Everything was ready for RFID Journal Live! 2015: Shiny brass luggage trolley? Check. Black canvas military-issue duffle bags? Check. Wine? Check. Linen-lined laundry cart? Check. Gun safe? Check. With that Ocean’s Eleven-worthy prop list and a team of three that I had started thinking of as “the mastermind,” “the techie” and “the politician,” it was beginning to feel like I was equipping a crew for an elaborate heist. In reality, I was prepping them for the RFID Journal LIVE! trade show, held April 15–17 in San Diego.
An annual event that is usually hosted in Orlando and draws thousands of attendees, RFID Journal LIVE! is what our company president, Rick Bissonnette, refers to as a “have to be there” opportunity, both for the RFID technology community and customers alike. For the past several years, we have participated as one of the partners showcased in the Motorola Solutions Enterprise division – now Zebra Technologies – booth, and this year was no exception.
With Zebra as our largest partner and the cornerstone sponsor of the event, our presence in their booth has always afforded us excellent positioning for sharing our solutions with attendees from a cross-section of industries.
At past shows, we’ve demonstrated RFID specifically for manufacturing and warehouse applications. This time, we decided to create four visually appealing demos that would mirror some of our real-world customer projects from the hospitality industry, each of which would present a different “tricky tagging” scenario: luggage tracking; wine tracking; laundry tracking; and tool tracking.
The types of materials, densities and general volume of the items being RFID-tagged in these situations qualify each as challenging – because when it comes right down to it, RFID has a great deal to do with physics, and nearly every industry seems to have items that possess these challenging qualities. Reading tags from items that in real life are crammed pell-mell on top of each other, have high liquid contents, or are encased in metal can be difficult.
Solutions Demonstrated to RFID Journal LIVE! 2015:
- We tracked a trolley full of RFID-tagged luggage as it was wheeled past fixed RFID readers (FX7500s) and antennas (AN620s) and showed the ability to report on each bag’s location and progress in a customer-facing application.
- We scanned racks of closely packed RFID-tagged wine bottles with a handheld RFID reader (MC9190-Z) for retail and stockroom inventory applications.
- We scanned RFID-tagged bed linens as they lay jumbled together in a laundry cart for inventory, maintenance and task-related assignments.
- We checked RFID-tagged tools in and out of our metal gun safe for chain of custody and asset history applications.
Having our asset tracking solution projecting tag-read data onto handhelds (MC55s slotted into RFD5500 RFID sleds) and tablets (ET1s), we conveyed the message that no matter what industry you’re in, being able to draw quantifiable data connections between physical assets and back-end business processes makes RFID a valuable investment for multiple applications.
“The show demonstrated once again that the market for RFID solutions just continues to grow,” says Steven Walsh, Strategic Systems’ director of professional services. “Delegates expressed substantial interest in the performance of our StrategicRFID ‘Liquid Label’ and its ability to provide a reliable means for tagging liquid products such that they can be read simultaneously — either on the shelf at the store or within cases.”
“That and the opportunity to show our very successful luggage tracking solution were definitely the two aspects that generated the most leads for us,” he says. “We’re excited about the future deployments that we expect to come from this.”
“From my perspective,” adds Rick, “the most worthwhile part of the show was the time I spent walking the floor with one of our best customers and talking with her about the technology. I think being there really helped open her eyes to all of the possibilities that RFID enables. That was key.”