Making Your RFID Smarter Using AI

By: Jerry Abiog, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at  Standard Insights

Covid and the economic and societal shifts resulted in accelerated technological adoption rates. Businesses are grappling with the work-from-home movement, labor shortages, inflation, and a potential recession. Add the quiet-quitting movement; many companies of all shapes and sizes in many verticals struggle to adapt. On the other side, customers demand more and aren’t patient with missteps regarding the products and services they receive from these businesses.

Both radio-frequency identification (RFID) and artificial intelligence (AI) have been around since the 1950s. However, with the democratization of all things technology in the IoT and AI space, both are now readily available for most businesses struggling with driving top and bottom-line growth during challenging economic times.

RFID Basics
RFID is a wireless technology frequency that incorporates electromagnetic frequencies to classify people, animals, or things. Like its cousin, the barcode scanner, RFID doesn’t need a straight line sight to scan, reads thousands of codes at once, and can be done in real-time.  The RFID ecosystem includes RFID tags (which hold a voluminous amount of data), readers with an antenna, and software to process the data.

While this article targets RFID capabilities in the business world, we use it in our personal lives – opening your garage door, the timing chip for marathons and triathlons, or tap-and-go payments at your favorite retail or restaurant establishment.

AI Basics
AI is the ability of a computer to think and act like a human. Often confused with business intelligence, AI looks into the future with predictive and prescriptive analytics. Like RFID, we see it in our everyday lives; Amazon recommendations, Netflix, and Tesla self-driving cars. All have one thing in common; AI looks at past patterns to make future predictions.

Applications of AI are many in the business world. Samples include overhead cameras that can anticipate the movement patterns of customers. Second, warehouse robots that mimic human movements Finally, software that can predict what customers will purchase and how much of a particular product will sell in a given day, week, or month by analyzing POS, ERP, or RFID data.

What’s Old Is New Again – Bringing Both Technologies Together
The technology adoption curve is slow. Humans resist change, primarily if it seeks to disrupt the status quo. Oracle was resistant to cloud migration. Companies failing to adopt new technologies are no longer in existence – Borders Books, Blockbuster, and  Kmart. Once in a precarious situation, JCPenney turned things around by adopting AI technologies. Walmart now uses RFID technology to help scan inventory in its 4000 locations.

According to Markets and Markets, the RFID industry will grow to $35.6 billion by 2030. Likewise, according to Valuate Reports, the AI market will grow to $1,581billion by 2030. Data is the new oil. Both industries thrive on data. 

Companies typically invest in new technology if it solves a business problem. With the business world in economic chaos, many will have no other options except to turn to technology to remain relevant and profitable. One of the places to start is to leverage the data in your RFID tags using the predictive power of AI.

Why RFID and AI Matter For Your Business
RFID is all about accuracy, whether that tracking is in the retail, manufacturing, or horticultural arenas. Same with AI and its ability to predict the next course of action. Imagine if, regardless of vertical,  you’re able to quickly scan thousands of products and predict how much will sell and who will buy; your business can:

  • Reduce labor costs
  • Optimize how much inventory you need to stock
  • Improve sales and average order value through smarter marketing

The proof is in the pudding. A study by the Aberdeen Group states that 93 percent of companies feel that RFID aids in reducing labor costs. Accenture shows that AI tools can improve labor productivity by 40 percent. Harvard Business Review states, “the question is no longer if a company should use AI but where it brings the greatest competitive advantage.”

Often it’s what you don’t do that could lead to the failure of your business. Like not eating healthily, getting exercise and adequate sleep could fail your body. Big companies fail too, and so do small ones. Now is the time to take action as these technologies are readily available. The business world is challenging us in many ways not seen before. Your margins are too slim to play the guessing game.

Jerry Abiog is the co-founder and CMO of Standard Insights, an AI as a Service analytics and growth marketing platform. They help companies leverage their first-party data (POS, ERP, e-commerce, RFID) to drive top and bottom-line growth using the predictive power of AI.