Lowe’s has unveiled a new solution developed by its Innovation Labs division aimed at combating retail theft in ways invisible to customers by using RFID microchips and block chain.

rfid microchip

The new technology, called Project Unlock, combines low-cost RFID microchips and IoT sensors to activate power tools at the time of purchase, while also creating a secure, publicly accessible and anonymous record of legitimate purchases on the block chain.

Organized retail crime has been on the rise since 2020, costing retailers an average of $700,000 for every $1 billion in sales, according to the National Retail Federation. So far, solutions have generally involved locking high-value merchandise, but Lowe’s new technology could allow the company to ditch its padlocks and shelf doors.

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Retail Crime has Been on a Growth Profile

The owner of Foodstuffs reported a 38 per cent increase in crime reports and a 36 per cent increase in serious incidents compared to last year. And those 320 respondents were members of the cooperative, which includes New World, Pak’n Save and Four Square stores.

rfid system

Foodstuffs North Island chief executive Chris Quin said owners, teams and customers were worried every day and he hoped the numbers would prompt change.

“We have a responsibility to keep customers and teams safe in our stores, and when you look at retail crime up 38%, aggravated assaults up 36, and repeat offenders responsible for more than a third of all retail crime reports, we absolutely have a case Believe that something is wrong with our society and now we need to look at all possible ways to solve it.”

From February to April alone, Quin reported 3285 incidents – an average of around 37 incidents a day across its North Island stores.

“Everyday shopkeepers are very concerned about the safety of their staff, their customers and themselves. It’s scary. Crimes are happening at checkouts and in stores every day.

“I’ve been traveling our area for the last eight weeks and talking to store management and it’s the worst they’ve ever seen.”

Quinn said parents had “very good reason” to worry about their children working in supermarkets.

He said young people themselves had expressed concerns about working in unsafe conditions for them.

“It’s a shame, you know, it’s always been a good part-time job and the start of a lot of great careers in New Zealand, and we really don’t think New Zealanders can accept that right now.”

Quin said Foodstuffs provided “substantial” training to help keep staff safe and was looking at any technology it could invest in to prevent injuries from happening.

He doesn’t think the rise in crime has anything to do with the cost of living crisis because the items being stolen are not basics like diapers.

Quin said based on internal statistics, the stolen items were of high value and suitable for resale.

He hopes to improve the situation by “sharing the facts”.

In April, the government announced $9 million in funding for businesses tackling retail crime.

Use the RFID Microchip to Solve the Crime Problems

However, these problems will be resolved as the RFID technology matures.

rfid product company

Project Unlock has two interrelated solutions. The first is product activation at the point of sale, where only legally purchased products can be activated. This means that if the power tool is stolen, it cannot be used. POS activation is powered by an RFID tag, which is embedded in the product by the manufacturer and preloaded with each item’s unique serial number. This serial number is also embedded in the box’s barcode, and the product is set to “inoperable.” It is activated for use when the barcode is scanned at the cash register.

The second part of the solution is a transparent record of purchases to aid retailers, manufacturers and law enforcement. Once a customer purchases a product, it is recorded on the blockchain. These records, which do not contain personal customer information, can then be inspected by anyone. For example, dealers like marketplaces can check records to make sure they haven’t purchased stolen merchandise. To achieve this, a unique NFT is created for each physical product.

Initially, Project Unlock will be deployed in all of Lowe’s power tool stores for a concept demonstration, but a Lowe’s spokesperson said the company “sees the use of this invisible blockchain and RFID system in its stores and across retail.” Potential for other commodities in the ecosystem.

Summary and Outlook

Use the latest RFID system or equipment to protect your rights from infringement and reduce the probability of retail crimes.

Newbega is a company specializing in the production of RFID products. The products produced are sold well at home and abroad, and have many patents at the same time. If you have any needs in this regard, please click the green button below to get in touch with us.

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