Sharing insight into the latest works with Chad Slining from the Research & Development Team
Q. How would you describe the evolution of RFID technology at InvoTech?
CS. Over the last 15 years, the technology behind RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) has evolved and InvoTech has kept pace with these improvements. Starting with single read HF (High Frequency) tags and readers, to longer range, faster response, multiple read, less obtrusive, and more accurate UHF (Ultra High Frequency) tags and readers, InvoTech keeps a finger on the pulse of RFID and welcomes new improvements to the performance, size, robustness, and cost of this amazing technology.
Q. Do you think that the UHF-RFID laundry tags will be cheaper, smaller and easier to apply?
CS. There are improvements on the way in the coming years but cheaper and smaller don’t always mean better. We stringently test and evaluate new products to verify that cheaper doesn’t affect longevity and smaller doesn’t sacrifice performance. As UHF-RFID usage becomes more widespread, costs will continue to drop and the direct inclusion of tags by manufacturers will be more prevalent, making their utilization in operations even easier and more of a ‘no-brainer’.
Q. Do you think that UHF-RFID tags will one day replace barcodes?
CS. The time and labor savings tracking and counting uniform and linen items is such an economy of scale larger than barcodes it is hard to justify barcodes at times. But when operations are such that a lower volume, lower cost solution is necessary, barcodes still hold an important job in the market. Take grocery shopping as an example, wouldn’t it be great to have your whole cart scanned instantaneously at checkout? This has been implemented but its widespread usage is still in its infancy because of costs and logistics. There is still a need for barcodes in certain situations.
Q. Related to the Uniform System, what is in your view the three most powerful features for users?
- Real-time inventory control – having an accurate inventory count is paramount in operational efficiency. Not running out of items and being able to forecast purchases correctly prevents service lapses and unnecessary costs. It may seem simple, but it is crucial, and we have been doing it for 25+ years. It’s what we do!
- Accountability of laundries, employees, and vendors – tracking item whereabouts and losses and in turn dealing with them appropriately helps with the bottom line and determining areas that productivity or processes can be improved.
- Labor savings and improved accuracy with UHF-RFID technology – with dazzling speed and elimination of human error, tasks can be performed more automatically and accurately than ever before. A job of hand counting laundry can be accomplished in minutes instead of hours and this means those hours can be used in other areas of the business.
Q. Are there any exciting, future developments that will be deployed in 2020?
CS. The Windows .NET Platform version of the Uniform System will continue to be rolled out and migrated to in 2020 and we are pleased with new features including improved UX (User Experience) involving a tabbed multi-screen layout, group rights for users, item definition images, and 64-bit compatibility.
Our new Android-based handheld readers are also a major improvement and the processing power and storage capacity of this device has opened the door for lots of new ideas. Clients really like using this tool with its larger touchscreen interface, superior RFID read sensitivity, and unit ergonomics.
Other deployments in 2020 include further installations of our Self-Issue Portal, which is an unattended automatic uniform assignment feature, interfaces with two new garment conveyor systems, and restricted item control, which is used to prevent certain items from leaving the client site.
There are also significant revolutionary developments on the way that must be kept under wraps for now. Much more to come…
Q. How many languages can the InvoTech System speak? And is there a limit to the languages that can be added?
CS. InvoTech is translated into 6 languages besides English currently (Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese). We are adding new languages all the time as our client-base requires. There is no limit as the system has been designed in such a way to allow new languages to be plugged in quickly and easily.
Q. Will there ever be an app for the uniform system?
CS. More mobile products are under development as we speak, and we are enthusiastic about these new features and methods to access your system while still providing the ease-of-use, security and efficiency you are accustomed to with InvoTech.
Alright! Back to work-