RFID is the core of new-age technologies such as IOT, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence. The accurate data that RFID can help generate is a valuable treasure trove that enables these areas of technologies to thrive and grow. The world is moving towards connected devices, personalization, virtual and augmented reality and “last mile” tracking. RFID will play a key role in enabling the emerging use of technology in many sectors in 2017.
We wish to draw from over two decades of experience in RFID to list the top five sectors (not necessarily in the order of importance) which we believe would embrace RFID significantly and create maximum value for customers and stakeholders in 2017.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) has mandated that by 2018, airlines must track each pieces of baggage that comes in at check-in and goes out at arrival. It means that airlines will need to analyse their existing monitoring systems, and implement appropriate technology which can do this in a fool-proof manner while saving on cost and time. Delta Airlines, one of America’s top airlines, has invested over $50million in RFID for baggage tracking and management. Delta Airlines have realized that RFID signals can be picked by receivers 99.85% of times as compared to a 90% success rate of manual scanners. And, the difference of 8% could be the cause that leads to loss or delay of more than 20 million baggage pieces. RFID in baggage tracking will lead to a considerable reduction in lost baggage by 2024 and will enable the air transport industry to save over $3 billion within the next seven years. In addition, airline operators, maintenance and repair organizations (MROs) and manufacturers across the supply chain will rely on RFID to streamline the pace of operations, and ensure fastest possible turnaround for passenger as well as cargo flights.
The scope of RFID in aviation is immense. At Dolphin, we are privy to this global interest and are feeling the pulse in the form of requests from our foreign partners for helping airlines in the respective countries to implement RFID systems to gain a clear business advantage. In India, we are in talks with multiple airlines to help them to adhere to the IATA guidelines and be operationally superior by implementing RFID technologies.
In 2016, 4.6 billion clothing items carried RFID tags. However, this does not represent even 10% of the total apparel market, thus the potential for growth in retail and apparel is immense.
In a survey of 60 retailers with revenues of $500 million and above undertaken by Kurt Salmon, 73 percent have said that they are either deploying or are doing a pilot on RFID technologies. That number is more than double the 34 percent for the same study done in 2014.
Retail majors such as Marks & Spencer and Decathlon have had major RFID implementation in 2016. Even RFID tag providers Avery Dennison, Impinj and NXP have all reported a strong growth in tag sales. Avery Dennison has had nearly 30 percent growth in 2016 despite a slow apparel market in the US.
The other micro-segments that fall in the broad retail ambit such as cosmetics, electronics, auto ancillary, sports goods, jewellery and small home appliances are all seeing RFID tagging and tracking. The retail space, it’s entire supply chain, right to the warehouses, are all potential areas for robust RFID implementations. The ever-burgeoning retail market and retailers are seeing the benefits of RFID hence we would see a huge fillip in this space for RFID technologies in 2017. RFID is a must in the emerging Omni Channel sales which is the way forward for Retail.
IT & ITeS:
The IT services opportunity is huge world over. There are many mid-tier to small-tier IT companies in India which employ thousands of people. The laptops, desktops, dongles and mobiles assigned to people are the assets that organizations would want to tag, track and protect.
IT companies are now broadening the perimeter of operations. Important business data can be accessed by employees from home and on their mobiles with policies such as “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) becoming increasingly prevalent. These companies often work with critical data from the clients; hence their server and data centers need to be safeguarded from unauthorised access. RFID systems allow seamless entry and exit of company’s assets and restrict unauthorised access to key servers and data centers.
In a huge IT and ITeS organization, there could be over 100,000 assets. Research shows that if RFID is deployed to track these assets, the annual labour cost savings would exceed $150,000. This cost saving carries forward to subsequent years and goes on forever. Hence, RFID investments lead to significant returns and value over time.
RFID systems also enable to arrest any corrupt practices at entry and exit points and safeguard from tampering of technology assets. There is utmost transparency and accountability at all times as RFID systems can track and monitor all assets within seconds. This particularly helps IT companies that have set up huge development centers in SEZs, hence they are prone to sudden inspections and compliance checks. Companies such as Verizon already track their IT assets worldwide using RFID technology.
Healthcare is among the fastest RFID adopters globally. The benefit of implementing RFID in hospitals is immense as it enables hospitals to focus on a greater cause – treating patients well and saving lives in a cost-effective manner.
Asset tracking and management in hospitals benefit immensely by use of RFID. About 20% of a hospital’s mobile assets (on average) are lost or stolen during their useful lifetime. The average cost works out to more than USD 3000 per item. Also, 75% of the time for maintenance is spent searching equipment. Hospitals typically over-stack up to 40% of spare inventory to mitigate the risk of running short of equipment during emergency. RFID can solve all these problems and ensure significant savings for hospitals without adversely impacting patient care. The savings can eventually be passed on to the patients to enable more people to afford better treatment.
Another area where RFID significantly benefits hospitals is in patient tracking and management, wherein a smart RFID device accessible by a mobile interface helps doctors and nurses to ensure perfect administration of medicines to patients at the right time. The hospitals are also able to track and manage documents and files of patients better and thus, ensuring seamless and effective treatment. Several hospitals all over the world have embraced RFID. Progressive hospitals in India such as the Apollo group of hospitals, and the Tata medical centre have been pioneers in leveraging RFID. The power of RFID in improving healthcare is such that even progressive Muncipal Corporations like the BMC are looking at introducing RFID based Asset Management in their hospitals.
There is a latent demand for safe and secure hotel accommodation all over the world. The fact that start-ups like Airbnb are gaining serious momentum is testimony to this. With pilgrimage, medical tourism and leisure travel on the rise, safe, secure and reputed players in hospitality would be in great demand.
For the budget hotels to survive and compete with international counterparts and tackle disruptors in the space like Airbnb, leveraging RFID has become the need of the hour. With smart RFID based locks and energy systems, the customers are assured that their belongings are safe in hotel rooms hence enhancing the perception of safety. This leads to more people opting to stay at budget hotels that offer great service and helps the sector to flourish. The linked energy management systems also enable hotels to bring down their electricity costs. The “audit trail capture” feature of these locks helps to keep a check on any illegal use of rooms for nefarious activities and subsequent loss of both brand image and revenue. With the use of RFID readers, tracking and management of hotel’s assets can be done seamlessly and any unwarranted loss of assets can be kept in check. Hotels, after implementing RFID technologies, have seen a reduction in the inventory shrinkage from a 10% to 66% of the common shrinkage which leads to considerable savings in cost, enhances service efficiency and improves the bottom line.
Dolphin has introduced smart, RFID powered and energy efficient locks namely Aster, Sleek and Vidala that enables the budget hotels to offer the same sense of safety and security as luxury hotels at half the cost. The demand for these locks among the luxury properties is also catching up with hotel chains opting for Dolphin’s RFID powered locks and security systems. By assembling and marketing these locks and energy systems in India, Dolphin is giving a serious boost to our honourable Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative.
Dolphin RFID is one of the leading RFID service providers in the world with over 14 copyrights, 3 patents, and its own proprietary JAVA based middleware that can integrate with any core system irrespective of the sector or industry. With a network spanning 6 continents and a clientele comprising Forbes top 20 companies, Dolphin has been creating disruptive innovations, which has helped large organization and SMEs alike.
While Dolphin is on track to be a world leader in end to end RFID solutions, our larger mission is to empower all industries, especially across these five sectors, to leverage RFID and create disruptive business models for the larger good.
I hope all companies, be it large corporations or SMEs, embrace RFID in 2017 and give their businesses a better chance to succeed and prosper.