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Silicon 70 2020

Enabling digital life for everyday items with wireless item-to-cloud connectivity: Impinj


IoT bridges all devices including home appliances, software, electronics, and other gadgets by facilitating in exchange of information. It has invaded various industries by creating connected automobiles, smart homes, smart hospitals, and, smarter industries. When the physical world is bridged with the digital world, things will turn easier and makes the work completely automated. In a smart home, you can switch on the AC, switch off the lights, bake the oven and even unlock your doors for the friends or family by just using your mobile device.

If you’ve purchased garments from a top 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 allows 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.

Impinj is a leading provider of RAIN RFID solutions. Its 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.


Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a form of wireless communication that uses radio waves to identify and track objects. RFID is a generic term that encompasses different frequencies and standards which include both NFC and RAIN – two technologies that are supported by industry alliances.

RAIN RFID 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. By providing internet connectivity to and real-time information about everyday items such as apparel, medical supplies, automobile parts, food, and more, RAIN RFID enables the true Internet of Things.

How is RAIN RFID helpful?

RAIN RFID has the capacity to both greatly enhance and protect the lives of consumers while revolutionizing the way companies do business. It is a flexible, low-cost solution, making its use appealing to a wide range of industries—from retail to healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment, and hospitality. RAIN RFID helps:

  • Automate inventory and asset-tracking in healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and business sectors
  • Identify the source of products, enabling intelligent recall of defective or dangerous items, such as tainted foods, defective toys, and expired or compromised medication
  • Prevent use of counterfeit products in the supply chain
  • Improve shopping experience for consumers, with fewer out-of-stock items and easier returns
  • Provide visibility into the supply chain, yielding a more efficient distribution channel and reduced business costs
  • Decrease business revenue lost to theft or inaccurate accounting of goods
  • Improve civilian security through better cargo monitoring at ports
  • Wirelessly lock, unlock and configure electronic devices
  • Enable access control of certain areas or devices

Impinj software provides data services and systems management for employing and managing RAIN systems and connecting RAIN data to business and consumer applications. The company’s connectivity devices are reader chips, readers, and gateways that wirelessly identify, locate, authenticate, and engage RAIN endpoints.

Omnichannel retailing: Omnichannel retailing is about selling products when, where, and how your customers want to buy—but you can’t sell what you can’t see. The cornerstone of a successful omnichannel operation is real-time inventory visibility that provides accurate information about products in all your stores, distribution, and fulfillment centers.

With real-time inventory visibility from the Impinj platform, omnichannel retailers can efficiently sell inventory distributed across all of their retail locations.

Air Transportation: 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 Expert

Chris Diorio is the CEO, Vice Chairman, and Co-Founder of 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. He has also received Packard, Sloan, Presidential, and ONR fellowships. Chris earned his Ph.D. from Caltech and has over 30 years’ experience in computer and radio engineering. A fan of all things fast, Chris has the biggest smile on his face when racing his car around a track.

“Organizations around the world use the Impinj platform to connect items to applications, enabling the Internet of Things.”