This Guidance helps retail companies implement smart inventory management with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) using AWS services. Retailers can place RFID tags on items that emit signals to RFID readers, which are then processed to generate near real-time data related to stock, transactions, inventory levels, or purchase order history for individual customers. Implementing RFID can improve the customer experience, reduce operational cost, and enable retailers to make informed decisions while planning. This Guidance includes four separate architectures showing how to use RFID for managing, counting, and identifying store inventory and for detecting inventory loss. 

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Architecture Diagram

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  • Managing Inventory
  • Counting Inventory
  • Identifying Inventory
  • Detecting Shrink

Well-Architected Pillars

The AWS Well-Architected Framework helps you understand the pros and cons of the decisions you make when building systems in the cloud. The six pillars of the Framework allow you to learn architectural best practices for designing and operating reliable, secure, efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable systems. Using the AWS Well-Architected Tool, available at no charge in the AWS Management Console, you can review your workloads against these best practices by answering a set of questions for each pillar.

The architecture diagram above is an example of a Solution created with Well-Architected best practices in mind. To be fully Well-Architected, you should follow as many Well-Architected best practices as possible.

  • You can set a workload baseline by using business events collected by RFID scanners or readers, log and metrics from Amazon CloudWatch, and any ancillary or supporting data from other business applications. You can then perform continuous monitoring of these metrics for anomalies or drift (through automation) and set up notifications that alert the right personnel of drift. 

    Read the Operational Excellence whitepaper 
  • You can enable least-privilege access through AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles during interactions between AWS services. All services in this Guidance are patched to help ensure minimal security vulnerabilities.

    Read the Security whitepaper 
  • To maintain reliable connection to the internet for this Guidance, you should implement best practices in your infrastructure, particularly for services such as AWS IoT Greengrass, AWS IoT Core, and API Gateway. These services are highly available and use underlying protocols to ensure delivery and security. AWS IoT Core can provide reliable message delivery using MQTT quality of service. Retail stores can be configured to use AWS IoT Greengrass, allowing for offline IoT processing until connectivity is restored. 

    Read the Reliability whitepaper 
  • This Guidance uses an event-driven architecture based on a publish-subscribe model. This model enables you to incorporate additional services without impacting the architecture’s core functionality. To achieve low latency, you should consider your geographical proximity to users and systems that will interact with this Guidance. 

    Read the Performance Efficiency whitepaper 
  • The Guidance uses serverless services, which allows you to pay only for the resources you use. For additional cost savings, you can use provisioned capacity for DynamoDB and S3 Intelligent-Tiering for automatic cost savings. 

    Read the Cost Optimization whitepaper 
  • By processing as much as possible in the cloud, this Guidance keeps hardware requirements to a minimum. In the event that connectivity to AWS is lost, some on-premises hardware is necessary to support operations. Hardware is also required on-premises to interact with the RFID, in-store inventory, and security devices. Services that will require hardware are AWS IoT Greengrass and Amazon ECS Anywhere.

    Read the Sustainability whitepaper 

Implementation Resources

A detailed guide is provided to experiment and use within your AWS account. Each stage of building the Guidance, including deployment, usage, and cleanup, is examined to prepare it for deployment.

The sample code is a starting point. It is industry validated, prescriptive but not definitive, and a peek under the hood to help you begin.

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The sample code; software libraries; command line tools; proofs of concept; templates; or other related technology (including any of the foregoing that are provided by our personnel) is provided to you as AWS Content under the AWS Customer Agreement, or the relevant written agreement between you and AWS (whichever applies). You should not use this AWS Content in your production accounts, or on production or other critical data. You are responsible for testing, securing, and optimizing the AWS Content, such as sample code, as appropriate for production grade use based on your specific quality control practices and standards. Deploying AWS Content may incur AWS charges for creating or using AWS chargeable resources, such as running Amazon EC2 instances or using Amazon S3 storage.

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