RFID in Brazil

Last week, we held RFID Journal LIVE! Brasil in São Paulo. I must say, I was surprised by the event’s success. We got a late start organizing and marketing the conference and exhibition, due to some challenges that we needed to overcome as a foreign company operating in Brazil. But we quickly confirmed a roster of terrific end-user speakers, and within days of announcing that registration was open, people began signing up.

We had nearly 400 attendees, which was a great turnout for a first-time event. The audience was skewed a little toward solutions providers and systems integrators, but there were also some interesting end users, including Adidas, Bosch, the Brazilian Air Force, the Brazilian Army, the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE), the Cancer Institute of São Paulo, Continental Automotive Group, DXD Trade Labels and Cosmetics, Hope Lingerie, Lojas Renner, Mclane do Brasil, Brazil’s Ministry of Health, Petrobras, Phelps Dodge International Corp., Renault, the Santos Football Club, and Thomas Greg & Sons.

RFID’s adoption level in Brazil currently lags behind that of the United States and Europe, but there are some major projects going on in the country. Hewlett-Packard Brasil is the only firm to win two RFID Journal Awards. The company won in 2007 for its system of tracking printer production, and it also won this year’s Green Award for a printer-recycling application (see Extracting New Value From Old Printers and Keeping Tabs on Printers). HP continues to be one of the global leaders in deploying RFID internally to improve its operations.

Petrobras, the third-largest energy company in the world, has introduced the “Gas Station of the Future” in Brazil, to deliver a more personalized experience at the pump. When a customer drives up to the station, his or her car is recognized by its license plate or an RFID tag. Digital signage at the pump subsequently plays personalized advertising based on consumer preferences and profiles entered into the customer rewards program. A multi-purpose interactive kiosk displays the latest items at the convenience store, provides maintenance services and allows patrons to print directions to desired destinations.The Brazilian Army has equipped a military logistics center with EPC Gen 2 technology, as part of a program to increase the efficiency, accuracy and visibility of distributing supplies to soldiers (see RFID Improves Supply Management for Brazil’s Army, Air Force). Goods arrive at the distribution facility directly from vendors, and are then shipped to units and soldiers throughout the country. Suppliers are tagging products with EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags, and when tagged items are unloaded from trucks at the logistics center, the tags are read while passing through an RFID portal, thereby indicating that those goods were received. The system has increased the military’s supply chain efficiency.

The Brazilian Air Force has automated inventory management with a robotic stacker that moves on rails. The solution can store up to 5,000 separate boxes containing the uniforms for officers and graduates. This groundbreaking system identifies tagged boxes of uniforms as they are put away in a specific location. The system can then locate a particular box and retrieve it without any errors. The system has reduced the amount of time employees spend locating and sorting uniforms by a third.

In addition, Brazilian retailers are embracing RFID. Valdac Group, a São Paulo-based fashion retailer operating more than 100 stores throughout the nation, including its Crawford and Siberian chains, is using RFID to streamline operations, reduce employee and process costs, track and monitor inventory, and provide insight into sales trends (see Brazil’s Valdac Turns to RFID for Style and Savings). Last year, the firm launched a new retail brand, Memove, that featured RFID-based point-of-sale systems, enabling shoppers to quickly complete purchases without interacting with a shop assistant.

These and other case studies presented at LIVE! Brasil will, no doubt, inspire other Brazilian companies and organizations to adopt RFID. I’m sure some of those in the audience this year will be on stage next year, and before long, I believe, Brazil will be among the leaders in utilizing the technology to drive business value.

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.