What is a Smart Label..
A smart label is a paper thin identification label similar to those you may use on your products, cases or assets, the “special” feature about this product is that the label includes a user programmable silicon chip which can be used to store unique information about the product to which it is attached.
The information stored on the chip in the label can be updated and/or modified as often as necessary therefore eliminating the need to apply a new label. The label also includes anti-theft functionality, which offers security and theft prevention technology for the retailers.
Smart labels receive their energy from a reader which emits a radio frequency, this radio frequency enables the chip to communicate its information back to the reader and on into the computer system to which it is attached – automating the process of data collection and data entry in a single, passive operation.
Unlike a barcode, ICODE smart labels do not need to be seen to be read, as the information is communication using radio frequency instead of optical recognition.
We are all aware of the traditional barcodes that we are used to seeing on the products which we buy in grocery stores, on clothes and CD’s and on the packages and product shipments that pass through our business on a daily basis. I think it is fair to say that barcoding and barcode technology has been pushed to its limits and as a result, there has been an emerging need from businesses for new technologies which will enable new business processes to be carried out as a means to improve company efficiency, customer satisfaction and competitive advantage – and all at an acceptable price.
Philips Semiconductors have defined a number of strategic market sectors for I.CODE smart-label technology. These are:
In the retail supply chain, three major challenges have to be met all at the same time… product marking and identification, prevention of theft and counterfeit protection.
All of these requirements are integrated on a single I.CODE chip, which is the heart of every smart label.
The label can be applied into the product directly by the manufacturer, identifying the manufacturer, product type, batch number and a digital signature to prove the genuineness of the product. This type of information can be unalterably locked in the I.CODE chip and will remain with it as a unique “fingerprint” for the life of the products.
As the goods arrive into a warehouse or distribution centre the cases can be read revealing the unique product information of each of the unique products inside the case enabling very tight and accurate inventory control.
At this point the security function of the smart label can be turned on to offer theft protection from the warehouse and at all stages up to and including the point of sale.
Libraries and video stores face significant challenges for storage and inventory control. Millions of books and videos on shelves need to be conveniently accessible and at the same time protected from theft.
Accurate inventory needs to be immediately available and the checking process should be a simple efficient operation, I.CODE meets these challenges and offers fast inventory control and checking of availability passively there is no need for manual checking of book availability.
Books or videos at the checkout desk can be simultaneously read and stock systems can be updated automatically once the customer authentication has taken place. The security function of the label can be automatically deactivated at this point and immediately re-activated when the item are returned.
With I.CODE, it is possible, for the first time, for product authentication to take place with a low-cost universally accepted technology.
This feature will especially offer significant benefits to manufacturers of products that are prone to counterfeit, such as clothing, jewellery, watches, spirits and wines, videos, software, music and even computer hardware components. All of these industries have been significantly damaged from product counterfeiting , re-packaging and re-labelling.
I.CODE can replace certificates (which are also prone to counterfeiting), seals, holograms that are currently widely used to try and prevent counterfeits penetrating the market.
I.CODE is the most advanced smart label technology available today for smart labels. It has been developed in close conjunction with end-users and systems integration experts to ensure the best price versus performance ratio.
With I.CODE, it is the first time that RFID technology is available at a price which will challenge the applications that traditionally have been associated with barcoding.
The benefits to be had from I.CODE smart labels can be summarised as follows:
- Highest automation of the item scanning process
- No line of sight necessary
- No need to singularise items to differentiate them
- Maintenance fee – suitable for harsh environments
- Offer the combined functionality of barcodes, security labels in one label
- Accurate inventory through automated control
- Unique product information attached to produce for life
- At source identification of product authenticity
I.CODE SMART LABELS AND YOUR BUSINESS
– the result is improved competitive advantage, customer satisfaction and more accurate and efficient processes for your entire company.
For more information about Philips’ I.CODE Smart Labels, please contact:
Saleem Miyan Business Development Manager Smart Card and Smart Label ICs and Contactless Identification
Philips Semiconductors Limited
276 Bath Road
DDI: +44 (0) 208 730 5151
Fax: +44 (0) 208 730 5169
GSM: +44 (0) 790 167 0522