Unilever announces trial of new RFID standard

Unilever is to be the first company to use a new RFID (radio frequency identification) standard developed by IBM and T3Ci.

Unilever is to be the first company to use a new RFID (radio frequency identification) standard developed by IBM and T3Ci.

The standard is designed to help better enable retailers, manufacturers and organisations throughout the supply chain to overcome information overload and share information to improve business processes.

The two suppliers have developed the Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) standard, and the pair now co-chair the EPCglobal EPCIS Working Group.

EPCglobal oversees RFID standards and the new working group will promote interoperability of the standard across RFID hardware and software in the market.

Unilever North America has announced it will use the EPCIS standard to query RFID data provided by retailers. Unilever will conduct a trial using IBM's EPCIS implementation to collect and access information from within the company's manufacturing environment and from trading partners.

By using IBM and T3Ci reports and analysis solutions, Unilever is looking to create additional business value in the areas of promotion management, supply chain visibility and metrics, as well as RFID readability.

James Jackson, Unilever vice president of IT, said, “This standard hits at the pressing need to allow more effective exchange of data among trading partners and simplifies interoperability among different RFID applications, data stores and product information management systems.”

Jackson said, “By replacing manually intensive data exchange tasks with automated processes, more time is available for analysis and value creation.”

EPCIS is expected to be a ratified standard by the fourth quarter of this year.

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