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The Internet of Things and the case for RFID

The Internet of Things is without doubt the dominant buzz-phrase at technology events this year. At CES the focus was on headline-grabbing connected homes and self-driving cars while at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona – the event which traditionally serves as the launchpad for flagship devices from the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturers – it was all about putting mobile at the heart of new products and accessories that help create a more connected lifestyle.

One example of this was the launch from Ikea – partly driven by a partnership with Samsung – of a built-in wireless charging function to some furniture items which will be available in store from April.

New product opportunities aside, for most retailers the greatest impact of the Internet of Things is being felt in stores which are gradually being turned into constantly connected hubs.

As reported from the NRF Retail’s Big Show, the connected store is really just another way of saying Internet of Things.  We’re looking at a future where machine-to-machine interactions between parts of the store to each other – and to consumers via their devices – will become commonplace.

For fashion retailers that could be RFID-tagged clothes communicating to a changing room mirror or beacon-enabled push notifications to opted-in shoppers.
RFID itself is gaining momentum across retail, with positive ROI use cases expected to accelerate adoption. According to the RFID Journal, 65% of the top 30 retailers in the US are now either piloting or deploying RFID technology.

Macy’s, for example, uses the technology for inventory overview initially tagging replenishment products only, such as regular stock or items that are automatically resupplied such as men’s and women’s underwear. During a trial, however, the retailer says it saw a sales boost of 9.7% overall for RFID versus non-RFID products and is now poised to roll out the technology across fashion product.

As the Internet of Things continues to dominate industry events this year, it seems that RFID is finally finding its role across retail.

Subscribers: check out RFID – Technology Update for more. 

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