Expand Loss Prevention: Retail security customers offer profitable system expansions for both loss prevention and inventory management. The use of RFID in the retail supply chain has been discussed passionately by both proponents and deterrents of the technology. Privacy issues are a critical stumbling block to the deployment of RFID in the retail environment.
The underlying UHF technology has made it possible to design a variety or transponders (credentials) that can be affixed to almost any item as well as receivers (readers) that offer better than good reading ranges and can provide a myriad of options to the retailer.
Imagine a world where the item is tagged at the source, is boxed and put on a pallet, the forklift that picks up the pallet reads each item inside the box to be able to not only tell you the item but also the size, color and date of manufacture. A mobile RFID portal is placed inside the trailer door so that upon loading you know exactly what was loaded. A store employee uses a handheld RFID reader to receive the merchandise without even opening the boxes. Readers throughout the store are constantly letting the employees know which articles, by size and color, are running low and need replenishment.
Imagine there is no need to tag the item with labels, not having to change tags when effecting a price change and most important having the ability to use the same readers to see if an item is leaving the store without it having been paid for; without the need for an additional EAS tag. This world is coming into being today and there are plenty of retailers and manufacturers looking to deploy these solutions. The skills developed by security integrators are precisely the same integration skills required to deploy these capabilities.
Manage Vehicles: A remaining underserved market space is that of AVI (Automatic Vehicle Identification)—the means of identifying a vehicle with RFID. In the recent past the only options available were microwave or battery assisted passive. These work very well but have a high price on both the receivers (readers) and the transponders (tags) with the constant annoyance of battery replacement.
Rapid UHF RFID development in the past few years has opened the doors for a new type of system that is highly reliable and competitively priced. These systems are easily interfaced with current access control offerings and provide a variety of options as to how to handle the vehicle credentialing.
Every organization is looking to manage their assets more efficiently. This means that your customers must have the tools to know where their assets are. End users have been able to cut down their inventory of assets by as much as 35 percent just by implementing an asset tagging solution. Retailers reduce inventory by better understanding what is in stock.
This is not an easy business and market expansion does not make it easier. It is important to learn, understand the challenges, work through them and work to become a subject matter expert. The industry has many technology driven vendors ready to help the security integrator do just that.
This is only a starting point. There are many opportunities for a systems integrator to offer alternative technologies that interface and expand current systems to existing customers. This may be the best opportunity to increase revenue and longevity of the account and to create an early differentiation from the competition.
Leon Chlimper is the vice president of sales and marketing for Deister Electronics USA Inc., based in Manassas, Va.