Winners From This Year’s RFID Big Event Reveal Where Adoption Is Accelerating

The who’s who of the RFID industry recently gathered in Orlando, Florida for the 12th Annual RFID Journal Awards. These awards pay homage to both new and enhanced products and the innovative use of RFID-related technology across a number of categories from all over the globe. The goal is to recognise excellence and foster shared-learning about the benefits arising from the adoption of auto-ID technology and connected, internet-enabled systems. Winners from last year’s awards program included the likes of Lululemon Athletica, Honda Delta Air Lines Identiv and more. This year’s winners were selected in six different segments and chosen from a field 28 finalists.

Best Retail RFID Implementation

VISA, for its use of RFID to pioneer seamless, contactless and cashier-free checkout experiences – aka Visa payWave. Other finalists in this segment included fashion brand River Island, who had deployed RFID to improve visibility, product availability and combat loss in today’s omni-channel retail environment. Prior to implementation, stocktakes would be conducted annually, but within as little as 6 – 8 weeks inventory data would be inaccurate, impacting revenues. Post implementation, counts were able to be done faster at more frequent intervals which in turn drove stock count accuracy, and ultimately product sales, higher.

Best Manufacturing RFID Implementation

General Motors for its use of RFID to transform the way it tracks the tools that are used to make auto parts. Thousands of parts are manufactured for each vehicle using tens of thousands of vendor tools – items that have been manually tracked by GM’s 3,000+ suppliers at their own production facilities. Each tool has a lifecycle of about 20 years so managing this massive database was an enormously resource-intensive task for GM and its suppliers. GM opted for an infrastructure-light Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tagging technology and smartphone mobile application. Inventory checks that used to take days and weeks can now be accomplished in a matter of hours and all without the installation of extensive, expensive RFID reader infrastructure.

Best Logistics/Supply Chain RFID Implementation

Ternium, a leading steel producer in South America, for its use of RFID to track trucks and vehicles that interact with inventory to automate and optimize the dispatch process. Other finalists in this category included Daimler, producer of premium Mercedes Benz cars and trucks, who is using RFID technology in combination with an autonomous flying drone, as an alternative to fixed RFID gates at the warehouse entrance, to bring greater accuracy to inventory counts. We wrote about another novel RFID-drone implementation here.

Best Health-Care RFID Implementation

The Adana Integrated Health Campus Project, Turkey’s first public-private hospital partnership, for its comprehensive use of active and passive RFID technology for the management of fixed and mobile assets and inventory, an RFID zonal-tracking system, a real-time personnel tracking system and an environmental-monitoring system for food assets.

Other finalists in this segment included the St. James’s Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, who is using RFID technology to identify and track the location of people and assets on their journey through the hospital. The technology is also being used to monitors the locations of patient samples (biopsy tissues) taken during theatre and sent to the lab for analysis. Relevant personnel are alerted via SMS and e-mail if samples do not arrive by a specified time. Following the trial, the facility extended the use of RFID to track fine art, wheelchairs and vulnerable patients.

Best RFID Implementation (Other Industry)

Codelco, a Chilean state owned copper mining company, for its use of RFID to improve visibility of the amount, rate and quality of ore extracted at El Teniente, the world’s largest underground copper mine in the Andes mountain range. Following a highly-publicised mine collapse at a neighbouring minesite in 2010 where more than 30 workers were trapped for 69 days, miners have looked for ways to improve the safe extraction of copper – as the removal of too much ore in one specific area can lead to weak spots and a collapse. Now With RFID, Codelco has deeper insight into where ore is being mined, and how fast this is occurring, so they can make better decisions around productivity and safety.

Best Use of RFID to Enhance a Product or Service

Information Mediary, a Canadian manufacturing of smart packaging for medicines, for its use of NFC technology in its Med-ic smart syringe pack that tracks when medication is removed by the patient – and more importantly, when it is not. The application also logs injection points, and lets the patient know if there has been a breech in temperature. The package connects via NFC-enabled smartphone and package status and item/dose history is stored in a secure cloud database.

Other finalists in this segment included high-performance blender manufacturer, Vitamix who created quite a stir – pardon the pun – with its built-in NFC technology. In short, the Vitamix base unit detects a tag that has been embedded in the jug and, based on this, automatically changes multiple operating parameters (as many as 140), making operation faster, easier, safer and just plain smarter. For example, unless the correct jug is in place, the blender’s soup program (which results in heat being generated from the friction of the powerful blades) will be disabled. It also ensures that only approved containers are used, protecting the Vitamix brand and sales as well as improving warranty management.

Best New Product

Bluvision, which is part of HID Global, for its tamper-evident BLE beacon system for real-time location services and condition monitoring. It can help users track the temperature, motion and vibration of vending machines, HVAC systems, equipment and motorised machinery to help determine the health and performance for better data-driven maintenance decisions.

We’ll continue to dig deeper into a few more stories like this over the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about how Relegen can support your next RFID asset tracking project, please reach out to us on +61 (0)2 9998 9000 or Leverage our proprietary enterprise asset intelligence platform, secure item serialisation technology, independent RFID advice, and extensive Defence and industry experience for your business application today.