Your Air travel experience is going to become much better than ever!

Blog 7_ Aviation photo


If there is one sector which has to operate at the apt confluence of time, money, comfort and safety – its aviation. It is, thus, a no-brainer that the only way to attain maximum productivity for the Aviation sector would be by leveraging technology. The quest for leveraging technology has led to a revolution in civil aviation. The stakeholders, be it the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as Boeing and Airbus, the Maintenance and Repair Organisations (MROs) and the airlines themselves,  have embraced RFID to improve processes, efficiency, turnaround, and, above all, safety, – all adding to making air travel a pleasurable experience. It is important to understand that the activities involved in making every flight a safe and pleasurable experience in nothing short of a mission critical project. Let’s delve a bit into this.

The beginning of a revolution

  1. The global airline industry has been formally working on the implementation of RFID technology since 2003 and decided to leverage RFID in two definable heads – flyable areas and on the ground activities.
  2. The initial success in the use of RFID in the aviation sector came from “one the ground” areas. It was within the confines of the airlines operations and gave them the freedom to define how to leverage RFID. For example: Airbus has been using RFID for more than a decade now for multiple internal processes such as identifying and tracking the expensive jigs that are used to transport aircraft components or for kit tracking from logistics areas to final assembly areas or even tools tracking so that they are available when needed. RFID could also be used to track the automated production progress and OEMs like Airbus saw clear return on investment (ROI) by employing RFID into their processes. The flyable arena was still a challenge. Boeing and Airbus decided to address this together by talking to multiple airlines and explaining the significant benefits of RFID. They even began tagging flyable parts of their 787 aircrafts. This began the revolution in RFID and the results in terms of efficiency, cost savings, time saving and better service is still “ work-in-progress”.

How does RFID impact OEMs and MROs?

  1. The airline value chain is very complex. With RFID, the OEMs were able to track the manufacturing, ensure process automation and be in control of logistics of critical parts to the final assembly. In 2012, Airbus announced it was expanding its RFID activities across its entire fleet. All seats and life vests on new A320, A330, and A380 aircraft were tagged with permanent RFID tags starting 2013. By tagging these items, it did reduce the time required for safety check and inventory activity from hours down to minutes.
  2. The use of RFID has immensely benefitted the MROs. RFID technology is being deployed across the civil aviation industry to undertake maintenance tracking to inventory management, asset management to materials monitoring and tracking and management of tools and optimum utilization of manpower. Today, airline companies which have successfully deployed RFID are already realizing benefits such as improved utilization of material, tooling and manpower, reductions in scrap material, improved inventory turns, real-time work in progress visibility enabling effective management and most importantly, enhancement of efficiency across the value chain. Companies which appreciate the data generated and stored by use of RFID tags across devices are able to go one step ahead and leverage the power of data analytics to further improve efficiencies and operate at better margins.
  3. The MRO operations at the back-end can be undertaken much faster by the use of RFID. A commercial aircraft is checked and maintained before and after each flight, on the ground and inside the cabin. RFID enabled MRO systems are used for :-
  4. Tracking tools, equipment and maintenance schedules and to notify service personnel about unchecked or recalled components. They also closely track and replenish replacement parts and scan safety equipment quickly.
  5. The ground staff checks the passenger cabin and each seating area for the required safety equipment and verifies if the number of life jackets, masks, oxygen containers and other critical items is accurate.
  6. The RFID applications enables the staff to verify and update  Maintenance Records and track when tools are checked in and out..
  7. With RFID enables assets and integrated MRO systems, real-time inventory management is seamless and enables audit trail of tool usage. It enables faster turnaround time while ensuring adherence to safety compliances.
  8. The MRO spends is expected to be to the tune of US$80B by 2020 and exceed US$100B by 2025. This would lead to a lot of spending on technological innovations including RFID, IoT and wearables. Europe accounts for almost one-third of the $36 billion global commercial and regional/business jet MRO market. Based on a 4.7 percent per annum growth rate, the world market for civil aircraft above 80 seats could be worth up to $1600 billion over the next 20 years.
  9. Based on the above facts, two things stand out –
  10. A) The need for having RFID enabled MROs across the world, especially India which, according to KPMG, will be the third largest aviation market in the globe.
  11. B) The second is the need to reduce waste across the supply chain from manufacturer to the end user. The aerospace industry across the globe accounts for an estimated waste of material is to the tune of over $50B which can be drastically brought down with the use of RFID which enables OEMs and MROs to ensure that inventory turns are kept to the minimum, thereby enabling maximum operational efficiency.

What are the business benefits?

  1. The business benefits using RFID are evident. OEMs such as Airbus witnessed a marked reduction in requirement of capital assets and stock reconciliations, and an increase in labour productivity and supplier monitoring. With an improved supplier forecasting, Airbus achieved improved supplier delivery performance thus reducing the costs of production, maintenance and inventory. The results are leaner and more competitive business processes. For instance, Airbus reduced its incorrect deliveries by eight percent and also improved the flow of materials in 2006 by using RFID. It also saved 100,000 € annually compared to the 180,000 € one time investment costs, and reduced the repair cycle by 6.5 days, thereby improving inventory management.

How do Airlines benefit?

  1. In 2013, airlines mishandled 21.8 million bags, or 6.96 per 1,000 passengers, according to SITA, an aviation communications and technology company that tracks baggage performance each year. That’s less than half the rate in 2007, when airlines world-wide mishandled 46.9 million bags, or 18.88 per 1,000 passengers. The effective use of technology has contributed to this difference. Correspondingly, there have been tremendous cost savings in baggage handling and more importantly, stark reduction in lost baggage cases which will enhance customer experience.
  2. RFID will usher in the following key characteristics for airlines:
  3. The most important aspect of air travel is safety. It cannot be compromised at any cost. Hence, airlines and MRO deploy their staff to check each and every critical flyable part of the airline. The quality check, though very important, is a time consuming affair. With human beings entering the equation to perform this crucial task, it becomes prone to human error as well. There are a number of components such as oxygen cylinders, first aid kits, physician’s kits, crash axe, safety cards, flash lights, megaphones, smoke generators, oxygen masks, fire extinguishers, lavatory items, life rafts, slide /slide rafts, life vests, seat belts, blankets, pillows, service carts that need to be checked before the flight takes off, every time.While checking this with a team of efficient human beings does take a lot of time, RFID can help check and validate these in seconds. This enables MROs and airlines to accurately monitor and verify if each part on the aircraft before each flight much faster than when it is done manually. The airlines can thus turnaround faster and fly more passengers to and from cities.
  4. With RFID, the asset and inventory management and tracking can be error-free. In fact, in the area of tracking solutions, introducing RFID can translate into huge savings. RFID solutions also efficiently track of assets and inventory through all stages of the complex supply chain extending from manufacturers, through bonded stores and right up to the end users – followed by accurate cloud based maintenance management for the aircrafts. This enables airlines to always be in control of their assets which is very critical.
  5. Time Management.When the checking of its components and validation is done in seconds by the use of RFID, it frees up the bandwidth and enables better manpower utilization. This enables other checks and pre-flight arrangements to be done in time. Thus, the flights will take-off on time. The delays due to technical snag, operational issues etc. will be  avoided thus delighting the air travellers as instances of flights getting delayed for hours will reduce by a significant number.
  6. Efficient and cost-effective. By leveraging RFID, airlines and MROs will change the way they undertake maintenance, repair, inspections, overhaul etc. DolphinRFID is doing this in India in collaboration with Aman aviation. Technological update will enable airlines to put together an end-to-end RFID enabled supply chain. This will help airlines to spend maximum time in the air taking travellers to and from cities which will, in turn,  improve number of flights per day and air travel experience. Hence, the airlines will become more profitable. The cost benefits will ultimately be passed on to the end customer.

What does the future hold?

  1. With RFID setting up the bedrock for further innovation – specially growing into the IOT space- the airline industry would see the use of many sensor based solutions. With digital transformation leaving a distinct impact on the industry, the flow of data from machines to handheld devices would mean that the front-line staff would have ubiquitous access to critical information and hence time taken for maintenance and repair would reduce. This would also optimise the utilisation of manpower. The advent of wearables – supported by the power of RFID – will collate a lot of critical operational data data  for analytical models which can then churn insights that can increase efficiency across the value chain of the aerospace industry.

Let’s brace ourselves to embark into a world of seamless aviation experience powered by RFID.


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Safety and Security For Hotels with RFID Technology

Budget Hotels can now delight customers with a safe “stay at home” experience

India’s largest budget hotel chain has a tie-up with nearly 7000 hotels in about 250 cities in India. They have done this in three years of coming into existence and still have a large part of the market untapped.

While there are no clear statistics available, a conservative estimate would indicate more than 100,000 rooms being reserved in budget hotels (below the 4-star category) in India every day.

The Hospitality sector landscape

The hospitality sector and the players offering services around the sector focus on 4-star and 5-star hotels dominated by the Marriott’s and Hiltons of the world. They have over-time built an accepted list of equipment that takes care of the security and service levels. However, for every 4 or 5-star room, there are more than 10 rooms in the categories that fall in the 3-star or less category.

While the demand is great for the budget hotels due to exponential increase in tourism- be it religious, medical or leisure tourism – the single major concern for the tourists is security. For a tourist or any guest, secure accommodation is of paramount importance and if that can be given, there would definitely be an increase in use of such accommodation amongst the ever expanding “indigenous” tourist.

Security – a primary concern

While the major players in the 4 and 5-star categories have security locking equipment from the leading global hotel lock manufacturers such as Vingcard, Kaba and Onity, no such standardisation exists for the budget hotels. Again, there has been no concentrated effort by any lock manufacturer to try and address this area given that the known brands become unaffordable for budget hotels due to stiff entry barriers in the form of freight, custom duties and local taxes.

So, why are these hotels not ensuring a good locking system and losing customer’s trust in the bargain?

We did some research and found that luxury hotels leverage the government’s export promotion capital goods (EPCG) scheme to buy locks and offset it against their forex transactions. However, the equation completely changes when it comes to hotels which are in the 3-star category or less. They do not get the benefit of the EPCG scheme and with the import duty and value added taxes, they often have to shell out almost double the cost of the locks in INR thus pushing it way beyond the budget for most of the hotels in the budget hotels category.  As a result, the budget hotels still depend upon the traditional lock and key systems which are inherently not secure.

Dolphin Locks – a comprehensive safety & security solution

Imagine the potential of Indian hospitality and tourism sector if this primary concern of security is addressed. Dolphin has realized this need and launched RFID hotel locks which would not only ideally suit the budget range but also offer a comprehensive solution to these budget hotels by looking at both their security and energy management requirements in one stroke. To meet the varied requirements in this sector, three models of hotel locks have been launched as follows:

  • Asteria with a live LED display, not found even in the far more expensive brands. This lock is an ideal fit for higher graded hotels which have lesser budget constraints.
  • Vidala with a split finish look. Ideal for all levels of budget hotels.
  • Sleek with a fully waterproof body which allows the lock to be used in adverse conditions such as rain prone areas, sea front etc.

All the locks come standard with options for elevator control, access control for back-of-the-house areas and energy management switches which permit only the specific room programme card to switch on the power in the rooms. Audit trails are inbuilt in the locks for better security. The locks are suitable for both thin and thick doors.

All Dolphin Locks come with manual override option where a computerized manual key can open the room in case of any emergency or a battery dead situation. The keys can be individual for each room or a master key for the entire property. As the locks seamlessly integrate with property management systems such as Opera and IDS, it can be used by all types of hotels to address their safety and energy management.

With these locks, Dolphin is aiming to fulfil a huge latent demand in this market – a market which cannot be addressed by the big, established players such as Vingcard, Kaba,and Onity.

Dolphin locks offer much more

While safety and security of the guests is the primary concern that would be addressed through Dolphin locks, the add-on advantages as listed below make these locks a “must have” for the budget hotels as they handle key pain areas of the budget hotels.

Audit Trial: The hotel owners and administrators have often told us that they battle with managers who “sell” the hotel room for a few hours to their friends or acquaintances without recording the same in the system. An audit trial comprising information on who has entered the room, when and how many times during the day is vital for owners and the administration of such hotels. The Dolphin locks provide this audit trial and hence are a deterrent to malpractices and leakage. Audit Trails also help to solve tricky loss issues triggered by errant staff who pilfer guest belongings. It thus helps the hotel to maintain a good brand image.

No more duplicate keys: With Dolphin locks, the concept of duplicate keys is not required and hence, the occupants (tourists/ visitors) get an additional assurance about the safety of their accommodation. This leads to an increase in repeat guests and an improved bottom line.

Efficient energy management: The doors fitted with Dolphin locks can be opened using the RFID enabled card programmed for that door only. The same card (and nothing else) can be used to switch on the power in the room and with it the devices. Hence, if the card is taken out and there is no occupant in the room, power supply is cut off and loss of energy is minimized. Efficient energy management is the need of the hour in our country, especially in the Tier2 and Tier 3 cities where such hotels mostly operate.

Accountability and brand building: The hotel managers will have to issue the cards to the guests once the Dolphin locks are implemented. This would mean that the hotel rooms cannot be used for any nefarious activities without leaving an audit trial. The hotel rooms are hence much cleaner and well maintained. It will also create a good brand image for the hotel and would enable families to come and stay in the hotels thereby increasing bookings.

Pioneering RFID enabled locks for budget hotels

With security, energy efficiency, brand building and reputation management being the obvious advantages, Dolphin locks are poised to revolutionize the budget hotel segment in India. Even modest estimates would suggest that more than 80% of the tourists would prefer to use hotels which use electronic locks to secure their guests.

Why Dolphin?

With more than 22 years of experience as the sole distributors of Kaba locks in India, Dolphin is an established player in the field. Its own proprietary middleware and product expertise makes Dolphin an ideal partner for implementation of a comprehensive security and safety system for budget hotels.

Dolphin will be one of the few company in the world to serve all the hotel categories for electronic locks. Their experience and knowledge can be leveraged to enhance customer experience and ensure customer delight.

What is the future?

The RFID lock key cards can become a centralized means to access the services of the hotel. The cards can become a loyalty card wherein the incentives and freebies to the guests can be administered through the card. This card can be used at various POS enabled outlets within the hotel or for use of services such as gym, game parlours, massage parlours, swimming pools etc.

Thus, the key cards would play a vital role in enabling to track and manage assets of the hotel; it also gives information that can be used for better “linen and uniform management”, and also enable to open and close lockers for frequent visitors/ guests.

In the not so distant future, smartphones may not be required to open locks. Dolphin is aware of this emerging trend and has the capability to enable the guests to use their NFC smartphones to open the allocated door locks. NFC enabled smartphones can easily replace the use of cards as they are safe and secure and linked to a guest’s mobile phone.

If you are a hotel owner or administrator or even a guest frequenting tier-2 and tier-3 cities, I am sure you would have questions. I would be happy to address the questions that you mail to me at


Advantages of using RFID in Apparel & Footwear Industry

In the year 2012, Marks & Spencer (M&S), a London based clothing and merchandise retailer decided to extend its RFID- tagging to all general merchandise. A few years earlier, the company had taken the initiative to look at RFID technology to track and manage apparel. The above lines leave no doubt that RFID has enabled a renowned global retailer to enhance efficiency of its operations and increase business success.

Today, the apparel and footwear industry is not just looking at technology for operational efficiency, it is increasingly interested in augmenting the customer experience by leveraging technology.

Shopping Redefined

Do you have to go to a shop today to buy what you need? Or is it delivered home and you pay from your mobile phones with just a click? Today, the apparel and footwear industry has to be equally appealing at the online marketplaces as at its stores. Omni-channel presence is of paramount importance and the experience for customers across channels has to be seamless.

Operational Enhancements = Customer Delight

 I will focus on operational enhancements owing to RFID implementation in the Apparel and Footwear industry. Over the last five years, the use of RFID has seen tremendous growth in the Apparel and Footwear industry. The two major factors responsible for this are the realization that technology can add value throughout the supply chain and the rise of channels (internet, mobility, marketplaces) for consumption of these products.

There are definite perceivable advantages in using RFID technology and I would like to discuss them in the succeeding paragraphs.

 Better Inventory Accuracy:

 The inventory accuracy in normal operations of a manually run inventory management system or a barcode run system can be as low as 60% going to a maximum of 75%. The use of RFID enhances the accuracy to about 95-99%. This ensures that there are no stock outs, better production planning and management, optimum utilization of warehouses, better managed supply chains and most importantly, delighted customers.

 Reduction in Cycle Count Time

 The process of physically checking the inventory is usually done either once or twice a year. Each time this activity is undertaken, it takes many hours, even days at times. However, the results are still never accurate.

In contrast, an RFID based stock can be checked daily, within a matter of hours. All you need is a person with a handheld RFID reader. This optimizes the labour cost, enhances inventory accuracy, reduces shrinkages due to complete visibility of stock and hence enhances the entire supply chain planning and associated costs.

Reduced Inventory Carrying Costs:

With better inventory tracking, management and accuracy in count, the inventory can be rationalised and hence reduced. The production can be aligned with the consumption and hence inventory is maintained to the minimum. This reduces the inventory storage and carrying costs and hence contributes to a healthier bottom line.

Reduced Receiving Time:

With customers preferring to try out various omni-channel options available to them, the expectation in terms of delivery has also gone up. With RFID tagging, stocks needn’t be checked manually at every point along the supply chain. Thus, the time taken to order and receive the goods is drastically reduced. This reduces stock-out situations and also minimises lost opportunities for product sale. This results in enhanced operational efficiency and improved bottom line – both very critical parameters.

Improved Conversion Rate.

With drastically reduced stock outs and total visibility of the stock at all levels i.e. shop floor, back stores, distribution centres and the factory warehouse, there will never be an instance where the customers has to turn back because the right size or design is not available. If this is not customer satisfaction, then what is?

Increased Sales:

With total visibility of stocks, better managed supply chains and optimum inventory, the sales are bound to increase and hence the revenue. Studies with various retailers such as American Apparel, Bloomingdales , Marks & Spencer etc. have shown that the increase in sales after RFID implementations has been in the range of 4% to 21%.

Prevention of counterfeiting:

One of the major benefits of using RFID for branded products is the prevention of counterfeiting. With the advantage of unique identifier numbers, counterfeits can be easily identified and eliminated from the roots thus enhancing the brand value of the products. This is especially beneficial as it stops the counterfeit from getting through and reaching the customer. If it does, you will not only lose a customer for life but he may also influence a number of other loyal customers through the use of social media and other forums. Hence, by eliminating counterfeit products, RFID technologies enable to avert a potential PR crisis.

Theft prevention:

Shrinkages in the stock due to shop lifting by customers and also by the staff can be almost eliminated by use of RFID. Unlike the traditional EAS systems, UHF RFID tags serve both the purposes – inventory management at store shop level and also the EAS activity. Any unauthorised removal of stock from the stores is immediately detected and identified thus acting as a deterrent.

Data Analytics and strategic decisions:

If the data from RFID tracking is collected and studied, it can reveal trends, patterns and insights which can further improve operational efficiency and enable to make better strategic decisions. Big Data analysis is the future for the Retail industry in general and Footwear & Apparel in particular.

Implementation of RFID

 While the advantage of implementing RFID for Apparel and Footwear industry entities is evident, it is important to get it done in a structured and phase-wise manner.

The following steps will enable seamless RFID implementation:

  1. You should choose a company who has proven capabilities, is cost-effective and can implement RFID in a structured manner
  2. The company can first do a limited proof of concept (POC) covering the delivery centre and a couple of stores
  3. Once the processes are identified and implemented in a couple of stores, the lessons can be then be used to roll out the RFID over the complete network of the brand.

We, at Dolphin RFID, provide end-to-end solutions in RFID. Through the above steps, we can ensure a seamless RFID implementation for companies in Apparel and Footwear. We also provide best in class after sales service through the life cycle of the product. If you think RFID is the way to go, please do reach us out.

The objective of this blog and some of my subsequent ones would however, be to educate the users across industries on the benefits of RFID technologies. If you come across ambiguities while considering RFID for your business, I would be happy to have a detailed discussion.


RFID and Digital India

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Our honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the Digital India campaign last year. It is a visionary initiative to ensure last mile reach of services rendered by the government by improving the internet infrastructure and connectivity, especially in rural India.

While Digital India is a great beginning, I believe that RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) will play a vital role in successful implementation of the Digital India dream. RFID is the cornerstone of a digital initiative.

With RFID, identification of assets – both material and human – becomes cost-effective and easy. It further enables easy identification, information management etc. of goods and products that are transported across the supply chain thus bringing increased efficiency and effectiveness in our lives.  I would like to illustrate this with a few examples.

The Digital Parking System

The digital parking systems of the future will leverage RFID to enable communication between the parking lot and the vehicle owners. The RFID tag on the car ( now made compulsory by the Govt.) will communicate with the sensors in the parking lot to enable the car owners/ drivers to enter the parking lot and easily find available parking space indicated by LED’s controlled by ultrasonic sensors in the parking slots. Using a mobile application, the drivers can not only check for available space but also reserve the parking slot for themselves. This saves time and enhances efficiency for managing parking lots. It also enables the administration of the parking lot of malls, multiplexes etc. to have a clear data on the demand-supply equation and accordingly decide on differential pricing. This will enable them to earn better for the space offered. As the cities are always congested, vehicle owners can always check the nearby parking spaces, the cost at which it is offered etc. and reserve an appropriate parking slot.

Smart Village

One of the major initiatives of the Modi Govt is to create Smart Village to ensure that benefits of digitisation are available to the majority of Indians who reside in our villages. A combined use of the Adhaar Card and  RFID technologies can enable positive identification of an individual. This will be  the first step towards ensuring that the  services meant for the poor are actually received by them and is not pilfered by the middle man. It will thus ensure last mile reach of the Government’s services as well as the benefits and subsidies it intends to offer the rural population.

Public Distribution System

Public distribution system (PDS) is a joint initiative by the Indian state and central government to distribute essential commodities such as wheat, rice, and kerosene to people living in India through Fair Price Shops (FPS) at affordable price. It helps to eradicate poverty and ensure nutrition to the economically backward population. PDS can leverage RFID for a number of advantages including addressing mismanagement, corruption, and pilferage.

RFID captures accurate and detailed information at each stage of the supply chain. RFID helps PDS supply chain in collating the information on time of harvest of grains, the duration it was stored in a warehouse, packaging and transportation details, real-time tracking of the packaged grains and also point of sale information. By combining GPS technologies, RFID can track and save all relevant information about the packed commodities in transit.

By storing information on key parameters such as moisture content, product quality, date of harvest, packaging, transportation mechanism etc., the RFID tag passes relevant information at each stage of the supply chain thus, enhancing efficiency and reducing food wastage. This helps the nation to improve the health of its population and saves them from diseases, especially the ones caused by undernourishment.

Power distribution system

Electric power distribution system is another area where there is a lot of pilferage and unwarranted intrusions that may come from electricity generation to consumption. An efficient RFID system enables tracking of the system, collecting usage details and saving from unwarranted losses and thefts. A few uses of RFID technology in electric power distribution are as below:

  • RFID enables securing residential electricity meters by one time use RFID tagging, recording authentic data about the meters and monitoring them, thereby reducing theft
  • RFID improves service quality and productivity
  • RFID enhances speed of data collection on usage and distribution in a mobile environment
  • RFID tagging greatly enhances asset and inventory management thereby reducing cost of repurchase 

Toll collection systems

When a car enters the automated toll collection lane, a UHF RFID  reader in the toll booth constantly emits a signal which reads the passive tag on the car windscreen that enter the read field. The RFID tag wakes in response and flashes its EPC ID to the Reader.  This EPC ID is routed to the computer which matches it with the driver’s pre-stored information and deducts amount to his account appropriately. This not only saves time, it also enables both the vehicle owner and the administration of the toll to efficiently navigate and manage the toll respectively.

The way ahead

Digital is surely the way to go. The efforts we put towards Digital India initiatives are sure to reap rich dividends for us. We are at an opportune moment to ensure the use of RFID across all such initiatives helps India to enter the select group of advanced countries – forever shedding the tag of a developing country.



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5 Reasons for startups to embrace RFID technologies

  1. Startups have had a golden year in 2015. In India itself, a cumulative funding of over USD8Billion has been made available. There are eight startups with a valuation of over USD1Billion each. The growth for almost all these companies has been at a breakneck speed – most of them have been in existence for less than a decade.
  1. However, there are very few companies, if any, that are making profits. To keep competition at bay, these companies are rolling out discounts to customers and selling products at a break even or even at a loss. This will obviously lead to a failure by most of these companies. So how can these startups insure themselves against failure? Probably the most compelling methodology will be efficient utilization of available resources and maximizing its effectiveness to generate good return on investment.
  1. In this scenario one of the best emerging technologies to help startups harness their resources – both material and human- would undoubtedly be RFID. To corroborate my thought process, I spoke to a number of entrepreneurs to see if indeed RFID could help them be one of the “survivors” in the startup eco system. The aim of the interaction was to educate startup founders (mostly youngsters) on the use of RFID technology and its benefits and to dispel myths around RFID technologies and its implementation. This blog is a result of this interaction and  highlights the 5 key reasons for startups to embrace RFID technology.

A) Efficient Asset management. Whilst the cash rich startups buy new assets whenever the need arises, inefficient use of the same leads to over stocking of such assets. In recent studies it has been proved that the inventory of assets can be reduced by as much as 25% if RFID tags are used on the assets permitting an efficient tracking of the same and thus enabling maximum utilization of assets. For example, in hospitals it has been found that the number of mobile equipment quantities can be reduced just by being able to track equipment by use of RFID.

B) Make optimum use of available human resources. Startups are in a dynamic state all the time. The human resources are scarce and it is critical to make the best use of those available. For a start up doing mass recruitment, it will always happen that some employees take undue advantage of lax HR policies and wander away in working hours. RFID systems can ensure that employees can be efficiently tracked thus ensuring optimum productivity thus reducing the need to increase manpower. This becomes critical in the service industry where timely availability of services makes or breaks a startup.

C) Controlling the sellable inventory .  A good example of this is Justbooks, a Bangalore based startup for renting books. The company has automated some parts of one’s library usage, for instance RFID based unmanned kiosks. Owing to RFID tagging, JustBooks’ kiosks have the real time information about books (current owner/location of the book etc.) that helps them keep the cost low. The unmanned kiosk outside the library equipped with the Library Management Software (LMS) and the tag reader acts as a one-stop shop for all requirements of the reader, right from finding the book of choice to depositing it after reading. The LMS is mapped according to the layout of the library and is also linked with the inventory and back-end, which helps to point the exact location of the book. Due to effective use of RFID, JustBooks has been able to maintain optimum inventory, reduce cost of resources and track and manage its assets efficiently.

D) Automation and hence, less hiring: Startups cannot afford to hire people and teams for all activities. It is important to automate many processes, especially non-core ones. Efficient tagging and maintaining of assets and inventory and generating reports for senior management can all be automated by efficient use of RFID. Smart startups, especially in sectors such as logistics, food delivery can use RFID based tagging and reports to not only optimize their operations but also serve their customers better. It also enables startups to hire less people at the beginning and hence saves time and effort on administration and human resource management.

E) Leveraging Data Mining for better decision making: By effectively using RFID technology, startups are able to access and gain invaluable business relevant knowledge by Data Mining. The RFID generated data can be analyzed by startup’s to understand patterns and insights on usage of resources and map the return on investments. With effective use of Data, startups are able to alter strategies and make better decisions. This enhances the probability of their success and helps them to grow much faster.

  1. It would be evident from above that RFID can actually address the top reasons why startups fail. The natural next question is if it is worth the investment for startups. As a keen student and practitioner of RFID technologies, I would urge startups to think of RFID as an investment which can yield short term benefits in automating operations and long term returns by effective Data Mining. It also gives clarity on the execution at the ground level and efficiently aligns strategy with execution. This enables startup’s to sharpen focus on revenues and profits and thus, attain profitable growth.
  1. I would invite your comments, especially if you are a startup founder or part of a startup team, on this blog and would be happy to engage in a discussion on why RFID is not an expensive technology given its great ROI and how startups can implement RFID technologies efficiently and cost-effectively.

Difference between barcode and RFID

Before we begin, I would love to revisit the concluding part of our introductory blog. Our objective of creating this blog is to provide:

  1. Correct and accurate knowledge on various aspects of RFID
  2. Simple and easy-to-understand presentation of knowledge on RFID with examples from daily life
  3. Opportunity to discuss and learn more about RFID from our experts

I believe to provide correct and accurate knowledge, it is important to start from the basics. With RFID and Barcode being used extensively in conversations (many a times, interchangeably), we believe we should make an attempt to educate our users on the difference between Barcode and RFID. We will do so in an easy-to-understand manner as promised.

What is a barcode?

Imagine standing in a queue at a supermarket. You may have bought a lot of things. You reach the teller after standing in the queue for quite a while. The teller holds the bar code scanner in his hand and swiftly fetches the pricing data for each item. The price of each item is captured in the computer in front of him and he gives you a final bill within minutes.

If one of the items cannot be scanned, you may have to go back into the supermarket and fetch another unit of the same thing.

What was being used here and how was the data read? Every item that you put into your cart has an attached barcode. A barcode is a series of black lines with data stored in them. The scanner that the teller places on the barcode reads this data and converts it into a numerical equivalent which you see on the tellers screen.

Now, consider a warehouse which has 400 boxes of goods. Is it possible to tag each item with a barcode? Then, when the data has to be read, scan each box with a barcode and collect the data. It is possible for sure but the question to be asked is – Is it efficient?

Wouldn’t it be easier if there was a mechanism which could transmit data stored on or in each of these boxes and a reader could collect the data much faster?

That is exactly where RFID comes in.

Tell me a bit more – How does RFID work?

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) uses radio waves to retrieve the data stored in a tiny circuitry on each object. The circuit is neatly stored with protection (often in the goods/ tagged item). Radio waves can pass through solid objects, meaning no line of sight is necessary in getting the data. Since line of sight is not required (you do not need to hold the scanner right on top of the RFID tag on the object to scan data), the process is automated and can read anywhere between 40 to 100 tags in a second.

Imagine the power of this technology by thinking that you bought about 50 items in a supermarket and it was placed on the counter. Your happiness would multiply if the items were scanned in 2 seconds and the bill was ready for you. Won’t it?

Over and above the obvious efficiency advantage, there is a lot more that distinguishes RFID from barcodes. A gist is as below:

Advantages of RFID over Barcode

  1. No Line-of-sight required to read Data
  2. Simultaneous and multiple Tag reads – 10’s to 1000’s within seconds
  3. Works in harsh environments(compared to bar-code / optical technologies
  4. Can be read through clothing and non-metal items thus negating need to open boxes for counting

The  advantages of RFID in a scenario like a warehouse are best illustrated as follows:

rfid pic

Empowerment:  The investment one makes in RFID is worth because it is durable. It is much better protected, and can be attached inside an item in transit so it can be read in any environment. This enables RFID to provide real-time insights, even while items are in transit or stored at distant location, which empowers seamless decision making.

Security: RFID tags are difficult to replicate. Data in the tags can be encrypted, password protected, and the tag can be completely formatted if required, so information stored is as secure as desired. However, a barcode can be tampered with or counterfeited without much effort hence it is not  secure. RFIDs can also send triggers to alert the accountable people in case of an unauthorized entry or access. Thus, it becomes highly useful in preventing thefts and loss due to events such as pilferage.

Is RFID worth the investment?

One of the key questions is whether RFID is worth the investment. We believe one needs to look at a long term view here. RFIDs obvious advantage over barcodes is accepted. The adaptability is easy if the mindset is to tweek our processes, bring more orderliness in tracking or assets, inventory etc. The value from storing all the required information, analyzing it to make better business decisions and avoiding losses due to pilferage by systematic information storage as well as event triggering (alerts sent when an unauthorized access to a product is observed) is immense.


If we have explained the difference clearly, our objective is achieved. However, if there is still any ambiguity with adoption of RFID, we are open to deliberate. Please drop a comment and we will be happy to engage with you.


Why should I read this blog?

There are millions of blogs on the internet. There are many posts, articles, white papers and material to read on our area of interest – Radio Frequency Idenfication (RFID).

Why should one read our blog, then? A very valid question and we endeavor to give a compelling answer in the next few lines as well as through all the subsequent blogposts that you will read here.

While we are in the business of RFID, we do not want to hard sell it through a blog. Our aim is to ensure that every person, whether he is a layman or an entrepreneur, should have a source of correct information about RFID, its uses, and its advantages. We wish to dispel all myths about RFID in a slow and steady manner. But, why would this be required?

This is because we, at Dolphin RFID, believe that good business decision are based on accurate knowledge and research. We want to ensure that one ventures into using RFID technologies only if she/he is completely convinced on the value it can bring. As a pioneer in the RFID space, we believe it is our responsibility to make this accurate knowledge repository available ubiquitously to one and all.

If we make this available, does it help bust all the myths and misunderstandings about RFID technologies?

We believe this would be only step 1. The next step is to ensure that we present this knowledge in a very comprehendible manner. We wish to give examples from one’s daily life so that our readers can visualize and understand the impact of RFID technologies on their daily lives.

Last but not the least, we want to ensure interactions, deliberations and discussions. We are confident about our domain knowledge and expertise. We are sure that even if we build the best possible knowledge repository on RFID technologies, readers of our blog are still bound to have questions and would want to discuss it with experts. We want to facilitate a platform for our readers to discuss their queries with our experts as we consider it our privilege to educate any person willing to learn more about RFID technologies.

To sum up, our readers can expect the following from this blog:

  1. Correct and accurate knowledge on various aspects of RFID
  2. Simple and easy-to-understand presentation of knowledge on RFID with examples from daily life
  3. Opportunity to discuss and learn more about RFID from our experts

RFID technologies is much more than our business. It is our passion and we want to make this blog a temple of accurate knowledge which we will worship perpetually!