60 seconds with Richa Gupta, VDC Research


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Richa Gupta; VDC Research
Title: Senior Analyst, Auto-ID & Data Capture
Location: Framingham, Mass.
Experience: Three years with VDC Research
Primary Focus: During her tenure, Gupta has covered multiple technology solutions including machine vision, retail automation technologies and bar code scanning and printing.

Modern: What have been the most important developments in the last year in the automatic identification (Auto-ID) and data capture market?
Gupta:
On the handheld scanning side of the industry, it’s been the rapid rate of migration from laser to imaging for handheld scanning devices. And, 2012 was the first year we saw a year-over-year decline in conventional handheld scanning devices. Meanwhile, 2D imaging solutions posted significant growth and that has continued to be the case in 2013. The other developing story is that the market leaders are facing stiff competition from the emerging markets, including some in Latin America. It is chipping away at the leaders’ market share. This is a growing threat, and we’ll be keeping an eye on the trend.

Modern: Has the adoption rate continued in emerging markets?
Gupta:
2012 was tough for Asia Pacific. The manufacturing slowdown in China had a big impact on the bar code printer market in particular. However, Latin America showed strong growth, Europe is picking up again, and now Asia seems to be picking up as well. In addition to the manufacturing slowdown, budgets were tight so users opted for less expensive solutions as well. That also led to a decline in revenues.

Modern: We hear a lot about Big Data today. To launch a Big Data project, you have to capture Big Data. Is that bringing excitement back to Auto-ID and data capture technologies that are otherwise thought of as mature technologies?
Gupta
: We believe that it is. Before you can analyze data, you have to capture and store it. What we’re finding is that the end user is technology agnostic. They’re looking at bar code scanning, but they’re also looking at RFID, real-time locating systems (RTLS) and sensors. They want the technology that will solve a particular problem or achieve an objective. The shift from laser bar code scanning to image capture that I spoke about earlier is part of this conversation. End users don’t just want to capture information from a label. They also want to capture images, such as documenting damaged goods, which might be used for future processes.

Modern: Mobile was a big theme for a while. Everyone wanted to take Auto-ID outside the four walls. Does that theme still have traction?
Gupta:
Most definitely. Part of that is the result of the proliferation of consumer devices. Almost everyone has one and knows how to use it. So, it makes sense to invest in mobile devices for printing, scanning or an all in one device. All of these devices are helping the user or enterprise generate real-time visibility of the movement of the product through the supply chain. With sensors and imaging, it’s now also about the condition—the how—of the product. That’s the story we’re going to be watching going forward.


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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