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2003 RFID What's News

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September 2003
EAN Intl. and the Uniform Code Council (UCC) launch a joint venture named EPCglobal Inc. (epcglobalinc.org)

The joint venture’s new identity signals the launch of the not-for-profit organizations’ efforts to drive global, multi-industry adoption of the EPCglobal Network, based on RFID technology, which reportedly will enable companies to have true visibility of their supply chains in real time, in any industry, anywhere in the world.

Under the terms of the agreement, EPCglobal will oversee the development of open, global standards for the EPCglobal Network. Developed by the Auto-ID Center, an academic research project headquartered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the EPCglobal Network is a system based on a unique number called the electronic product code or EPC.

The EPC can be assigned to individual items in cases and pallets within the supply chain for identification and tracking. Similar to today’s bar code, these "license plates" for products are embedded in EPC tags, which can transmit EPC information to special readers placed in dock doors and other locations.

October 2003
Information Week (informationweek.com) reports the US Dept. of Defense (DOD) issues a mandate requiring all of its suppliers to use passive RFID tags on the cases and pallets they deliver to its various branches by January 2005. The DOD’s directive could have huge ramifications for the technology. The initiative will affect tens of thousands of suppliers, more than Wal-Mart’s initiative announced earlier in the year. The Defense Logistics Agency, the department’s largest agency, has nearly 24,000 providers. The department’s mandate calls for support of the EPC, standards developed by EPCglobal.

"This is as good or better than the Wal-Mart mandate in terms of driving adoption of RFID," says Noha Tohamy, a Forrester Research senior analyst in a statement to Information Week magazine. The Defense Department is a global enterprise," she adds. "They stay away from proprietary deployments."

SATO America Inc. (satoamerica.com), which introduced the first thermal transfer bar code printer in 1979, announces support for the UCC’s EPC initiatives. With the accelerated attention focused on RFID technology, SATO reports it is well positioned to support its customers’ RFID requirements. As a precursor to this commitment, the company launched an RFID Kit for SATO CL408e and CL412e printers and the partnership agreement with CCL Label Inc. (cclind.com) to be a manufacturer of RFID tags and labels for SATO.

November 2003
McCarran Intl. Airport, Las Vegas, NV, USA, announces a contract with Matrics Inc. (matrics.com), Columbia, MD, USA, a manufacturer of EPC-compliant RFID systems, to supply RFID tags for use in tracking passenger bags as part of the airport’s ongoing commitment to improving customer safety and satisfaction. The system will be designed to track automatically all passenger bags through inline explosive detection and screening equipment, ensuring safe passage for the airport’s millions of customers.

Tyco Fire & Security (tycofireandsecurity.com), Boca Raton, FL, USA, a global provider of RFID solutions through its Sensormatic and SensorID branded solutions, and Rafsec Oy (rafsec.com), Tampere, Finland, a manufacturer of RFID tags and labels, sign a letter of intent to provide a complete physical layer solution of tags, readers, and reader infrastructure in the US. The relationship reportedly will offer retailers, product manufacturers, and packaging companies a seamless and complete RFID product set. Tyco Fire & Security will deliver its EPC-based RFID reader products, as well as EPC-based RFID tags and labels manufactured by Rafsec, to end-users in the US market.

December 2003
Matrics Inc. (matrics.com) forms a contract with International Paper (IP) (internationalpaper.com) to supply RFID tags for use in tracking inventory as part of IP's new warehouse tracking system (WTS). Developed by International Paper, with tag and reader technology from Matrics, the WTS operates at the company's Texarkana, TX, USA, mill and warehouse.

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