AIDC Vertical Applications Flourish
(Tampa, FL) — Solutions providers attending this year's AIM Showcase and Channel Forum were treated to many discussions on how to grow their businesses using AIDC (automatic identification and data collection) technologies. Data capture and RFID (radio frequency identification) application development is where VARs are finding the greatest sales opportunities, and several sessions provided actionable information related to building those types of solutions.
Healthcare was highlighted as a vertical market where solutions providers can grow sales with applications such as those for pharmaceutical and patient tracking. Bar codes can be used to follow patients from admission through discharge, including all the procedures administered during their hospital stay. For example, nurses may use bar code technology to verify that proper doses of medications are administered. Solutions providers can develop solutions to route this information to financial or medical records systems, as well as generate sales from bar code readers and printers, media (wristbands), and wireless systems.
Another AIDC healthcare opportunity for VARs concerns the attachment of RFID tags to pharmaceuticals. "This technology not only aids in the fight against counterfeit medications, but just as importantly, stops the diversion of medications to the United States from Europe and Africa [countries where similar drugs are sold at lower prices]," said Paul Chang, worldwide manager of sensor and activator strategy for IBM. VARs can develop a variety of applications in this field, including RFID pharmacy solutions for inventory and authenticating received shipments. Solutions also can be implemented in the pharmaceutical manufacturing plants to affix the tags. As with other complex technologies, assessment and support services for RFID implementations are where profits are generated and where VARs can truly differentiate themselves.
Healthcare was only one of the vertical markets discussed at this year's AIM event. Other sessions highlighted the opportunities in retail, manufacturing, and port security, with marketing and business analytics tracks also included.