The Silicon Review
Radio waves are part of the electromagnetic spectrum that can carry information at the speed light. Radios across the globe operate on this frequency to enable people and organizations to communicate with each other. Another astonishing feature of radio waves is that they can be used to track and monitor an object’s whereabouts by leveraging a unique identification code. This is where RFID or Radio Frequency Identification Code comes into play.
RFID tags are used to mark objects so that manufacturers, as well as service providers, can track their movements. This applies to all manner of products – apparel, accessories, toys, electronic gadgets, machine parts, beverages, and so on. Companies attach RFID tags with unique codes to mark each of the products that roll out from the factory, in order to be able to track their movements all across the globe, right up until they are purchased from retailers by customers. One of the most widely used technological applications of RFID is called RAIN.
A company named Impinj provides solutions for RFID (Radio frequency identification devices) as well as software for the same. The platform developed by Impinj connects everyday items to the internet, delivering digital life to the physical world. Impinj is helping companies around the world increase sales, improve efficiency, and deliver compelling experiences. If you’ve purchased apparel from a major retailer like Macy’s or Zara, run a race like the New York City Marathon, enjoyed a drink from a Coca-Cola Freestyle soda fountain, or checked bags at airports worldwide like Las Vegas McCarran then you’ve probably interacted with Impinj. Its platform enables wireless connectivity to billions of everyday items such as apparel, race bibs, golf balls, and luggage and delivers each item’s unique identity, location, and authenticity to business and consumer applications.
The company’s flagship technology is called RAIN RFID. It is a passive (battery-free) wireless technology system that connects billions of everyday items to the Internet, enabling businesses and consumers to identify, locate, authenticate and engage each item. RAIN RFID is used in a wide variety of applications, including inventory management, patient safety, asset tracking, and item authentication. RAIN is the fastest growing segment of the RFID market and uses a single, global standard: UHF Gen 2 (ISO/IEC 18000-63). RAIN has connected over 20 billion items to date.
The company has grown to become a leading provider of RAIN RFID solutions. Impinj’s platform comprising both hardware and software uses RAIN RFID to wirelessly connect everyday items to the internet, delivering digital life to the physical world. Impinj is helping companies around the world increase sales, improve efficiencies, and deliver compelling experiences.
Intelligent monitoring and tracking of goods
Retail competition is fierce, shoppers are demanding, and operations are more complex than ever. How can retailers focus their efforts on investments that are truly transformational and gain a competitive edge? Leading retailers are implementing RAIN RFID as a foundational technology to boost their bottom line through optimized store operations, engaging in-store customer experiences, and data-driven decision-making. The Impinj platform connects billions of items to applications, powering the Internet of Things and delivering accurate real-time inventory data. By adding RAIN RFID tags to individual items and deploying a mix of readers and gateways, retailers can deliver seamless shopping experiences and execute reliable omnichannel operations.
With RAIN RFID technology, retailers can achieve up to 99% accurate inventory data across stores and distribution centers, take inventory instantly without disturbing shoppers, and always know where items are located—reducing out-of-stocks and unnecessary markdowns. Through item-level data, retailers can continuously improve their operations, make critical business decisions with confidence, and enhance the customer experience—creating an advantage in today’s demanding retail market.
Smart tracking of healthcare equipment
Every healthcare enterprise is challenged to deliver the best possible patient care while reducing costs and improving outcomes. According to the Harvard Business Review, more than half of the healthcare executives surveyed believe their delivery model is in need of innovation and disruption to be competitive and successful in the future. Impinj Item Intelligence helps healthcare providers know where medical supplies, equipment, and staff are located at all times, keeping the focus on patient care and not on operational tasks. With Impinj healthcare solutions, hospitals and other medical facilities can save time, reduce inventory spend, and improve patient care – allowing clinicians to spend more time doing what they do best. Item Intelligence is the data that streams wirelessly from items tagged with RAIN RFID technology. It provides real-time, actionable information about each tagged item’s identity, location, and authenticity. Technical advances in RAIN RFID have lowered costs and improved tag performance, making adoption and utilization easier and more affordable.
Consolidating logistics and improving supply chain
As companies drive toward efficiency, they look to the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to automate and streamline their supply chain and logistics operations. Impinj Item Intelligence provides key information about the location of pallets, packages or individual items, such as parts and assets, as they move in, out, and through business. Impinj connects information about these items with existing software systems to automate the processes that run businesses. The Impinj platform provides Item Intelligence—real-time, actionable information about an item’s identity, location, and authenticity. Item Intelligence allows companies to automate processes for efficiency and make smart business decisions using quantitative information rather than guesswork. The Impinj platform uses RAIN RFID, a wireless communication technology that uses radio waves to identify and track items. RAIN RFID takes the barcoding concept and digitizes it for the modern world.
SLS smartPORTALs powered by Impinj, placed on points of transition, connects the systems running your shipping and receiving with real-time data about each item as they pass through dock doors.
Asset automation for Industrial manufacturing
As manufacturing transitions into Industry 4.0, it is essential that management retain full visibility into the location and utilization of industrial assets. Many organizations currently track these items via barcode or by hand—manual processes that can create blind spots and errors.
In today’s global economy, businesses need to know the location, inventory levels, and maintenance records of assets in real time so they can operate efficiently and effectively. Impinj RAIN RFID solutions automate the management of industrial manufacturing assets, helping you get the most out of your investment. RAIN RFID is an inexpensive, battery-free technology that wirelessly connects information about an item’s identity, location, and authenticity to business enterprise systems.
The NedCardMicroSON®-3 RAIN RFID packaged tag chip, featuring Impinj Monza R6-P endpoint ICs, combines IoT connectivity with advanced track and traceability in a rugged form factor designed for industrial applications. Manufacturers get a more accurate picture of their operations, from WIP to finished goods, and can use those insights to improve processes and workflows.
The MicroSON®-3 package solution can be embedded into industrial applications via a printed circuit board (PCB) or can be attached directly. Assets are tracked as they move in or out of rooms, and through your plant or facility. This lets staff see their location in real-time and gain visibility into equipment status for efficient, easy resource planning.
Tracking in the hospitality, food & beverage industries
Manually processing laundry items is a time-consuming and labor-intensive task which adds operational costs for laundry operators. It also is error-prone, potentially leading to item loss and increased costs for replacement of missing items. In addition, handling soiled hospital laundry risks exposing staff to infectious disease.
Impinj and Datamars offer a better solution: intelligent, automated laundry item tracking. The solution combines high-performance RAIN RFID chips from Impinj embedded into washable and durable Datamars laundry tags, along with Impinj Speedway reader systems to capture item data. It enables laundry services to quickly and safely count laundry items, improving efficiency, reducing errors and lowering costs.
The intelligent Impinj and Datamars solution helps hospitals increase laundry efficiency and improve health safety.
Reduced item loss
The challenge is that counting laundry items by hand is time-consuming and prone to error. Impinj and USTEK solve this problem with intelligent, automated laundry item tracking. The solution combines high-performance, RAIN RFID chips from Impinj built into durable, washable laundry tags from USTEK along with laundry management software from USTEK. It enables laundry operators to automatically and accurately count soiled and washed laundry items, increase throughput, reduce errors, streamline operations, and ensure accurate billing.
The Impinj and USTEK solution streamlines industrial laundry operations by automating item counting and intelligently tracking linen inventories. This generates more accurate data for receiving, shipping, and billing of laundry services.
Baggage tracking in air transportation
According to 2018 Air Transport Industry Insights: The Baggage Report, 5.57 bags are mishandled on average per every 1,000 fliers globally, totaling 22.7 million lost bags in 2017 alone.
Mistakes like this cost the air transportation industry $2.3 billion USD in 2017. In an age where consumers have more travel options than ever, the most successful airlines and airports will be the ones that track passenger-checked baggage in real time.
RAIN RFID lets airports and airlines accurately track bags from check-in, ground transfer, and on and off airplanes—delivering fast and accurate data about bags as they move through automated systems. Airlines can then share that information with their passengers to let them fly stress-free.
RAIN RFID luggage tracking solutions built on the Impinj platform locate and identify bags at every step of their journey, ensuring that the right items are headed to the right destinations every time. This information can also help airlines and airports identify bottlenecks and trouble areas for improved baggage handling and operational efficiency.
Meet the driving force behind the continuing success of Impinj
Chris is CEO, Vice Chairman, and Co-Founder at Impinj, an Affiliate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, and a Director of the RAIN RFID Alliance. Passionate about technology, Chris is a leading pioneer of RAIN RFID and the expansion of the Internet of Things to include tens of billions of everyday items. He has more than 150 issued patents, 69 scholarly publications, and has received numerous awards including EY Entrepreneur of the Year Pacific Northwest, EE Times/EDN Innovator of the Year, AIM Global Ted Williams Award, RFID Journal Special Achievement Award, and the IEEE Paul Rappaport Award. Chris earned his Ph.D. from Caltech and has over 30 years’ experience in computer and radio engineering.