04/23/2014

How IoT Could Fuel the Next Generation of Data Capture and Asset Traceability

This past week has been all about Zebra Technologies’ acquisition of Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business unit and what it means for the global AutoID & Data Capture industry. You can download our latest research note, featuring a comprehensive breakdown of the deal, here. Zebra’s executives have consistently cited the Internet of Things or IoT phenomenon, powered by their home-grown, cloud-based software platform, Zatar, as the bridge to tie the company’s existing product portfolio with that of MSI’s. Given the buzz surrounding this topic, at VDC, we have put together a two-part blog series where we discuss IoT as a concept and Zebra’s big bet on Zatar, and enabling Enterprise Asset Intelligence. This is Part 1.

So, what is IoT all about? Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT), or Internet of Everything, is a web of connected devices that allows for remote monitoring and control. Sensors send off signals with information about asset location, identity, and condition that can be read by a supported device to enable enhanced visibility and monitoring. These supported devices can then relay signals in order to remotely control appliances and adjust their settings. IoT use is not restricted to supply chain traceability and monitoring; it has just as many uses in the consumer world as well.

Incorporating IoT and device connectivity in the enterprise world enables a wealth of new possibilities. Organizations’ networked IT infrastructure is no longer limited to PCs, laptops and data centers. Large-scale employee adoption of internet-connected mobile devices for personal consumption (smartphones and tablets, among others), has opened up the floodgates. With companies increasingly embracing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend where employees can use these personal devices for business purposes, this concept becomes integral to the IoT phenomenon. Specialized applications and websites give employees’ devices access to all of their company-specific needs. There is growing interest in deploying, managing, and securing these always-connected devices. Internet pervasiveness and the ability to embed sensing technology into all types of assets are helping drive IoT investments.

However, with IoT adoption comes concerns surrounding network security and data integrity. BYOD can be detrimental to employee productivity and many companies are skeptical of integrating it into their current business methods.  Security is another main concern, deterring organizations from fully committing to the “enterprise IoT”. Employee devices will have access to sensitive information and are more likely to be stolen or lost than devices that never leave the company premises. Personal devices are also likely to come in contact with insecure internet connections outside of working hours making them more susceptible to cyber attacks. Cyber security is a hot button issue, especially after the recent attacks on Target and Neiman Marcus, which prompted a Senate hearing on the subject. Companies will be wary to open themselves up to more attacks until IoT can be proven to have sufficient security measures in place.

IoT has already been integrated into our everyday life where security is viewed to be less of an issue. Smart devices can be turned into universal remotes for almost every device around the home. Consumers can start their car, brew a pot of coffee, change the temperature in their house, and turn on the news, all from their phone, for example. This form of IoT is viewed as less of a security risk, at least for now, because of the nature of devices (mostly household appliances) communicating with each other. Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest, a home automation company, is the biggest indication of growing interest and investments in the “in-home connected devices” paradigm.

From VDC’s vantage point, IoT has the potential to completely change enterprise as we know it on all levels – from source to consumption. It broadens the sphere of control for managers so they can see the real-time status of products as they make their way to the retail storefront. IoT can be a profitable investment for companies with its ability to improve inventory management lowering losses due to lost or misplaced goods, and by leveraging the BYOD trend to trim CAPEX. It is important for organizations to start strategizing on their vision for future growth and business sustainability, and how investments in IoT and device interconnectivity enablers can help them achieve their goals.

(With significant contributions from Jake Ferry, Research Assistant)

04/01/2014

Are We Getting Closer to a Scanner-less World?

Scandit, a mobile image processing and cloud computing software vendor headquartered in Zurich, has developed a platform that enables smartphones and other consumer mobile devices to facilitate enterprise-grade barcode scanning. The performance level of applications developed on Scandit is comparable to dedicated scanning devices, with respect to speed and in their ability to scan damaged and blurred barcodes. This platform has already been tested in Europe where several companies use applications developed on it. The company also recently announced that it has raised $5.5 million with its latest round of funding – an investment made by a small group of high net worth technology entrepreneurs.

Scandit’s SDK and its blurry barcode scanning capabilities are part of the company’s own intellectual property. What also sets Scandit apart from the other companies that have created barcode scanning platforms for mobile devices is the extent to which it is mobile OS-agnostic, its cloud capabilities, and the 24/7 total support that the company offers. Scandit’s platform can be leveraged for developing applications for every type of mobile hardware including wearable devices such as Google Glass and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch. Scandit’s unique data capture and storage makes it appealing to retailers. Applications developed on the Scandit platform can help retailers keep track of consumer shopping behavior, including what is being bought at home versus in store, top categories, top products, and the number of scans over a multitude of variables. All of this data can be uploaded to the cloud so it is immediately available for retailer use.

The versatility of mobile devices gives Scandit the possibility to work in all verticals. Scandit partners with app developers and integrators to provide businesses with applications designed for their needs, meeting their specific requirements. We see Scandit as having maximum impact in the retail vertical, serving customer-facing and employee-facing applications with a single device. This platform will be particularly beneficial to small business owners who can now build readily available consumer device-based point-of-sale applications without having to invest in expensive POS systems (and added peripherals) when they already own a smartphone. Businesses with low volume barcode scanning needs that want to give themselves a modern appearance will flock to consumer devices running apps built on the Scandit platform for in-store, customer-facing operations. Since this is essentially a software-based barcode scanning and data capture platform, retailers do not even need to invest in accessories like sleds and sleeves, which tend to alter the appearance of these devices.

Although there is potential for Scandit to rival existing barcode scanning solutions, we believe that this platform will be both complementary as well as competitive to them. VDC expects consumer device application developers to drive Scandit licensing. Retailers are keen to elevate customer engagement and service levels; by enabling customers to download in-store applications and use it for price checks, inventory management, and self-checkout, they achieve just that. While the existing range of self-checkout stations require customers to wait until the end of their shopping experience to unpack their bags and scan items, applications built on the Scandit platform will enable them to scan products right as they take them off the shelf, and before they place them in their shopping baskets, eliminating the process of unloading and reloading altogether.

From VDC’s perspective, the Scandit platform and others like it are a distinct threat to the dedicated enterprise device market. By empowering users to leverage the smartphone camera to scan barcodes and capture images just as efficiently as enterprise-grade scanners would, these application development platforms can also help business owners, regardless of revenue tier, to be part of the ongoing big data revolution. Success in the data capture market will henceforth be determined by vendors’ ability to be adequately agile in their sales and marketing strategies especially as demand shifts to historically untapped segments in today’s evolving enterprise environment.

03/24/2014

MODEX 2014: A Data Capture Analyst’s Perspective

Sponsored by the Material Handling Institute (MHI), MODEX is one of the largest expositions showcasing products and services targeted at the manufacturing and logistics verticals. This was VDC’s first time attending the show and it most certainly did not disappoint. Along with being extremely well attended, this event boasts a healthy exhibitor mix of hardware vendors, solution providers and integrators. As the AutoID & Data Capture analyst here at VDC, I had the opportunity to speak with some of the leading names in each of these communities, and learn their perspective on product innovation and market evolution. Here are some of my key observations:

Move over Laser. Camera-based solutions are here to stay.

One of the themes that stood out across the board is the growing popularity of camera-based solutions in logistics environments, and the growing use of these systems in conjunction with and as a replacement for laser solutions. Datalogic, SICK and VITRONIC had their latest and greatest imaging technology on display – both line scan cameras as well as area imagers – with the vendors showcasing their solutions’ ability to facilitate image capture and analysis in support of applications that will help logistics providers cut down on supply chain inefficiencies. These imagers will gain increased consideration as the need grows to decode a larger amount of data and capture information beyond what is printed on the barcode label. Aside from product identification (via barcode label scanning), these also have the potential to be leveraged for automating processes such as sortation, order fulfillment, claims management, damaged goods documentation, and merchandise returns. Traceability is now a basic necessity; enhanced operational visibility, including verifying the state of the product in real-time, will be critical success determinant. Establishing partnerships with the independent software vendor community will be crucial to addressing key customer requirements in this space.

Big Data in logistics – the need to enable cross-platform communication

Well-oiled supply chains are integral to delivering products cost effectively from source to consumption. Logistics providers are inundated with data coming in from a variety of different sources. There is a need to streamline the flow of products and information across channel, network and organizational boundaries. This is where integrators come in. My conversations with logistics automation solution providers like Vanderlande Industries and KNAPP indicate the importance of building leaner supply chains that ensure on-time delivery with minimal waste by trimming fixed and variable costs. Today’s demand-driven value chains stipulate technology investments that provide not just near real-time information, but also insight into unmet consumer demands. Leading integrators, servicing some of the largest logistics providers, are actively seeking ways to consolidate the data collection process, regardless of device type, and convert it into actionable business intelligence.

To enable dynamic, cross-functional supply chain collaboration, it will be essential for data capture technology vendors to ensure that their products integrate and communicate seamlessly with a wide range of solutions. I expect to discuss these themes and more in VDC’s upcoming research on the global markets for barcode technologies and machine vision solutions. Stay tuned!

03/06/2014

VDC Putting the Machine Vision Market into Perspective

VDC’s AutoID & Data Capture Practice has, over the course of the past two decades, established itself as the leading authority for our coverage of the global markets of barcode printers and scanners. On the scanning side, we have seen the market grow from being dominated by a handful of vendors selling laser-based technology to its present state where camera-based solutions rule the roost. Technology advancements, coupled with fast declining price points, are directly responsible for the explosive growth that imaging solutions have experienced over the past few years. Lines between purpose-built fixed-position camera-based scanners and complex, imager-based systems used in manufacturing environments are blurring like never before. These developments have all contributed to VDC’s growing consideration of a new technology landscape – a palatable target for extending our research capabilities and industry expertise – the Machine Vision market. We fully expect growing convergence between industrial scanning and machine vision solutions to drive vendors’ product and market development strategies going forward. In 2014, VDC will provide its premiere thought leadership, rigorous research practices, and analytical prowess to provide a foundation upon which vendors, distributors, and end-users alike can glean a thorough conception of the machine vision market space.

The composition of the machine vision market is, however, quite unique. Several hundred companies boast revenues of more than one million USD and a considerable portion of these companies fall within a narrow revenue range at the top. This competitive ecosystem along with a breadth of market demands and emerging verticals pose several questions that are top-of-mind for machine vision vendors: what drives the machine vision market’s severe fragmentation? What are the different customer classes and market clusters that vendors serve? Which verticals, if any, should vendors be targeting with their product offerings? How can vendors and their solution partners differentiate in this heavily fragmented environment? Our research will seek to provide thorough answers to these pressing questions. Additionally, we will explore machine vision services, product applications, vendor strategies, and key verticals to create a holistic snapshot of the market space.

If applications within the industrial/manufacturing vertical are driving machine vision system adoption, deployment and sales today, VDC believes emerging verticals hold the key to future growth. Vision technology is already making a splash in these new application environments. New distribution channels and partnerships will form as vendors seek to establish domain expertise outside traditional industrial sectors. Our non-industrial, emerging vertical analysis will include Transportation & Logistics, Security & Surveillance, Life Sciences, and Traffic Monitoring & Control to provide vendors’ executive leadership teams with the knowledge base upon which to establish a firm strategic direction in an otherwise fluid space.

To learn more about our research offerings in the machine vision market, please feel free to view our research outline here.

(With significant contributions from Edmo Gamelin, Research Assistant)

02/25/2014

SATO’s Marketing Teaser – Is That a Thermal Color Label Printer?

SATO’s recent slew of marketing emails has piqued my curiosity. The company looks all set to announce its new industrial printer model during MODEX 2014. This is pure speculation, but to me, it looks like they are launching a thermal color label printer. That would certainly be a most interesting addition to their existing line of barcode label printer offerings. While interest is building in color thermal printing technology, vendors have largely refrained from dedicating R&D dollars to it because of associated challenges and costs involved – both from their own perspective as well as that of their customers’. Engineering complexities typically make such projects cost prohibitive. Users looking to incorporate color into their traditional label designs, either due to industry compliance regulations or for aesthetic appeal, have the following investment options:

  • Two-color thermal printers from the companies mentioned above
  • Two-color label stock from consumables vendors
  • Traditional on-demand color inkjet label printers

In the past 18-24 months, GHS (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals) labeling compliance regulations have opened up the use of color label printers in chemical manufacturing environments. My conversations with leading vendors in the thermal barcode printing market indicate that this is certainly an opportunity worth pursuing, especially for those that already have color printers as part of their portfolios. Vendors such as cab Produkttechnik and Carl Valentin GmbH, both based out of Germany, are among the only ones that can boast of dedicated thermal, two-color label printers as part of their existing product lines. However, their use is restricted to fairly niche applications today where they also face stiff competition from the more established (and cost-effective?) inkjet alternatives. Will SATO’s potential entry into this space be a game changer? Stay tuned for updates.

02/12/2014

Zebra’s Acquisition of Hart Systems – Battling Commoditization in the Hardware Market

Global barcode label printing leader, Zebra Technologies, has recently been subjected to flat revenues in its core business, an issue that has been impacting the entire specialty printing market. This has resulted in significant pressure from the company’s stakeholder community to innovate and find new avenues for growth and business sustainability. Though there has been a lot of talk among AutoID market participants of penetrating new verticals to increase sales, we at VDC think that Zebra’s response to these pressures presents an interesting alternative.

Zebra started 2013 with its acquisition of StepOne Systems, a company focused on addressing retailers’ in-store application requirements via mobile software solutions. This acquisition marked Zebra’s initial push toward the store front, and their recent acquisition of Hart Systems (for $94 million cash) has further strengthened their retail presence. Hart Systems is a provider of cloud-based solutions in the retail space. Their core business is driven by a self-managed inventory system that operates on cloud-based solutions and barcode scanning technologies to help retailers conduct inventory without third-party assistance. VDC believes that Hart’s solutions will help Zebra make a splash in the retail space that will usher them along the way to becoming a one-stop shop for retailers. Such acquisitions will serve to fulfill Zebra’s vision of shifting focus from being a printer hardware vendor to a solutions provider.

Both companies are excited about this acquisition and the mutual benefits they anticipate it will afford. Hart Systems’ CEO Edward Tonkton noted that he is excited to become a part of Zebra’s “industry leading solutions and global reach”. Zebra’s size and strongly established distribution channels will certainly provide an excellent place for Hart Systems to expand, especially in relationship-centric verticals like retail.

Zebra also finds Hart Systems’ business model to be particularly attractive. Hart Systems has adopted a “Hardware-as-a-Service” (HaaS) business model similar to software solution providers’ SaaS strategy. Rather than sell their self-managed inventory solutions (hardware included), Hart rents them out according to retailers’ needs. This helps enterprise end-users significantly cut down on their fixed costs. It also provides them with the most up-to-date technology at the time of their need; this will become increasingly more important as innovations in the solutions and hardware fields continue to rapidly advance. We anticipate that in the future Zebra will incorporate this HaaS strategy into its primary sales model to cut costs and entice customers in a similar way.

Long product lifecycles, market saturation, and high penetration rates paint a gloomy future for AutoID hardware vendors that disregard the need to revise their go-to-market strategies. At VDC, we believe that Zebra’s decision to further penetrate the retail vertical will allow for accretive revenues that will appeal to the company’s investor community. Zebra serves as an example to the AutoID community that penetrating new markets with traditional product lines is not the only viable strategy for growth and market expansion. We fully expect Zebra to continue expanding their retail presence and, as the leading vendor in its space, set an example for its peers and key competitors.

(By Edmo Gamelin, Research Assistant)

02/11/2014

The Legislative Future of Cyber Security

Federal security requirements for merchants and credit cards are imminent. Privacy and cybercrime was the topic of a Senate hearing on February 4 that featured testimonies from representatives of Target, Neiman Marcus, Symantec, and the Consumers Union. As stated in an earlier blog, over 1000 million customers have had their credit card information stolen from Target and Neiman Marcus’ brick-and-mortar stores in the past few months. Cyber attacks have been bombarding a multitude of markets including retail, leisure, and even government, as evidenced by the recent breach of the healthcare website, exposed to attackers searching for registrants’ personal information. Up to this point, there is very little legislation concerning standards of security that businesses dealing with personal information must adhere to. The Senate committee centered the hearing around a few specific aspects of security that retailers would have to focus on. Malware prevention standards will be the primary laws enacted. These standards will be strong but flexible, in order to make them robust against attacks while also being able to change with the ever-evolving nature of cyber attacks. Senators also pushed for a breach notification law that would require organizations that have undergone a data & security breach to swiftly contact any consumer whose information may have been compromised. There are currently no laws requiring the company to do so.

Senators also debated with the business representatives about the future of payment. The current trend in America is a standard credit card with a magnetic strip that identifies the card when swiped through a machine. The Senate and business representatives came to a consensus that this technology needs to be updated to a chip-based solution as soon as possible. Chip-and-PIN or EMV technology is already integral to daily life and transactions in Europe and several other countries, where magnetic strip credit cards are obsolete. The EMV technology requirement that the US Senate is now proposing based on feedback from retailers, banks and the consumer union on inherent costs involved, is a chip-and-signature solution. The reason for choosing this technology over chip-and-PIN is rooted in the fact that it is very similar to the current mode of payment here in the United States. Chip-based cards, by themselves, provide more advanced security and prevent cloning of cards. PINs are an additional security layer that can potentially become a part of the solution at a later date, to minimize initial investment costs. Europe has seen a significant drop off in cyber attacks on brick-and-mortar stores since the introduction of the chip-and-PIN system. However, by making a clear distinction between what is desirable and what is possible in the near term, the aim is to, at the very least, upgrade to a payment option that is much ahead of the current, outdated magnetic stripe-based alternative.

At VDC, we believe that the future of payment will go beyond EMV technology to include mobile wallets. These digital wallets allow the consumer to pay directly from their personal handheld device, usually a smartphone or tablet. We expect the solution to be consumer-friendly because they help store information for multiple credit cards in a single device while also being retailer-friendly since these can be scanned by camera-based 2D imagers already in place at many stores. A MasterCard representative recently told the Wall Street Journal that they are developing the idea of a tag that could be attached to phones for mobile payments. The Senate considered this technology too underdeveloped to take immediate action on. The security of mobile wallets was called into question because this connected device is just another potential target for cybercriminals. As discussed in the hearing, layered security – featuring network segmentation, two-factor authentication, sophisticated network monitoring, and chip-and-pin technology – is no longer synonymous with consumer information protection and a secure transaction future. Increased sophistication of attackers today helps them evade all best practices and industry benchmarks. Retailers firmly believe that sharing intelligence across communities and the entire ecosystem will help them stay close to, if not get ahead of, these attacks and security breaches. That said, it will be interesting to see if retailers, banks, merchant processors, card issuers and the federal government are able to come together in the near term and work towards a common objective of adequately protecting consumer data and enforcing security.

(By Jake Ferry, Research Assistant)

02/07/2014

Is Amazon All Set to Challenge Apple in the Mobile POS Market?

According to a recent Wall Street Journal story, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is in the process of building a Kindle tablet-based point-of-sale (POS) checkout system. This is, in part, fueled by the company’s desire to be exposed to brick-and-mortar retail operations and gain an acute understanding of consumers’ in-store buying behavior. AMZN acquired mobile payments startup GoPago Inc. back in December with an aim to leverage their mobile payment technology for POS applications. Now, by seamlessly integrating GoPago’s credit card reader (like Square) with their Kindle Fire HDX tablets to create a complete transaction-enabling solution, the company aims to make it easy to use for small businesses. Amazon is toying with the idea of giving free Kindles and credit card readers to businesses in order to collect their sales data. If this were to happen, businesses that could not previously afford the switch to mobile POS solutions might find the offer enticing enough to take the plunge. Kindle’s price point will make it particularly attractive to small businesses. Stationary POS solution vendors in North America, including behemoths like NCR and Fujitsu, are at a distinct disadvantage with the lower revenue tier retailer community. Competitive pricing and the more desirable form factor of these mobile alternatives could take business away from these companies’ core stationary product offerings.

Amazon already has a wealth of knowledge pertaining to online shopping trends and instituting its presence in the physical world will help the company further its retailing ambitions. This is especially important given that a significant percentage of consumer spending today continues to happen offline. A potential upside for retail establishments is that Amazon is considering partnering with them to allow promotions and discounts to be offered through the Amazon.com website. Another benefit to an Amazon POS system is the company’s already established customer database. Amazon.com holds credit card information for more than 230 million users, which could potentially help make the checkout process fast, efficient, and convenient.  Customers would now have the option of completing their in-store transactions without taking out their wallets. By capturing information on their customers’ offline shopping habits, AMZN will hold an unparalleled advantage over its retail peers – invaluable competitive insight that will help enhance cross-selling and up-selling efforts on their website.

VDC believes this very advantage could also prove to be one of the primary barriers to adoption of the Kindle-based POS system. While this new solution can ease the checkout process and help retailers elevate overall service levels, they will, possibly, be wary of the fact that they are giving valuable customer-related information directly to their competition. With this initiative, AMZN will gather data from a variety of different retail stores and gain a much broader perspective of overall market trends and consumer buying behavior, and will be able to use that data to divert additional shopper traffic to its own website. The recent data breach at Target also begs the question - how secure will this new Amazon solution be. As we stated earlier, Amazon.com has detailed credentials for more than 230 million credit cards in its databases and this new system will, potentially, increase those numbers. This wealth of customer information will only serve to attract the attention of hackers and identity thieves.

Amazon is attempting to break into a field that is currently dominated by Apple. With its many apps and accessories that allow stores to turn iPads and iPhones into mobile POS devices, Apple products are the solution of choice for a large number of retailers, across tier levels. This most recent report only reaffirms AMZN’s sales and marketing strategy over the past several months, declaring itself to be a better, lower priced alternative to AAPL’s iPads – case in point, the Kindle Fire commercials. If AMZN takes a more proactive approach to positioning its tablets as a suitable alternative to existing stationary and mobile POS solutions in the market today, the company can achieve considerable success. For retailers, a competitive market simply means more in-store technology options to choose from. Whether AMZN’s potential entry into the POS market wreaks havoc in the retail industry remains to be seen, but this consumer device adoption trend most definitely is real. We will be sure to keep our readers updated on this developing story.

(With significant contributions from Jake Ferry, Research Assistant.)

01/29/2014

Target's Data Breach – Is this good news for VeriFone and Ingenico?

The massive data breach at Target over the 2013 holiday season, which affected over 110 million customers, is slated to have significant repercussions on the payment community within the United States. The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) reaction to this infringement has been to lay the blame on retailers’ banking partners that continue to issue magnetic stripe payment cards. The bankers on the other hand, hold the retailers responsible, citing their inefficiency in securing and managing in-store systems. There is now considerable talk of a switch to the purportedly more secure EMV chip-and-pin based technology. MasterCard, American Express and Visa have all announced their intention to shift the liability for fraudulent charges onto retailers and banks, starting October 2015, if they do not upgrade their payment terminal hardware to those that accept smart cards. Unlike Europe (and elsewhere), businesses in the US continue to almost exclusively accept magnetic stripe cards. The primary deterrent to increased adoption of contactless payment in the region has been the potential overhaul of existing infrastructure, which would necessitate steep investments from card issuers and enterprise end users. This includes new terminal hardware, and distribution of chip-based credit/debit cards. In the past, payment terminal vendors have consistently indicated to VDC that these new technology upgrade investments are highly unlikely in the US unless card-related fraud increases. VDC believes this breach (and the ones that followed at Neiman Marcus and Michaels) could well be the tipping point for retailer adoption.

The focus of the conversation has now shifted to the world's two largest payment terminal vendors, VeriFone and Ingenico. According to VDC’s 2011 study on the market, these companies accounted for more than 75% of the overall market share in the Americas. Potential sales and upgrade opportunities arising out of this crisis have significantly driven up these vendors’ stock prices. VeriFone, in particular, has much to gain, with industry analysts such as Jefferies and JP Morgan upgrading their outlook on the beleaguered company. VeriFone was once viewed as a solid growth stock, well-positioned to capitalize on increased global credit card penetration. In an attempt to shift its business model from being hardware-centric to generating a recurring revenue stream via software and services, VeriFone lost its way via expensive acquisitions and, in the process, hampered relations with some of its leading clients. At the same time, VeriFone is also facing stiff competition from the likes of Square and PayPal, particularly among the micro-retailing community. This major data and security snafu that compromised consumers’ personal information might just breathe new life into the company. VeriFone has the distinct advantage of being a globally renowned payment company with a well-regarded legacy of providing secure solutions in compliance with the latest PCI mandates and government regulations. The company could potentially see a prolonged spike in hardware sales, especially as businesses in the US switch to accepting contactless smart cards.

Retailers and their payment partners can no longer push off this necessary infrastructure investment especially as they seek to assuage irate consumers’ privacy concerns. However, such a monumental change requires extensive collaboration between retailers, banks, card issuers, and payment processors. Increased public scrutiny, large-scale security breaches, and upcoming regulatory deadlines will certainly help get these ecosystem participants on the same page.

(VDC’s Steve Hoffenberg, Director of M2M Embedded Software & Tools, blogged about the data breach here.)

12/18/2013

Preview of VDC's Barcode Label Generation Software Report

Barcode labeling is mission-critical to everyday operations for many enterprises. Organizations continue to invest in and adopt barcode technologies to accomplish a multitude of business objectives, including improving operations, ensuring compliance with industry standards, gaining visibility into processes, and associating more information with assets, products, and personnel. The demand for barcode label generation software has grown with the expanding adoption of barcode technology systems as a whole. When it comes to software, having fewer moving parts translates to better reliability. Flexibility, configurability and solution customizability are critical criteria influencing enterprise end users’ label software purchasing decision. Seamless integration with disparate data capture hardware solutions and enterprise software systems (including ERP and WMS) will be critical for application success. With traceability becoming a necessity and finding use in product recalls and market withdrawals, inventory accuracy, and safety and quality assurance checks, enterprises are increasingly turning to their solution partners for support. Each enterprise also has its own specific business processes and requirements that its barcode software investments must accommodate. The ability to configure off-the-shelf software in-house or via third-party partners, with minimum hassle, is an increasingly desirable characteristic.

Through innovative product features and complementary service offerings, vendors stand to distinguish their brand from competitors. From their solution partners, organizations seek configuration flexibility, vertical market/domain expertise, training and consulting services, and premier support. VDC believes that solution providers need to align their portfolio and service delivery models with what is now, new and next in the software industry – including cloud-based offerings, licensing options, mobile device applications, and hosting services.

In this research report, VDC discusses the fragmented vendor landscape for barcode label generation software solutions along with end user requirements and expectations of their solution partners. To learn more about the contents, click here.

 

Recent Posts

How IoT Could Fuel the Next Generation of Data Capture and Asset Traceability

Are We Getting Closer to a Scanner-less World?

MODEX 2014: A Data Capture Analyst’s Perspective

VDC Putting the Machine Vision Market into Perspective

SATO’s Marketing Teaser – Is That a Thermal Color Label Printer?

Zebra’s Acquisition of Hart Systems – Battling Commoditization in the Hardware Market

The Legislative Future of Cyber Security

Is Amazon All Set to Challenge Apple in the Mobile POS Market?

Target's Data Breach – Is this good news for VeriFone and Ingenico?

Preview of VDC's Barcode Label Generation Software Report

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