American Barcode and RFID Q&A
American Barcode and RFID Q&A
RFID, LTD. has released updated industry metrics for the radio frequency identification (RFID) market. In 2007, the total RFID market size is $4.96 billion. By 2017, the total RFID market size is estimated to grow to $26.88 billion.
The United States still has the largest number of RFID projects followed by the United Kingdom where the RFID market size is 1/3 the size of the U.S. market. In 2017, the most important sectors by "value of tags" will roughly represent $2 billion each and will be: smart cards; consumer goods (item-level); and pallet/case. The second most important sectors will represent approximately $1 billion each and will be: military use; animal tracking; and the 1/3 of retail turnover that is historically tied up in inventory and becomes wasted capital.
RFID Solutions Online had a chance to catch up with Gary Randall at American Barcode and RFID (AB&R) to discuss AB&R’s perspective on the RFID market and its future, the company’s history, AB&R’s typical deployments, its Proof of Concept Solution, and much more. Enjoy the discussion.
Question: Can you give me a little background on AB&R? How long have you been in the AIDC/RFID space? What verticals markets do you typically serve? What is your coverage area? How many employees do you have?
Answer: American Barcode and RFID, Inc., headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, since 1980 provides solutions that track everything of importance to our customers by utilizing the traditional bar code solutions along with leading-edge RFID technology. We have evolved over the past 27 years into a full-solution provider with a strategic focus on the Manufacturing, Wholesale Distribution, and Healthcare verticals. Although the majority of our 38 employees are at our headquarters, we have regionally based sales team members throughout the United States that give AB&R a true national reach.
Q: Talk a little bit about your typical deployments in terms of customers and scope.
A: We approach each of our customer opportunities with a consultative approach and design the solution specifically to the customer’s needs. We call this scope of work a Systems Requirement Design Study (SRDS) and this serves as the project plan for any deployment. This scope of work is designed around current customer processes and systems. It definitely helps to speed up the learning curve on deployment when the end user is familiar with the screens, process, and terminology.
Q: What is your Proof of Concept Solution? Who can benefit from it?
A: We have created what we call our “Proof of Concept Complete Solution” which enables any type of business that is considering the use of RFID for either mandated compliance or those customers trying to determine whether RFID can help to automate a business process.
Q: Why did you create the Proof of Concept Solution? What market need existed that you felt wasn't being met?
A: Historically, all of the components that are required to make an RFID system actually work were cost prohibitive. Many companies have wanted a functioning system that will allow them to print and encode tags with their data, and then actually do some testing to evaluate the many benefits of non-line-of-sight data collection. These Proof of Concept solutions will allow end users to determine their ROI on the implementation and determine if RFID as a viable solution.
Specifically, we feel this solution will help enable and speed up the supply chain initiatives underway, especially with those companies supplying to the Department of Defense.
Q: It's a comparably low-cost solution to other potential alternatives. Was the low price point a key driver as you developed the Proof of Concept Solution?
A: Yes, our low cost RFID bundle addresses a common concern with the growth of RFID; that it is just too expensive to evaluate. Internally we are calling this our “No More Excuses” campaign. This low cost of entry for a fully functioning solution was not available in the past and is now starting under $2,000.
Q: The solution has software, hardware, tag, and portal components. Can you talk about each component and the vendor that supplies each?
A: Our bundle uses the best in breed products from the AIDC industry. Our Proof of Concept Solution includes a Zebra Technologies R110XiIII printer/encoder, the Motorola DC600 portal system with the XR400 decoder, Miles Technologies CP Express software for printing and encoding, Avery Runway thermal transfer RFID labels, and a validation software that we have created internally to validate and log tag reads. This should be everything needed to get started with an RFID initiative.
Q: What happens if companies want to move beyond the Proof of Concept Solution? Are their investments protected? What is the migration path?
A: Great question. The solution we have outlined in this package is a fully functioning system with the design and integration features disabled. An upgrade module will enable full design and integration functionality with ASN and EDI capabilities.
Q: What is AB&R's take on the RFID market today compared to where it will be 12 months from now? How will it be different? What should enterprises be planning for with respect to RFID?
A: I think we are finally at a tipping point for RFID success across a variety of industries, and not only to meet compliance mandates. The Gen 2 standard created the consistency we needed to enable proven results. This is now creating a huge range of creative packaging and software solutions that allow this industry to successfully “bend” the laws of physics to capture data in various unique environments.
Compared to Dr. Frankenstein’s science projects we have experienced over the past few years with RFID testing, enterprises can now expect tested and proven solutions for any RFID initiative that they may encounter.