‘Yes we have that size in stock’ – PervasID RFID system designed to increase sales

Many sales are lost because the shopper can’t find the size she wants, even though the item might be available in the stockroom. PervasID, a University of Cambridge spin-out, is launching the world’s first cost-effective and near 100 percent accurate, wide area passive RFID system for retail densely populated tag environments, which will automate real-time inventory management and stock control and remove the need for handheld readers.

Passive tags currently used on clothes and other items are cheap and don’t need batteries, but have a reliable detection range of only 2-3 metres and so require the shop assistant to check each tag with a handheld reader. The next generation PervasID system, Space Ranger 9100, uses a network of antennas located discreetly at intervals across the shop floor and stockroom. A single RFID reader can cover up to 400 m2 with almost 100 percent detection accuracy, capable of easily scaling to a large building, allowing automatic monitoring of nearly all the tags and constant update of stock control. The system is well structured and compact and can easily accommodate unusual store layouts.

Space Ranger 9100 provides greatly extended coverage area compared to its current reader, reducing the required number of readers by an average of more 60 percent, while installation cost is slashed by more 70 percent. PervasID is also launching Gate Ranger 9100, a portal reader for strategic locations, such as entrances and exits and loading areas. This provides highly accurate portal solution with tag direction capability.

Low cost, long distance sensing of passive RFID tags is an unmet need in the retail and logistics industries. PervasID offers a new approach that facilitates a move towards the ‘Internet of Things’ while offering potential for a significant return on investment in the short term.

Victor Christou, CEO of CIC

The PervasID system is particularly beneficially for high street shops that have large and complex stock with a rapid turnover such as department stores, clothes and shoe shops. It maintains records of stock levels, alerts shop assistants to popular items that are selling fast and gives information about other branches that have the item available. The company has secured several customers including a major blue chip retailer which has been trialling the system, and has installed PervasID Readers in a ~4,000 square metres retail store with ~100,000 tagged items. The system covers intake, storage, sales and fitting room areas over two floors.

Dr Sithamparanathan Sabesan, co-founder & CEO of PervasID, says the system can provide intelligence to drive up sales. He says: “An advantage of having readers located on the ceiling is that movement of items within the store can be monitored in real-time – highlighting clothes that are not displayed on sales floors, clothes that are tried on but never purchased, collections of items selected together, and tracking how the shopper moves through the store. All of this can be used to help the retailer improve the shopping experience. It also offers opportunity for up-selling by suggesting companion items and alternatives based on success with other shoppers.”

The core technologies underlying PervasID’s new products were developed by a team in the University of Cambridge Engineering Department and commercialised through Cambridge Enterprise, which has worked with the founders since 2009. Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds led a £720k investment round for PervasID, which was announced in October 2016.

Gillian Davis, Cambridge Enterprise Technology Manager, said: “It is absolutely fantastic to see PervasID move into the next phase with their company. The founders have worked on this so hard.” The potential for the PervasID system has been recognised by Victor Christou, CEO of Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC). CIC invests long-term, ‘patient capital’ into companies in the Cambridge cluster, including PervasID, that have disruptive technologies and the potential to become significant players.

Christou says: “Low cost, long distance sensing of passive RFID tags is an unmet need in the retail and logistics industries. PervasID offers a new approach that facilitates a move towards the ‘Internet of Things’ while offering potential for a significant return on investment in the short term.

“The retailers that we have introduced to PervasID are excited by the potential of the technology to boost sales in their high street stores.”

The new Space Ranger 9100 will be on show at the RFID Journal Live! Europe on 10 November 2016. This EPC Gen-2-compliant ultra-high-frequency RFID reader is based on its patented award-winning passive RFID reader technology to detect the passive tags within a distributed antenna system (DAS).

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