We’ve talked about it before, but the ever-expanding Internet of Things (IoT) means that EVERY thing is quickly becoming connected in our world. However, many analysts are only estimating devices permanently connected to the internet, such as home automation, water pumps, and utilities. These analysts are collectively failing to realize that there is a whole other category of the IoT — items periodically connected by contactless technology — and that this can be done so incredibly cheaply that it increases the IoT from billions to TRILLIONS of items.
Contactless tags, such as NFC (near field communication) and RFID (radio-frequency identification), are becoming ubiquitous — meaning we can affix them to more and more items. The beauty is that those items do not need to be permanently connected to the Internet — you can connect them for just a moment to pull or push data to or from the cloud, and then continue to conduct your business offline. Simple.
An incredibly cool example of this technology is Identiv and SteadyServ® Technologies’ customized iKeg™ NFC Tag. The iKeg system is a mobile, SaaS-based inventory and order management system for the beer industry that provides real-time intelligence for retail establishment and distributor sales staff via an app for iOS or Android devices, in addition to a web SaaS portal. It provides retailers with up-to-the-minute visibility into their current inventory of keg beer sold, as well as consumption metrics for a particular brand of beer. The key to the system is the Identiv-customized iKeg NFC Tag, which conveniently attaches to a beer keg, similar to the way in which airline baggage tags are attached to checked-in luggage.
In the beginning of April, Steve Kremer — Co-founder and Director of User Experience at SteadyServ Technologies — joined Identiv at RFID Journal LIVE! in Orlando, FL, where we demoed the iKeg system. “In partnering with Identiv to create our iKeg system, we aim to ensure that you get your beer in the right place at the right time,” Steve said. “We want to simplify the lives of all the hard-working people in the beer industry. After all, wanting and having your beer are not the same thing.”
When asked by Network World’s Ann Bednarz to contribute to her article on “Fave Raves: 33 tech pros share their favorite IT products”, Steve highlighted Identiv’s RFID inlay. Here’s what he had to say:
SteadyServ is reinventing the draft beer inventory process. Our goal is to make sure bars and restaurants never run out of draft beer. We needed a partner who could help us invent an inventory tagging system to store the beer name, brewer, born on date, and other info in an RFID tag attached to a keg. Identiv was that partner. It has the needed short range write/read capability that was needed for our application. It also has the memory we need for the data we have to store. It can be embedded into a paper/poly “airline luggage” label that can be printed for each keg.
All 33 tech products highlighted in Network World’s slideshow are worth the hype. Take a look at the others here.
To learn more about how Identiv ensures trust in all things, even everyday items like your favorite keg of beer, check out our SteadyServ case study.