The Future is Now!
How 2014 Developments Will Impact the AIDC Industry
John Burnell, Principal – Burnell Reports
In the Chinese New Year, 2014 is the Year of the Horse. In the AIDC and mobility industry, 2014 may well be the Year of the Item.
Much of the market activity and new opportunities that will emerge in 2014 relate to increased information sharing at the item level. These include a ramp up in medical device and drug tracking resulting from separate U.S. federal government regulations enacted in 2013, expansion of familiar retail and aerospace RFID programs, the growing Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem and even Walmart’s significant new compliance labeling program for produce, which tracks to the lot but not item level.
Many of these developments will take time, but some will have an immediate impact in 2014. All produce shipments arriving at Walmart or Sam’s Club stores after the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2013 will be required to have a Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) compliant case label. Starting September 14, 2014, all pacemakers and other Class III (high risk) medical devices sold in the U.S. will need to bear a Unique Device Identifier (UDI) and be registered in the FDA’s GUDID database. Throughout the year, aerospace suppliers will greatly increase their RFID tagging in response to new priorities at Airbus and Boeing.
2014 will also likely see the introduction of the first RFID products built to GS1’s new EPC Gen 2v2 standard, which has several features specifically to support item-level applications. The opportunities and requirements for supply chain pharmaceutical tracking will also gain great clarity during the year as the industry digests the Drug Supply Chain Security Act that was signed into law in November 2013. It requires Data Matrix barcodes on drug packaging plus 2D or linear symbols at the case level. The law could be a significant catalyst for AIDC adoption in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries because it goes beyond ID labeling and requires AIDC equipment to be in place throughout the supply chain. However, the impact will not be immediate because implementation is scheduled to be phased in over 10 years.
These and other developments will result in the AIDC and mobility world looking much different a few years from now than it does today.
Just how different will the market look in a few years as a result of developments in 2013-14?
In the U.S. it will be illegal to sell prescription drugs that don’t have a Data Matrix at the item level. Most life vests used on commercial airplanes will have an RFID tag. All FDA-regulated medical devices will have a machine-readable identifier and be logged in a traceability database. Untold numbers of consumer goods will have RFID tags, as nearly half of large retailers are considering replacing their electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems intelligent RFID solutions in their next upgrade. Billions of other tools, equipment and assets will also carry unique identifiers so they can connect and share information through machine-to-machine (M2M) networks and the Internet of Things (IoT), which is expected to have tens of billions of nodes.
The growing momentum to identify and track items at the individual level will be a factor in the evolution of the mobility side of the market. Pallets, cases and other aggregate-level packages are commonly processed with stationary readers and material handling equipment. When item-level barcodes or RFID tags are read, it is often by a mobile device. The trend toward more item-level identification will produce more need for automated data collection capabilities in handheld devices. However, the demand may not be met by traditional devices because of the way the market is changing.
In 2012, Delta Air Lines purchased 19,000 Nokia Lumia smartphones for its flight attendants to use to manage passenger purchases in-flight, and followed up by ordering 11,000 Microsoft Surface 2 tablet computers for its pilots to use in cockpit operations. Not long ago, these orders likely would have gone to a company specializing in ruggedized devices with integrated data collection capabilities.
Delta provides just one example of how the line between enterprise and consumer devices continues to blur. VDC Research documented this development and found that sales of rugged, mobile computers – the types that were at the heart of the traditional AIDC industry – declined in 2013, and forecasts the market segment will shrink again in 2014.
Despite the rugged market contraction, overall mobility solutions will grow.
This may seem like an easy prediction, but not necessarily a helpful one. As mobility grows it will continue to splinter, leaving solution providers with difficult decisions about which device types, operating systems and programming environments to support. For example, in the AIDC world mobile applications have typically been developed for single operating systems and specific vendor devices. As tablets, smartphones and other devices running Windows, iOS and Android operating systems penetrate the enterprise, solution providers will need to give serious consideration to developing in HTML5, which provides cross-platform compatibility but limits the ability to take advantage of barcode and RFID input and other important features.
AIDC and mobility solution providers can take a lesson from the Year of the Item.
The growing focus on the item level is a sign that businesses are taking a more granular look at their operations. To meet the needs of these customers, solution providers will need granular, in-depth understanding of specific industries and business processes. It will become harder to survive as a barcode, RFID or mobile computing generalist. The companies that can use their knowledge of item-level identification and mobility options and to develop offerings that meet emerging needs in the pharmaceutical, consumer goods, manufacturing, aerospace and other industries will differentiate from their competitors and thrive in the market.
John Burnell is an award-winning writer and editor who has been developing market education, research, PR and marketing materials for business technology audiences since 1990. He is well known in the enterprise mobile computing and data collection industries as principal of Burnell Reports, the former editor-in-chief of Automatic ID News and Frontline Solutions magazines, senior correspondent for RFID Update, as well as a speaker and organizer at the Frontline, ID EXPO and SCANTECH conferences. Contact him at +1 216.571.2319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking Back...Looking Ahead
An Interview with AIM’s Chairman
AIMatters had the opportunity recently to sit down with AIM’s Board Chairman Chuck Evanhoe, President of Evanhoe & Associates, to talk about the year 2013 in review as well as look ahead to the New Year and what’s in store for AIM and the AIDC industry. Chuck represents a unique perspective as an entrepreneur, a business owner and a leader within AIM as well as the AIDC industry.
AM – What do you consider the highlights and accomplishments for AIM in 2013?
CE – It’s been a very positive – and busy – year for AIM! We’ve put into place a revised strategic plan that has refined AIM’s Mission and Vision and positioned the association to build a successful future within the evolving AIDC industry. We saw increased representation of AIM at significant industry conferences, thanks to cooperative efforts offered through the AIM Pavilion at these multiple events. The 2013 AIM Summit, which included our colocation with MHI, was also a great success and provided unique networking opportunities for AIM members. Ending the year with the launch of AIM Europe is certainly a major highlight! To see the efforts of so many who have worked on this for several years come together in 2013 is very gratifying. I’m honored to have been part of the process.
AM - What do you see as the most significant issue the AIDC industry dealt with in the past year?
CE – Without a doubt, the consolidations within the industry have been most prominent. We’ve watched a variety of organizations transition– from those on a small scale to ones like the Intermec – Honeywell merger. It doesn’t seem any organization is immune to consolidation in today’s environment.
AM – What do you see as the challenges faced in 2013 by businesses?
CE – The world economy and geo-political uncertainly clearly have had a major impact for companies as well as those who deal with government entities. Another challenge, which directly affects many AIM stakeholders, comes from multiple players claiming leadership of the Internet of Things (IoT).
AM – What industry developments from 2013 have the potential to make the biggest impact in 2014?
CE – Both the IoT and UHF RFID Gen2V2 will be front runners. IoT will see continued growth and provide new opportunities in a variety of areas. Meanwhile, it’s likely Gen2V2 will become the new standard being embraced, making it ISO, which will then drive future branding efforts.
AM – What do you see ahead for AIM in 2014?
CE – Abundant opportunities, for sure! AIM and its members will see continued growth in Europe as well as great potential for engaging prospective members in South America and Asia. I anticipate seeing the association’s profile (as well as that of members) raised through participation in more industry events, not only the ones with an AIM Pavilion. The focus will find AIM continuing to build on adding value for its members through new and expanded opportunities. I expect to also see the IoT become a major activity for AIM as we move ahead.
AM - If your wishes could become reality, what would you like to see happen in the next five years?
CE – Top of the list would definitely be a stable world economy that all AIM members can be an integral part of as both facilitators and consumers. I’d like to see AIM engage and draw in more members of the end user community in addition to welcoming new and next generation leaders within our industry who will help add to AIM’s strength for the future.
AM – Thank you for your time and leadership during 2013! Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share with AIMatters readers?
CE – One thought that always helps me when things need to be placed in perspective…A rising tide lifts all ships.
What do YOU Think???
Share your observations and predictions about the industry in a brief survey designed exclusively for AIMatters and its subscribers. The results will be analyzed and shared in the next issue. Survey is open through January 31, 2014.
Just click here to share your thoughts & wisdom!
If you have difficulty, paste the following into your browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7RG9XXH
In the AIM Spotlight –
TEKLYNX International is the world’s leading developer of barcode labeling software solutions. More than 600,000 companies in 120 countries rely on TEKLYNX integrated software solutions for supply chain automation, warehouse management, shipping and receiving, inventory control, and asset management. TEKLYNX is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Oracle Gold Partner, has internal GS1 Certified Barcode Professionals, and invests to develop SAP Certified solutions. TEKLYNX is headquartered in France with operations in the United States, Europe, Japan, China, and Singapore.
TEKLYNX label design applications include LABEL MATRIX, LABELVIEW and CODESOFT. TEKLYNX enterprise applications include SENTINEL for automated enterprise label printing, LABEL ARCHIVE for label approval and secure label storage and their all-encompassing TEKLYNX CENTRAL solution that can drive compliant label printing for remote locations, vendors, or suppliers through a browser-based interface.
With this range of solutions, TEKLYNX can address simple to complex label design requirements for any size organization in any industry vertical and are on the cutting edge of technology, developing enterprise solutions for both emerging regulations and new markets.
TEKLYNX showcased their responsiveness to both end users and partners through the launch of expanded licensing and support services in 2013, offering the only subscription licensing option in the industry by a barcode labeling software developer. More recently, TEKLYNX launched their Strategic Partner Program to provide focused sales and marketing support and in-depth product training to its reseller channel. Today, there are over 75 partners in the program, which has contributed to over 20% growth in partner revenue.
TEKLYNX focuses on technical innovation to go beyond basic software development to create industry leading solutions and strategies designed to help businesses of all labeling complexities to improve their bottom line and labeling efficiencies.
Through their AIM membership, TEKLYNX has become a valued resource for other members. Representatives of the company actively participate in AIM committees and educational opportunities, offering their expertise to support AIDC innovation and technology. To learn more, visit the TEKLYNX website.
AIM Europe Launched
Creation Establishes a Cornerstone for AIDC Industry Collaboration
After several years of planning, countless hours of preparation and the efforts of a dedicated group of individuals from around the globe, AIM Europe has become a reality!
• secure a single entity representing the greatest network of AIDC experts across the region,
• establish a system for industry growth in new and emerging areas,
• have strategies in place to respond to new technology and market developments,
• create the best access to funding for international and national development projects related to AIDC technology, innovations, standards, and applications,
AIM Europe will serve as the single voice for the region developing deep relationships with the European Commission and other regional and national bodies. In addition, it will serve as the local organization for European companies who do not have an AIM chapter in their country.
Founding chapters of AIM Europe include Germany, Russia and the Netherlands, and each respective chapter will have representation on the initial AIM Europe Board of Directors. The Officers elected include:
Frithjof Walk, AIM Germany/FEIG ELECTRONIC GmbH
Mary Lou Bosco, AIM, Inc.
Frank Janssen-Groesbeek, AIM Benelux
AIM’s European platform represents a significant enhancement for AIM and its members worldwide. AIM Europe will allow for collaborative involvement in critical AIDC opportunities throughout the European region in a variety of areas including healthcare, tracking and tracing, maintenance, safety & security, cloud computing, Internet of Things and smart networks. AIM Europe will coordinate efforts to provide a stronger, better connected and funded entity for continued growth and expansion.
Preparations are already underway for the first official gathering of the new AIM Europe. To coincide with LogiMAT 2014, AIM Europe will host an Executive Roundtable in Stuttgart, Germany on February 25, 2014. The event will include an AIM Europe Member Meeting as well as educational sessions for the attendees. More details will be released shortly. In the interim, if you have questions, email AIM Europe Executive Roundtable.
Watch for updates on and opportunities with AIM Europe in future issues of AIMatters!!
How Intermec Went the Last Mile to a Global Solution
Intermec – World Vision Project Named 2013 AIDC Case Study Competition Winner
As the use of AIDC innovation continues to grow, it’s always exciting, but often we’re so focused on finding the next best thing we can easily forget how a simple technology solution can have truly life changing impact on the world.
This is exactly why the recipient of AIM’s 2013 AIDC Case Study Competition is a winner in more ways than one. Intermec by Honeywell not only advanced the usage and value of AIDC, but its technology will actually help enable a leading humanitarian organization fight poverty.
World Vision International, an organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice, looked to improve distribution of aid in the field.
Their challenge? A need for improved efficiency and time savings. The added technical challenge? The in-field environment, not to mention location. World Vision knew they needed a solution that would work in areas that may have experienced a massive natural disaster or where infrastructure may be unstable.
Enter Intermec by Honeywell who brought together World Vision’s Last Mile Mobile Solutions (LMMS) software with the Intermec CN50 handheld mobile computer. With enhanced cameras as well as the ruggedness and battery life offered by the CN50 device, the results had a tremendous positive impact. The solution proved intuitive and easy for World Vision workers to make a seamless transition.
Additionally, a 60% improvement in the time required to verify aid to beneficiaries was immediate. What once took 2-3 minutes now takes 30 seconds. An individual World Vision worker can process aid for 1,000 households in a single working day – a task that previously took more than one full week.
AIM is pleased to honor Intermec for their efforts. The 2013 AIDC Case Study Competition Award was presented at the 2013 AIM Summit, where Intermec Technologist Sprague Ackley accepted on Intermec’s behalf.
To learn more, view the World Vision – Intermec video or download the Case Study.
Steve Halliday, AIM Standards & Committee Coordinator
Mary Lou Bosco, AIM Chief Operating Officer
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.
AIM NA Healthcare Committee
AIM North America
Formerly Unique Device Identification (UDI)
This committee was officially renamed last month. With the new name, the committee will broaden its scope and focus on communicating the lessons learned from:
• past serialization efforts & industry best practices
• relationships on UDI, IUID, and SNI
• return on investment (ROI) from end-user perspective
The committee will also work closely with AIM’s RFID Experts Group, TSC Committee and international Chapters with similar activities. To learn more, connect with AIM NA Healthcare Committee.
UID Suppliers Alliance (USA)
AIM North America
More than a dozen legislative offices were visited by members during the November legislative fly-in. The meetings were well timed as Congress was finalizing the budget appropriation bills. Several Senate and House members are collaborating on amendments that would add greater accountability for those not implementing the IUID Policy. If you wish to join their efforts, visit AIM NA UID Suppliers Alliance.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The IoT Committee continues to work on white papers for publication on the website. The matrix of IoT applications is being updated with new input and should be available early in 2014. The PowerPoint presentation about the IoT – available for anyone to use – has undergone some final revisions and should be published before the end of the year. Additionally, an ad hoc group is working on a presentation to the U.S. legislature as well as creating a plan of action to get IoT better coverage at the government level. You can see the work to date at AIM Internet of Things Committee.
Technical Symbology Committee (TSC)
The TSC is currently working on a new standard – Color Ultracode. The standard is nearing completion and should be published in 2014. Other work includes a revision to Han Xin Code, updates to the Data Carriers document and a review of some of the historical symbologies to be published on the website. For more information, visit AIM Technical Symbology Committee.
RFID Experts Group (REG)
The REG continues work on various projects that remain active, including:
• The Effect of RFID in the Healthcare Environment
The group has created a test procedure for healthcare devices, to ensure that they are not negatively affected by the presence of RFID. The work has been done in cooperation with the FDA and MET Labs and should be ready for publication early in 2014. The group is also creating a bibliographical reference document to assist with finding information about RFID in the healthcare environment.
• The Effect of RFID on Explosives and Explosive Environments
A Technical Report is being written that addresses the problems of using RFID near explosives or in explosive environments. The report details many of the issues that should be addressed when using RFID.
• Active RFID
With a goal to present the reasons to consider active RFID in your next project, the group will have a new website go live early in 2014, along with a white paper that explains about active RFID. A variety of RFID case studies will also be published on the new website.
• Data content of RFID tags
An area that is not understood well, this group is creating a guideline that will help the new user of RFID to understand the various options in encoding data on a tag. The Guideline explains the concept of a unique identification and the steps necessary to achieve this.
Check out other opportunities at AIM REG Committee.
Items of interest & value for AIM members
Welcome New Members!!!
AIM is 40 years old and still going strong! We’re pleased to welcome these new members to the AIM family!
University of Memphis
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.
Kudos to Chuck Evanhoe!
Congratulations to Chuck Evanhoe on his selection as the Chairman of the ADC1 Technical Advisory Group (TAG)! The group, comprised of companies that support U.S. participation in the ISO/IEC standardization process, contributes and influences the development of critical international standards. Read more about this prestigious appointment here.
LAST CALL…AIM Pavilion 2014
A limited number of opportunities are available to join industry peers as exhibitors at the AIM Pavilion for Supply Chain & Transportation USA 2014 (MODEX 2014 colocation event) and RFID Journal LIVE! 2014. Remaining space is available on a first-come, first-serve basis so don’t delay! Save the dates below and contact us at AIM Pavilion 2014 to guarantee your spot.
Supply Chain & Transportation USA 2014
(MODEX 2014 colocation event)
March 17 – 20
Georgia World Congress Center – Atlanta, GA
RFID Journal LIVE! 2014
April 8 – 10
Orange County Convention Center - Orlando, FL
Save the Date - AIM Europe Executive Roundtable
Join members of AIM Europe at a special executive roundtable on February 25, 2014 in Stuttgart, Germany! The event will feature an AIM Europe Member Meeting as well as valuable education sessions. AIM members will also have the opportunity to participate in LogiMAT 2014, the International Trade Fair for Distribution, Materials Handling and Information Flow. Watch your email for information on registration for the AIM Europe event, or click here to learn more about LogiMAT 2014.
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!
University of Pittsburgh Internet of Things (IoT) Seminar
RFID Center of Excellence
January 22, 2014
IPC APEX Expo 2014
March 25 – 27, 2014
Las Vegas, NV
Made a New Year’s resolution to enhance your professional education in 2014? 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.