RFID trends in the supply chain and logistics industry as shown in the LogiMat 2015 trade show this week.

LogiMat is a leading trade show in the supply chain and logistics industry. From product packaging to conveyor belts, it also includes track and trace solutions. These last ones include a big number of RFID solutions.

Supply chain and logistics being the biggest market for UHF RFID – along with retail – there were plenty of companies showcasing RFID solutions during the fair.

The complete Hall 4 was all about RFID in logistics. There were also a couple of other companies in different halls with RFID technology including sensors employed mainly for cold chain monitoring.

IBM-Zebra booth at LogiMat

IBM-Zebra booth at LogiMat

Amongst the most interesting RFID products seen at the LogiMat I want to bring attention to two of them:

Temperature monitoring tag embedded in pallet – Microsensys and Falkenhahn

Falkenhahn’s booth very rapidly caught my eye. It was a very big booth demoing a complete logistics process from the pallet point of view. It included big storage shelves, UHF RFID readers and a live demo every 2 hours.

However, what caught my eye was the pop-ups displaying RFID tags embedded in the pallet. There are two versions: identification tags and thermal sensing tags.

The first one is passive while the second one is passive but both are completely embedded in the pallet. Good work by Microsensys and Falkenhahn!

Zatar platform for Internet of Things – Zebra Technologies

Zebra has developed a platform that aims at connecting all kinds of devices effortlessly: Zatar. They showcased this platform at LogiMat starting with what they call an ‘Avatar’ of their UHF RFID printers. By using the available APIs and SDKs, you can control any of your RFID printers anywhere in the world and check its status, print extra tags, check for historical data, etc.

Of course new ‘avatars’ will soon be ready to allow control of active sensor tags, RFID readers or any other kind of devices at your will.

With a good security layer included, you can actually grant third parties access to information or even access to manufacturing – imagine a fee per printed RFID tag.

I really like the Zatar idea for battery-free sensors as UHF RFID readers could be controlled and the data received at any point, any time. Even for monitoring the status of what’s on top of a pallet: Zatar can ask a reader to communicate the information of the temperature sensor embedded in the EuroPallet. If that’s possible, could we also ask for the weight that’s on top of the pallet?