The Marriage Of RFID And EAS
By Matt Pillar, Editor In Chief
With the union of RFID and EAS, retailers will see enterprise-wide efficiency gains, savings, and application creativity.
This afternoon, I'll attend a RILA LPAS (Loss Prevention, Auditing, and Safety) Conference breakout session with Patrick Javick, director of industry development with GS1 US. The topic of the session is RFID-based EAS, a cross-disciplinary integration of technology that's taking place right now and that I predict will become one of the "poster children" of successful retail technology integration.
Last week, I spoke about the topic with OATSystems' Alan Sherman for a Q&A that will publish in the June issue of Integrated Solutions For Retailers. Sherman's perspective is from the "inside" of this integration, as OATSystems is an RFID company that, by no coincidence, is owned by EAS powerhouse Checkpoint Systems. It's no coincidence because Checkpoint recognized the confluence of these technologies a few years ago when it acquired OATSystems, and the combined entity has been working on the integration of the two technologies ever since.
RFID has made great headway, specifically in apparel, in recent years. It already plays an important LP role in the supply chain, where pinpoint inventory accuracy is helping to reduce supply chain shrink. In the drug and retail industries RFID has also dramatically minimized counterfeiting and has helped LP investigators and law enforcement agencies chisel away at ORC and fencing operations. Its value has yet to be fully leveraged in stores though, where traditional EAS systems have bore the brunt of the anti-theft work.
RFID will enhance EAS by applying a layer of intelligence to the equation. Traditional EAS is a theft deterrent, but it can't give retailers real-time insight into what's being stolen, how the theft of that merchandise has impacted stock position, and how quickly that lost stock can be replenished. RFID enables real-time reporting on all of that.
As Sherman points out, RFID also enhances EAS by allowing retailers to assign specific alarms and response levels to unique theft incidents. With standalone EAS, a tagged pair of $50 earrings sounds the same alarm as a tagged $800 dress. RFID would enable retailers to assign different alarm levels — and therefore different response levels — to high-value and high-quantity theft events.
I'm looking forward to learning more about the convergence of these technologies this afternoon. I'll take notes and, with Javick's permission, report back on his presentation. In the meantime, let me know if you're experimenting with the integration of RFID and EAS — shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.