Best Practices 2005: RFID

In 2005, companies began to think of RFID as more than just a future technology. Consultants and standards bodies have been preaching the merits of the smart tags for years, but the infrastructure and investment requirements were such that only brave early adopters were willing to accept the challenge.

Wal-Mart, for example, is probably the most common name mentioned in the same breath as RFID. It almost became the cliché case study when anyone was trying to prove that the technology has legs. We’re practically past the proof-of-concept stage and moving into an era where it’s a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if,’ as far as RFID deployments go. A Canadian notable is Staples Business Depot, which was among the first in this country to take the plunge and enter a pilot program using Gen2 tags, the most recent standard. IBM Canada also threw its weight behind RFID, opening a national centre, initially focusing on the possibilities of the scanning technology in agriculture and retail.

In terms of future rollouts, 2006 may look a lot like 2005: baby steps. But those steps are being taken and may turn into strides before too long.

RFID in the news:

Staples Business Depot deploys Gen2 tags in RFID pilot
Retailer among the first in Canada to apply EPC standard

Software consortium brings open source focus to RFID
Founders aim to create code library along with full-blown applications

Agriculture industry explores RFID role in food quality
Traceability of meat and produce critical with gov’t mandate pending

SAP extends RFID partnerships
Deal with Intermec to bring its data collection platform to Business One

Special coverage:

Where RFID could be
With the technology starting to prove itself in the supply chain, a Canadian conference looks at applications that would put the tags in hospitals, on the battlefield and beyond

What’s the radio frequency, Canada?
IBM, along with industry partners and the world’s largest standards body, take the wraps off a national RFID centre. Partners explain why agriculture makes the best test case and what we can expect from second-generation chips

Scan now, save later
Gillette, Kimberly-Clark and others explain how RFID can balance inventory levels, meet customer demand and reduce the shrink rate. Plus: Don’t be afraid of the word “mandate”

Expertise and training:

E-commerce body urges Canadian support for RFID
“We’re being left behind by the lack of industry initiative,” exec says

CompTIA prepares to test for RFID expertise
Certification will cover maintenance and deployment of smart tags

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