RFID Journal LIVE! — and the RFID Industry — are bouncing back

After a disappointing event in September due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the second face-to-face edition brought a new vision of the market, the return of Walmart, among other important initiatives

Edson Perin

A lot of people asked me what I thought of the second face-to-face edition of RFID Journal LIVE! after two years, based on the vision I have over the 10 years, in which I did not miss any of the events, including the last virtual ones, during the Covid-19 pandemic. For me, RFID Journal LIVE! is a mandatory annual event, because it brings together the radio frequency identification (RFID) and Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem with applications for global business. But it also is critical to understanding feeling the pulse of the global market.

The first realization that I had at this year’s event was electronic identification, smart packaging, and automatic supply chains are merging — and there is no chance of going back. There is no longer any doubt about the precision of the technologies in question, including QR Codes and Digital Printing, to continue evolving in the achievements already attained by several companies, in different fields of activity. A striking example is Walmart, the global retail giant that pioneered the use of RFID and that had abandoned the technology after a series of commercial and business problems, and which now announces the return with a strategy of heavy investments in technology.

Edson Perin

Walmart’s decision has a big and positive impact as the number of products delivered by suppliers the company has in its supply chain. The impact is huge! In an informal conversation I had with one of the executives responsible for Walmart’s new RFID initiative, I realized that the main challenge of the entire process lies in the education and preparation of human beings who will deal with a new work mentality, with new intelligent processes and with products that talk and act to win consumers off the shelf.

Yes, the world of automatic identification and tracking technologies and customer experience is consolidating, with no chance of going back, but there is still a lot to discuss, learn and create.

In several successful case studies presented during RFID Journal LIVE!, what can be seen was the total integration of technologies, with RFID acting on the basis of data collection, optimization of supply chains, logistics and sustainability, and QR Codes, mainly, act as access points for any human being – through a smartphone – to all the information contained in the databases for making a purchase decision.

According to a study recently presented by Avery Dennison, in an article about sustainability to the IoP Journal, before the pandemic, less than 20% of consumers made purchase decisions based on sustainability information from the companies and products in question. Today, after the great storm of Covid-19, more than 50% of buyers decide what to consume based on the sustainability of the products and companies responsible for these goods.

Avery Dennison even had the most prominent stand at the event, right at the entrance to the exhibition area. Other major brands, however, were absent from the event, leaving the public in doubt about the health of these companies. After all, their absence from the biggest RFID and IoT event on the planet is not a good sign. I went looking for information about the reason for absences and was surprised to find that some companies simply decided to save marketing dollars. Curious… and unbelievable.

Opening parenthesis, some companies seem to forget that, for there to be a healthy market, the entire ecosystem needs to work. This mistaken reasoning also reverberates in Brazil. Close parentheses.

On the Brazilian side, taking advantage of the cue, two brilliant cases were exposed in depth at the event, both with Avery Dennison tags. The first, from Cachaça Roma, shows the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to ensure product authenticity. Entrepreneur Rodrigo Pedroso, owner of the brand, presented the case and raffled off three bottles of the drink for the participants of LIVE!

The other case of great impact, from the Lojas Renner, was detailed by the company’s executive Alexandre Ribeiro, who showed all the nuances and decisions that made this case one of the finalists of the RFID Journal Awards 2022. Although the company was not awarded this year, since the winner of the category was the retailer Carter’s (Carter’s gerencia estoque em todos os EUA com RFID), the case inspired several other international companies that participated in the presentation.

On the closing day of the event, in the morning, I presented as editor of the IoP Journal several cases with RFID, QR Codes and Digital Printing, developed in Brazil, showing how to go beyond intelligent supply chains, thus facilitating the communication of manufacturers with their end consumers. Among the cases I presented were those of Havan (RFID Journal Awards 2021 winner as best retailer), Havaianas/Alpargatas, Correios, Cemil, Calesita, ZF Aftermarket, Privalia Outlet, Unipac, ID-Cotton, Lado Avesso, Anvisa and the Pharma Sector in Brazil, and HP Brasil.

Through the IoP Journal, we are organizing initiatives to improve communication between companies and the market itself in Brazil. Look for us.