The RFID Journal LIVE! 2015 conference was held last month in San Diego, CA just about an hour away from our home office. This is probably the world’s largest and most influential conference for radio frequency identification and gave us the opportunity to talk to exhibitors and attendees on the state of RFID and upcoming products. Here are the top three trends we noticed:
RFID is becoming a bit part of the IoT
The RFID market is becoming a bit part is the Internet of Things as it provides an efficient method for organizations to get information on “things.” Many companies recognize this important trend and are starting to embed it into their own branding (e.g. Zebra). There were products targeting almost every industry imaginable including retail, apparel, vehicle tracking and food. Even more interesting was that RFID extended well beyond the US and the show even had exhibitor areas that were based on specific geographic region like South Korea.
For those unfamiliar with the term Internet of Things (IoT), it has come to represent a community of technologies that monitors physical objects, captures important information, and communicates that information to software applications. This could be anything from a thermostat in your home to a GPS vehicle tracking system for your fleet.
RFID is gaining traction in Retail
Numerous RFID vendors showed their products embedded into retail products which not only provides improved tracking, but deters counterfeiting. Examples range from alcohol to apparel (I know, from “A” to “A” but they really did cover a lot of products).
RFID Sleds are becoming very, very popular
In the past, many RFID readers were dedicated handheld computers like Motorola’s MC9190-Z. These were not only very rugged but also very expensive. There now seems to be a trend towards RFID Sleds which can hold a handheld computer or phone. In this way, RFID readers can support any of the three main OS platforms out there: Apple iOS, Microsoft Windows and Google Android. Of course, these devices are less durable, but they are also less expensive. But, then again, what other options do you have if you want an iOS-based RFID reader. The cool thing about these devices is that they not only work great but are consumer-friendly so both workers and customers won’t be intimidated by them.