AIDC Acceleration and Transition
Some of the leading events that will drive AIDC adoption in 2024 could have a much longer-term impact on the industry. We can say with some certainty that enterprise demand for more visibility, consumer desire for more transparency and regulators’ requirements for more traceability will lead many enterprises to explore new uses for AIDC technologies. That exploration could be the start of a sustained adoption increase as those trends continue and many related programs expand, including electronic traceability requirements to satisfy the European Union’s Digital Product Passport (DPP) legislation, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA’s separate Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) and UDI programs, a resurgence in retail RFID tagging programs, new retail product labeling standards championed by Procter & Gamble and GS1, and more. Here’s a brief look at how those developments could impact the AIDC community in 2024.
Compliance is a common bond among many of the expected 2024 demand drivers. For example, Walmart, Chipotle and American Eagle are among the large chains that are known to be expanding their RFID programs and requiring tagging by their suppliers. There are also ongoing and expanding regulatory requirements that will expand AIDC use. The EU’s Digital Product Passport is being phased in and has requirements that can be satisfied with bar code or RFID. Many companies that will need to comply are currently evaluating their technology strategy, so actual adoption and volume growth will likely increase more in future years. Similarly, the large-scale transition from traditional U.P.C./EAN bar codes to 2D symbols for use at retail checkout is still a few years out. Meanwhile, the DSCSA, FSMA and UDI programs are more mature, and their volumes of AIDC-identified products will continue to grow.
As these transitions occur it is easy to foresee a period where product makers, retailers and their distribution partners will concurrently use 1D and 2D bar codes and RFID tags in combination throughout the value chain. Similar transitions are already taking place in other core markets for AIDC technologies, notably manufacturing and distribution. For example, traditional bar code scanning is being supplemented with machine vision to capture more information, and AI is giving machine vision new capabilities. Bar code, RFID, vision, and robotics components are being combined for picking, put away and other warehousing operations. AIDC technologies are increasingly used within IoT systems that include sensors, cameras, and other inputs. Blockchain has its own place in traceability.
AIDC manufacturers, resellers and users should use 2024 to consider their own transitions. What role will you play in providing solutions that require more traceability and intelligence? Is a new direction for product development needed? Do you have the right products and partners to thrive as converged, multi-technology systems become more common? AIM has been helping organizations navigate the future of AIDC technologies since we were founded 50 years ago and stand ready to help you in 2024 and the following 50 years.
Mary Lou Bosco
CEO | AIM, Inc.