Local RFID solutions provide flexibility in emerging market

Local RFID solution providers offer cheaper and more flexible solutions that are better suited to the South African market.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has been around for a long time, but local companies are now beginning to focus on providing flexible and customisable RFID solutions that are affordable in an emerging market.

RFID utilises electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags attached to objects. These tags contain electronically stored information, which can be read by RFID readers.

The technology has been deployed in numerous industries and is largely used for asset tracking, access control and contactless payments, among others.

However, RFID solutions that are sourced internationally can be very expensive, with a price of up to R30 million, depending on specification, says Dave Joyce, MD of Nimble Technologies.

“There are advantages to using locally-developed RFID solutions, which are substantially more affordable and better suited for local use,” Joyce says.

But the benefits extend beyond just affordability. Joyce points out that the solution developed by Nimble Technologies is very customisable and scalable.

“For instance, for a client in the hospitality industry, we provided a low-tech hardware solution and wrote software for access control and loss prevention and provided software that models their environment,” says Joyce.

“It is a very flexible way of marrying up the physical world to the business model. Basically, the solution creates a link between the physical environment and ERP systems that is affordable in emerging markets.”

Joyce adds that there are not many local players that are developing flexible solutions, that can be made to fit specific situations and be adapted to customer requirements.

Apollo Technical Director Charles Penprase – whose company is an implementation partner of Nimble Technologies – agrees, saying that many local players are simply resellers of specific RFID products.

Penprase states that more South African industries are excepted to adopt RFID solutions in future, as the potential application of the technology is unlimited.

There are several long-term benefits for companies that adopt RFID technology, he points out, including a positive impact in profitability.

“For instance, organisations can benefit greatly from asset retention and asset planning, which directly impacts their bottom line and improves efficiencies,” Penprase says.

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