Marks and Spencer has become the first customer of a managed radio frequency identification (RFID) offering from BT and Microsoft Europe.
BT has combined its RFID data management and systems integration expertise with Microsoft's experience in data capture and analysis, to make it easier for European retailers and their suppliers to adopt RFID technology for pilots or full-scale rollouts.
In February, BT was selected by Marks & Spencer as the main contractor to extend the RFID trial in its clothing supply chain. From spring 2006, the number of stores participating in the trial will extend from nine to around 50.
BT's Auto-ID Services venture has chosen to deliver its solution for Marks & Spencer using Microsoft’s .net application development platform running on Windows Server 2003, along with the SQL Server 2000 database.
Ross Hall, chief executive officer of BT Auto-ID Services, said: “Working with Microsoft at Marks & Spencer will make the deployment of RFID more affordable and less risky.
“It also makes adopting a uniform RFID strategy across Europe a whole lot easier.”
Dilip Popat, managing director of Microsoft’s European retail industry unit, said: “Combining BT's RFID solutions with Microsoft's solutions will give retailers improved business intelligence, better inventory accuracy and the real-time visibility they need to face the growing demands of today's consumer.”