the chips placed on product labels. That is, RFID is a technology that enables, multiplying the power to perform tasks if it is well applied.”

The second session of the day was presented by Roberti, who demonstrated how digital transformation depends on breaking the barriers of the real world to automatically bring to computers the information that is in the physical world. “Thus,” he said, “RFID also functions as a tool for artificial intelligence (AI).”

Another issue Roberti addressed was the controversial question of the cost of RFID compared to that of barcodes. “If working with barcodes is actually cheaper than RFID,” he asked, “why do companies count their inventories only once a year using barcodes, while those that use RFID do so more than once a month and thus maintain better control over what they have in stock?”

The University of Memphis’s Kevin Berisso

Roberti presented several success stories from companies that employ RFID not only to control their inventories but also to take full advantage of the technology, such as improving the customer experience. “All technologies have their limitations, just like RFID,” he stated, adding that the use of cameras to identify products, as has been done by the AmazonGo store, cannot solve all business problems.

During a question-and-answer session, Roberti was asked about the challenges that small retailers face in adopting RFID as a business tool. “The use of tags by manufacturers tends to be the starting point for small retailers to increasingly use RFID in their business,” he concluded.