I’ve just spent the day at LIS08 at the Birmingham NEC. Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be any publicly available wifi network – but that does give me a chance to try the new Typepad iphone interface to write this blog entry!
The main attractions of the show (and certainly the biggest stands) were the RFID vendors – Intellident, D-tech, 2CQR, 3M, SB etc. Were so there.
The two most interesting things I saw were the ‘Smartblades’ from Intellident, which were RFID antennas that you placed between your book stock on the shelves (about 3 per meter of shelving) and they would do a stock check of your library at the touch of a button. They also added the ability to go from searching for a book to an interactive map showing where the item was in the library at that instant. Although there is still clearly some work to do on the practical implementations (how to get power and networking to the blades for example) the demo I saw was very convincing. I was also pleased to hear them talk about the exploitation of RFID in the library supply chain – a much underestimated area by RFID vendors in my opinion – however thus will need engagement from library suppliers and system vendors before it can become a reality.
I was also very taken by D-Tech’s people counter, which used thermal imaging to detect people passing a point, and some clever software which allowed you to draw lines across the sensor area to dictate when a ‘count’ occurred. This would allow not only in and out counting, but also if you put a sensor at a crossroads or junction, draw counter lines in such a way that you could count his many people went each way from the crossroads – very neat, and the price seemed reasonable too.
I also got to see a walkthrough of the new search interface from DS Ltd (Arena), chatted to Lorensbergs about room booking systems and Talking Tech about SMS overdue and hold notification. So all in all a useful day and I caught up with some current and past colleagues as well.