Major Announcements Have AIDC Industry Talking
Zebra Wows with News of Motorola Solutions Acquisition
Most of the AIDC industry is still abuzz with the latest news from Zebra as they announced earlier this week their intention to acquire Motorola Solutions’ enterprise business. The cash deal, estimated to be $3.45 billion, is sure to be an industry milestone and have monumental, but as yet untold, impact on the future of the AIDC.
Zebra CEO Anders Gustafsson said in a statement, "This acquisition will transform Zebra into a leading provider of solutions that deliver greater intelligence and insights into our customers’ enterprises and extended value chains,” allowing Zebra to leverage the "accelerating convergence of mobility, data analytics and cloud computing.”
Despite some industry rumblings, Motorola downplayed this move was the result of sluggish business. In a message shared with employees and stakeholders, Greg Brown, Chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions, indicated that following a recent strategic review of their current government and enterprise businesses it was determined that the synergies between the respective businesses were not as great as the value that could be created by having each focus on its core markets. The decision to sell the enterprise business will allow Motorola Solutions the ability to focus on the government business, while providing a "bright future” for the enterprise business as a part of Zebra.
Reports from Zebra and Motorola indicate that while Zebra had sales of $1 billion in 2013, the combined companies would have had pro-forma sales of approximately $3.5 billion in 2013. It is anticipated that just over 4,000 Motorola employees will join Zebra as part of the transaction, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2014, pending regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
Stay tuned for the latest as we watch this story unfold!
AIM & Industry Leaders Launch RAIN RFID Alliance to Champion UHF EPC RFID Adoption
Zebra and Motorola aren’t the only ones causing a buzz within the AIDC industry! Making its formal debut at last week’s RFID Journal LIVE! was the newly formed RAIN RFID Alliance (RAIN), a partnership created to promote UHF EPC RFID adoption.
Founding Alliance members, Google, Impinj, Intel and Smartrac have joined AIM in this effort, focused on driving deployment of UHF RFID through education, testing and support of technology developers and end users.
RAIN, which stands for RAdio-frequency IdentificatioN, symbolizes the synergy between UHF RFID and the cloud as well as the infinite presence of UHF RFID tags and applications. The idea of an alliance was conceived following standards organization GS1’s ratification of the UHF Gen 2 V2 standard in late 2013, which founding members believe signified both maturity in the UHF market as well as at the exponential growth of item-level UHF RFID tagging for the retail sector. Believing the UHF market was ready for an industry alliance that can deliver a consistent and focused message about the benefits of RFID, the group intends to begin recruiting new members to its ranks including both RFID vendors and users of the technology.
RAIN will have a board comprised of six members – one AIM liaison, four elected directors and a president. Chris Diorio of Impinj has been elected the first Chairman of the RAIN Board and Steve Halliday will serve as President.
"Establishing RAIN as an AIM alliance represents the next step in AIM’s support for the AIDC industry for more than 40 years,” said Chuck Evanhoe, Chairman of AIM, Inc. "As a group, especially with such strong support from Google, Impinj, Intel and Smartrac, we will positively impact the future success of UHF RFID innovation around the globe as well as represent the AIDC industry with a focused, unified voice that will undoubtedly impact UHF RFID awareness and adoption.”
The Alliance will begin accepting members immediately, and expects steady growth by offering a variety of membership benefits including industry research, education, promotion, and services that connect industry members and end users. Alliance members will also be able to use the RAIN logo and brand.
To learn more about the RAIN RFID Alliance, visit www.rainrfid.org.
What's Dominating UHF Today?
Making an Impact in RFID Market Trends
Ann Grackin, CEO – ChainLink Research
There is no argument today about the impact that retail/apparel has on the passive UHF market. Estimates vary on apparel’s share, but it hovers around 70% to 80% of the total UHF market. And that includes only about 2% of the apparel items sold. In a recent study of RFID use among retailers, the retailers indicated an interest in expanding their use of RFID in apparel. The forecast for retail is about 40% growth rate just in apparel use over the next few years.
Out of the potential trillions of items that get sold every year, estimates were that only 3-4 billion were tagged in 2013. That indicates – if you are an optimist – an exciting future for ‘tagging the world.’ If you are a pessimist, that is a puny number and it may appear that RFID will never attain the penetration needed for long-term rewards. Forecasted growth of UHF RFID overall is estimated to be about 35% YOY. The chart shown here is designed to represent retail share of UHF, and emphasizes that an organization depending on retail apparel alone won’t get us to a sustained profitable market. We also need other categories to attain the same mass market characteristics as apparel in order to really see a profitable market of size.
What is the mass market for UHF?
Mass market for RFID ultimately means a credible value proposition and high volume use cases. Mass market characteristics mean that we can easily produce a low-cost tag that can predictably be read in many environments. Additionally RFID is easy and cost affordable to instrument across the entire process, relying on other entities—trading partners, service providers—to achieve similar performance. Simply stated the market has to deliver price/performance!
So…what has to happen for other categories to grow?
The world of things is a pretty big place, and some things are just more interesting than others. For a decade, the industry has been coaxing out the things that might make good targets. Yet these markets – cold/perishables, pharmaceuticals, electronics, equipment, maintained parts, etc. – currently represent the low-end growth of the RFID market. It’s not that these things or the use cases surrounding them such as anti-counterfeiting, product protection, or inventory management aren’t important. It’s just that the price performance issues are not yet solved. That is the challenge. The industry has plenty of realistic custom designs that work. However, the price does not match the characteristic we have in apparel. Once we can solve that, RFID will have a profitable future.
Ann Grackin has been on the frontlines of Supply Chain Management technology and the eCommerce frontier, leading global strategy and technology implementations for leading Fortune 500 firms with assignments in Asia, Europe and North America in the high technology, semiconductor, automotive, textile, and apparel industries for more than two decades. A popular speaker and respected author, she has been featured in a variety of publications, including Forbes, Information Week, CIO Magazine and The Boston Globe. As CEO of ChainLink Research, Ms. Grackin and her team advise clients on innovation and transformation to achieve dramatic improvements in business performance. For more on RFID research, browse ChainLink’s RFID research library or contact Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cultivating RFID Innovation for a "Wine-ing” Combination
HID Global – Bodega Norton Project Named 2014 RFID Case Study Competition Winner
So often wine connoisseurs – not to mention those of us who have yet to reach that lofty status, but still have a passion for wine – focus so much on the vintage or the bouquet, we can easily forget that great wine is the result of valuable RFID technology.
That’s right --- RFID technology! Just ask the recipient of AIM’s 2014 RFID Case Study Competition, HID Global that demonstrated the value of RFID technology to enhance and streamline logistics for Bodega Norton, a renowned winery in Argentina.
The challenge faced by Bodega Norton Winery, one of Argentina’s leading vintners with a history that spans more than a century producing internationally acclaimed wines, was to automate the vineyard’s harvest tracking and payment system without fundamentally changing the underlying grape-gathering process, which depends on hand picking to ensure the best possible wine.
A decades-old manual payment tracking system was cumbersome for management and employees, alike. Harvesters collected physical chips for each bin they filled, redeeming them at the end of each work week to be paid their wages. Chips were often lost, and the task of collecting, counting and processing them was a difficult and error-prone paper-based process.
HID Global in partnership with system integrator Fundación Ada Byron (FAB), introduced 21st century expertise with a solution that provided each harvester an armband equipped with a unique HID Global contactless card, tagged grape collection bins with HID Epoxy Disc tags and outfitted vineyard supervisors with NFC-enabled smartphones. The system enabled vineyard supervisors to simply place their smartphone next to the harvester’s armband triggering an audible beep that assures both the harvester and supervisor that the collection bin has been counted and credited to the appropriate harvester.
The immediate increase in efficiency and its impact was significant. What for decades required a full day to collect chips and pay workers is gone. Today, Bodega Norton harvesters and supervisors devote that day to gathering grapes and the winery also discovered another advantage – the new system generates more detailed, real-time information that can be used to guide better management decisions!
Marc Bielmann, vice president of Identification Technology with HID Global, spoke on behalf of his company. "HID Global is pleased to be recognized by one of the most prestigious and influential organizations in the industry for our cutting edge expertise and innovative solutions as exemplified by their use at Bodega Norton Winery. This honor validates our industry leadership and reinforces the value of working with our trusted partners to deliver customized solutions that meet the unique needs of our customers.”
AIM is pleased to honor HID Global for their efforts. The 2014 RFID Case Study Competition Award was presented by Don Ertel, Chair of the RFID Experts Group (REG) to the HID Global team during RFID Journal LIVE! this past week in Orlando.
So…next time you’re browsing the South American aisle of your local wine emporium, or enjoying a bottle with dinner, remember to think of HID Global! Cheers!!
To access complete details about HID Global’s winning submission, download the entire case study or view the project video.
It’s Hot…Digital Marketing Has the Sizzle
Cindy Neky, Principal - Marketing Pathways
What are the hottest ways to market a business? If your guess is Social Media and Email Marketing – both vital components to digital marketing – you’re right. Do you use these powerful forms of marketing?
More than any other type of marketing, the use of digital is exploding. Digital Marketing is any online/internet marketing and a variety of technology based marketing forms. It includes Search Engine Optimization, E-commerce, Web sites, text/mobile, Social Media and Email Marketing. Many businesses have found success in the digital world. Initially, due to the low cost of digital, organizations began testing the water one toe at a time. After stories started popping up detailing positive results with digital, more companies jumped in the water. The Digital Marketing boom was born!
Have you identified the best Digital Marketing platforms for your business? A survey, conducted primarily of small to medium size businesses, found the top four most popular marketing channels for B2B are all digital. Websites are the most utilized platform, used by 85% of respondents, Email Marketing is second at 72%, followed by Social Media at 67%, and Search Engine Optimization at 56%.*
This is where the sizzle comes in. Over time, digital marketing has become an exciting way to market a business. Strong content, creative ideas, helpful analytics, not to mention great results, all combine to form the fastest growing form of marketing. Every year more and more businesses jump into Digital Marketing than any other type of marketing.
Be aware, however, Digital Marketing isn’t always a slam dunk for success. One of the greatest pitfalls is that so many organizations find themselves focusing on tactics rather than developing a well thought out strategy beforehand. All the things we would normally do prior to instituting a marketing campaign seem to fly out the window with digital. Why? Because everyone believes it’s easy, especially social media.
It can be, but starting with a firm understanding of the forms of digital marketing your target market is using is the key. Then create a well-crafted marketing plan. Social Media and Email Marketing are the primary tools for selling in today’s marketplace. Want to sell more ID equipment, systems, supplies or service? Then develop a strategy, make the commitment and grow your business through Digital Marketing!
*Source: Sagefrog Marketing Group | 2013 B2B Mix Marketing Survey Results |September 18, 2013
Cindy Neky is a Marketing and Public Relations Consultant, Certified Social Media Strategist, Constant Contact Authorized Local Expert and Speaker. With over 25 years’ experience, her consulting firm, Marketing Pathways provides a wide range of Digital Marketing solutions including assistance with Social Media, Email Marketing, Blog and Strategic Online Marketing services. To learn more about how digital marketing and social media can impact your business, connect with Marketing Pathways here or contact Cindy at CNeky@MarketingPathways.com.
Meet the New Faces at AIM
AIMatters would like to introduce two new staff members in the AIM family! Both have already hit the ground running and will undoubtedly prove to be great assets to the organization. Welcome!!!
Jayne Gaston is AIM’s Member Relations Coordinator. In that role, she will offer facilitation, technical, and logistical services to AIM committees and members, as well as coordinate updates to AIM Forums.
Jayne is a native of Connecticut who relocated to the region after finishing her degree in Education at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She resides in Pittsburgh’s Green Tree neighborhood with husband Michael and baby daughter Sylvia. Prior to joining AIM, Jayne worked in the hospitality and customer service industries and is rapidly becoming an expert in AIDC terminology and acronyms!!
Those who participate in the IoT, REG and TSC committees have already "met” Jayne during teleconferences and many will get to meet her in person next week in Chicago. Contact Jayne at email@example.com.
Doug Hall has joined AIM as Business Development Director. In this capacity, he will be responsible for representing AIM within the AIDC industry to help grow the association and implement AIM's strategic growth plan as outlined by the AIM and AIM North America Boards.
Well recognized by AIM members and industry professionals, Doug has 35 years of experience as a business executive, consultant and facilitator with roots in the IT and AIDC industries. Currently, as a Principal at CEO Focus, he works with client companies driving both strategic business plans and tactical execution. His experience includes general management, sales, sales management, product marketing and go-to-market strategies in industrial, commercial and government markets.
Doug, the father of three adult children, is an avid golfer, hiker and snow skier. He earned a BS in Economics and Business Administration from University of North Carolina-Greensboro and resides in the Seattle metro area. Contact Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Lou Bosco, AIM Chief Operating Officer
Jayne Gaston, AIM Member Relations Coordinator
This regular feature in AIMatters is designed to keep you up-to-date on the work of the various committees within the association. All AIM members are eligible to join committees and we encourage every member to participate in the great work being done to enhance and support our industry.
Most of the committees have an area of the AIM Forum where you can read the minutes of the meetings and review the work in progress as well as work that has been completed.
To receive information specific to a committee’s work, offer ideas for new topics or projects, or get involved with a committee, contact AIM Committee Connection today.
In this issue, we’re also extending a welcome to the new Committee Chairs for 2014!
AIT Alliance (AIT)
AIM North America
2014 Chair – Bob Fudge, Evanhoe & Associates
Formerly UID Suppliers Alliance (USA)
With its "new” look, this committee intends to take on an expanded role in AIDC industry advocacy within government and regulatory organizations as the AIT Alliance. The Alliance will focus on all aspects of automatic identification technology (AIT), allowing its efforts to reach a broader audience within government, Congressional and corporate organizations. Following the formal launch of the AIT this month, the group has plans underway for delegations representing Alliance members to visit with key legislative members in Washington, D.C. and states where Alliance companies impact business. To read more about this exciting change, visit AIT Alliance. Individuals interested in joining the Alliance’s efforts are encouraged to email AIT Alliance for membership details.
AIM North America
2014 Chair – Ardi Batmangheldj, Innovatum
Formerly Unique Device Identification (UDI)
Since re-launching earlier this year, Healthcare Committee members have been busy making new connections aligned with their expanded focus. The committee will have representatives speaking later this month in Arlington, VA (Medical Device & Diagnostic Labeling Conference). as well as next month in Baltimore, MD (UDI Implementation Workshop). Work is also underway to update the committee’s website and marketing materials. To learn more, connect with AIM NA Healthcare Committee.
Internet of Things (IoT)
2014 Chair – Denis Bishop, Lowry
As the IoT Committee embarks on 2014, the committee members are in the process of wrapping up several projects. These projects include the Matrix of IoT applications, IoT presentations, and several scintillating white papers. Together, the committee members are pooling their resources to create a solid knowledge base for the concept and application of IoT in today’s world. While they do this, they are also striving to make concepts accessible to the public. Projects including webinars, PowerPoint presentations, and informative podcasts are on the horizon for the IoT Committee this coming spring. White papers will include topics ranging from IoT in the world of Education and IoT in the Automotive arena. You can check out these and other IoT related projects at AIM Internet of Things Committee.
RFID Experts Group (REG)
2014 Chair – Don Ertel, CDO Technologies
The REG continues work on many compelling projects and fascinating presentations. These include:
The Effect of RFID in the Healthcare Environment
This group has been working closely with its members from Met Labs, the FDA, and several universities to bring its test protocol document to a finish. They hope to produce it for public review later this spring. The work group is also continuing its work on a bibliographical reference document that will aid in finding information relating to RFID in the healthcare environment.
The Effect of RFID on Explosives and Explosive Environments
This work group has been working on a fascinating technical paper pertaining to the hazards of using RFID near and around explosive environments and work sites where explosives may be present. The document discusses the details concerning safety issues and protocol and contains useful information for both the general public and those working closely with RFID.
Compelling new white papers and projects are in the near future for the REG Active Tagging workgroup. The group’s members are currently collaborating and discussing some exciting new trends in RFID. In addition to compiling a list of hot topics, the group is busy at work on the AIM Active RFID webpage. This webpage should be up and running in the early spring!
Data Content of RFID
This workgroup is continuing its progress on a guidelines document that will allow new users of RFID to be aware of the various options in encoding data and information on a tag. This document is meant to be used in explaining the concept of unique identification and how this is attained.
Check out other opportunities at AIM REG Committee.
Technical Symbology Committee (TSC)
2014 Chair – Kevin Berisso, University of Memphis
The TSC Committee has been busy in the new year! Projects such as Color Ultracode and the Han Xin Code are nearly completed. The TSC continues its work to update and refine standards while also serving its participating companies by providing expertise and knowledge in the realm of decoding algorithms and symbology design. For more information, visit AIM Technical Symbology Committee.
Items of interest & value for AIM members
Welcome New Members!!!
We’re pleased to welcome these new members to the AIM family!
Thanks to all the AIM members who made referrals! If you know an individual or organization that would benefit from being part of AIM’s global network, make an introduction or contact AIM Membership to refer a candidate.
Hail to the Chief!
Congratulations to Jane Yallum, former staffer and longtime AIM collaborator on her election as President of the AIDC 100! Jane has been a member of the AIDC 100 for more than a decade and has served on the organization’s Leadership Council for many years. She is the Managing Partner of The Clarion Group, Inc.
Please join AIM in extending our heartfelt congratulations to Rick Schuessler on his retirement from Motorola!! Rick has been a leader in the AIDC industry for more years than we can count and instrumental in the development of standards and technologies which have shaped the AIDC industry for the past several decades. During his many years of service to AIM, Rick has been active in the TSC, REG and on the AIM Board. He has been a valuable asset to AIM members as well as the AIDC industry worldwide. We wish him the best the future has to offer and hope he’ll remain a part of the AIM family for many years to come.
Industry Event Partnerships
AIM is pleased to partner with leading industry events in the coming months. Check out these options to connect and increase recognition for your organization!
Medical Device & Diagnostic Labeling Conference
April 28-29, 2014
Channel Transitions – VAR/MSP Executive Conference
April 29, 2014 – Santa Ana, CA
July 22, 2014 – Boston, MA
UDI Implementation Workshop
May 20-22, 2014
GS1 Connect 2014
June 9-12, 2014
San Diego, CA
June 10-12, 2014
New York, NY
Save the Date - 2014 AIM Summit
Join fellow AIM members from around the globe on Monday, September 8th in Washington, D.C. for this year’s event… Mark your calendar now and watch for details!!!
Check out the wealth of knowledge at the AIM Store!!
Want to keep abreast of the latest trends in the AIDC world, or maybe learn something new? The AIM Store has exactly what you’ll need. From Specifications and Standards to White Papers and Presentations/Webinars, the best resource is right at your fingertips. Even better – many of the items are FREE to AIM Members!! It’s a win-win! Shop the AIM Store today!!
Happenings will be a regular feature of AIMatters. If you have an item of interest or want to share news or recognition highlights from your organization, just submit your information to AIMatters – Happenings.