What’s New For Inventory Management

Attending the National Retail Show in NYC last week offered a chance to see some new products that will be useful for inventory management.

First up – The Panasonic Toughpad.  This device is real, handles well, and, in a word – NICE!   I had a chance to pick it up and play with it. Some of us are tactile learners –  I happen to like to handle electronics. This felt wonderful. It was visually appealing as well, remarkably so. But when you pick it up, you find it is balanced, comfortable, not heavy, but solid. Like you could throw it in the back seat of your truck and not worry about it. There was a large easy to read screen and nice rubber corners. I could easily see myself using this device for warehouse or inventory management or other on the work site needs.  Kudos to Panasonic!

The second cool inventory management technology was from InsideSecure.  They specialize in Product Authentication.  It uses RFID and NFC chips to identify and verify inventory.  It was demonstrated for me by Laurent Sanchez, VP, Applications & Ecosystems.    This company makes NFC tags that can be embedded in high end products such as expensive wine bottle labels, designer products and more. To demonstrate, Laurent tapped his NFC enabled phone against a specially tagged bottle of wine and it brought up a full page of content on the phone in a heartbeat.   Another use might be by someone wanting to purchase an expensive designer handbag.  They could tap their NFC smartphone on the label and it would verify authenticity very quickly – even to the point of knowing where the bag was located, and confirming the serialization of that item was were it should be. Given the problems with overseas counterfeiting today, there is guaranteed to be huge market for this.  The company also offers inexpensive RFID chips for inventory management of products not requiring the higher level of security of NFC.

A third item that worth the trip to NY was Stoplift.   This is a loss prevention technology capable of detecting items not scanned at the register. Very slick technology using video cameras snapped pictures of items that a cashier deliberately did not scan and sent them to a monitor where management could review.  Again, a state of the art concept for inventory management.  Visit their website to see an interesting video of how the technology works.

Lastly – the one company that totally dominated the show did not even have a booth there.  Apple!   Everywhere there were iPads and iPhones.  These consumer-based devices have been quickly adapted for the business world.  Will they hold up?  Time will tell, and any number of vendors will be happy to sell you cases to protect them.

Most major vendors seemed to be playing catch up to Apple’s offerings.  While inventory management has been the domain of bar code companies and specialists for years, it looks like a company outside the industry has re-written the playbook.    Frankly, it’s refreshing.

A few other photos of products at the show are below – including Motorola’s new tablet running Android, and the Square credit card reader.  I gave that one to my son who is a college student in NY, thinking it might inspire him to do something entrepreneurial.    It dawned on me later that giving him a credit card reader when he already had one of my credit cards, might not have been the smartest thing to do.    Not sure if the same thing that went through my mind has occurred to him yet.

 

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I scanned the girl. Did not win an iPad
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Square credit card reader sets up in five minutes!
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Motorola’s new Android powered tablet.

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