on the World Wide Web continues to grow. Traffic on your SmallSmartFast
devices continues to grow.
I admit it. I bought the cell phone that takes pictures. I didn't know if it
was useful; but being a technophile, I went for it. And rapidly it all came
to me! I tried on a new cool jacket ... I crooned over it ... but for that much
money, I wasn't sure. Should I really buy this? Enter the pic in my cell phone!
We chicks have our honor guard. You know those close friends who will tell you
the truth—eyes roll- what did you do to your hair- friend. So I took my picture
and sent it. Hey take a look at me in this—what do you think? Real time feedback!
And that got me to thinking about my business. Do you like this location, equipment,
etc.? Attach you message, the pictures, pricing, etc. ... we are on our way.
network is alive with the sound of convergence ... not a new song, but it got
us thinking about the explosion of traffic on these various platforms across
GPS and the Internet.
patterns we are quite familiar with—but wireless seems to be spinning out around
modest estimate of traffic in voice, video, and data—wired or wireless—will
increase ten times over the next five years. And why? Both business and personal
use of these platforms is exploding, driven by cell phones and other personal
devices, business use of GPS, the Internet, and of course RFID. RFID transactions
will grow in number and dimension.
of detail—items on up
hard to separate these out; they kind of go together. But we'll explore a few
thoughts around this data explosion.
Number of Transactions
trade is increasing the number of shipments by 7 to 8 percent each year. Embedded
within this process is also the need to trace, track, and secure these shipments.
Hybrid devices are already in use and their deployment is growing. Containers
in Hong Kong, Oakland bound, are bonded with active RFID and GPS devices that
secure and track the shipment all the way to the customer. Smart Secure Trade
Lanes has over one hundred global participants with all the major ports participating.
This initiative is enabled by Savi's global RFID-enabled
network, which can read both passive and active data and is already deployed
around the world.
Size and Number—Items on Up—Nesting
item to containers for a lifetime, the first waves of RFID are delivering with
shipment level data, mostly cartons, containers, and pallets. But retailers
already put devices on most high-end goods. Today, of course, these devices
have a short life—from unpacking and stocking the shelf to the cash register
and no real recoding transaction is done. But once RFID tags become part of
the floor-ready merchandize process, or more brand firms embed them in their
products, the number of collection points goes up exponentially. Firms like
GenuOne already have a leadership position in the
brand protection (Genuine-get it?) and these unobtrusive little devices ship
at an item level, from the manufacturer. Their serial number and lot is collected,
tracked, and validated upon receiving by the merchant. The point is, naysayers
who think item level is far off are, well, uninformed.
Size and More Transactions!
The DoD is moving toward standardizing product serial numbers and ultimately expects these on not only the items, but also the tags. And this is only the beginning. Many products have lifetime histories to trace (pedigrees already in practice in many industries like aerospace and defense, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals). It is debatable where all the histories will be stored—on the network or on the device—, but the ability for device level services (code or functions) to communicate with the application is clear, sending data back and forth to validate, instruct the operator, etc. All those little applets zinging data back and forth between items, devices, and the mother ship! Tags can and will carry significantly more data—and will have significantly more power to do more stuff.
And That Means Really Smart Devices
devices that can do hybrid work—like Intermec's barcode
and RFID enabled devices—are already in use in firms like Bayer, and applications
that sit on these devices are vertical specific, driving intelligence in
the hand. These devices are converged already—RFID enabled—and support
personal wireless, aka Bluetooth, as well as LAN and WAN, the people,
the devices, the IT systems across the enterprise, and the Internet. Think small
and really smart devices running complex queries and data management—not just
Where Are We?
We are striking out for the core inventions and concepts into a creative land
where everyone is in the act. With all these opportunities, we will get more
tags and applications to use these tags. More demand will drive the creation
of new processes and technologies to scale the manufacturing processes. Matrics
just announced their new parallel integrated chip assembly (PICA),
a methodology which significantly increases chip assembly production, about
ten fold. Think of one machine producing in the range of (depending on the product
being produced) 20,000 to 100,000 chips per hour versus the old method of maximum
1,000 to 8,000 chips per hour.
course, this is the beginning of chip technologies, which will radically change.
With manufacturing processes driving up capacity, as well as producing a more
powerful chip, prices will come down. Nanotechnologies get introduced about
three to four years from now, which will be truly powerful and cheaper! Moore's
Law still applies here with the price/performance ratios careening ever higher!
where are we? On CNN, ABC,
and MSNBC. If you think of previous technology shifts,
Prime Time came way later. ERP, as a term, was mentioned for the first time
on Prime Time about ten years ago. Here, the impact transcends most
walks of life! So across many markets—consumer, manufacturing, defense, etc.—there
are new adopters of the technology; and thinking of new ways to get access to
the data. Right now we have the IP backbone to support this early stage, but
with these increases—and what we have talked about here is just a sliver of
supply chain—it is bound to require a readdressing of the wireless infrastructure.
Who knows, Cisco could be a hot stock again!
This article is from
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more than two decades, Ann Grackin, Chief Executive Officer,
has been on the frontlines of the Supply Chain Management technology and e-commerce
frontier, leading global strategy and technology implementations in the high
technology, semiconductor, automotive, textile, and apparel industries.
Research is a bold new supply chain research organization dedicated
to helping executives improve business performance and competitiveness.