RFID Gets Boost In Europe From Retail Giant's Deployment - InformationWeek

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6/26/2007
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RFID Gets Boost In Europe From Retail Giant's Deployment

Metro Group ranks as the fourth-largest retailer in the world, with about 270,000 employees and 2,400 outlets in 30 countries.

One of the largest retailers in the world will deploy Reva Systems' Tag Acquisition Processor in what Reva say is the largest production-scale rollout of RFID in Europe.

Reva announced Tuesday that Metro Group, an E.U.-based retail company, has begun to install Reva's infrastructure to support current and future radio-frequency identification initiatives in about 200 stores and distribution centers.

"It's a coming of age of RFID use in the retail world in Europe. That's one way I would describe it," Ashley Stephenson, chairman and co-founder of Reva Systems, said in an interview.

Metro Group tested and evaluated RFID products for standards-based performance during pilot programs and chose Reva's Tag Acquisition Processor (TAP) products to manage its distributed network of RFID installations. The system will provide accurate data and rapid operator feedback, Reva said. Metro stores will use RFID to enhance distribution and receiving, using tags and data to improve efficiency, customer service, and inventory management.

Reva said its products provide a standards-based RFID network infrastructure layer that will help Metro Group move easily from pilot to production. TAP allows users to control all RFID readers in Metro's facilities, to process raw tag data into accurate and useful information, and to determine real tag locations in difficult environments, Reva said.

Metro Group required an infrastructure that eliminates duplicate tag readings and can determine tag relevance in places such as loading docks, where operators need quick and accurate feedback to confirm that goods have been shipped and received.

"By using this technology, we are moving RFID out of the innovation labs and into working retail stores," Gerd Wolfram, managing director of MGI Metro Group Information Technology, said in a statement. "The efficiency, manageability, and performance improvement we've demonstrated with Reva's technology as part of our RFID architecture allows us to realize our plan for utilizing RFID technology to optimize the supply chain."

Metro Group ranks as the fourth-largest retailer in the world. It reported sales of about $60 billion (Euros) in 2006. The company employs about 270,000 people and operates about 2,400 outlets in 30 countries. It owns Metro/Makro Cash & Carry, a cash and carry wholesale chain, Real hypermarkets and Extra supermarkets, Media Markt and Saturn, which sell consumer electronics, and Galeria Kaufhof department stores.

"Metro's decision to roll out RFID using Reva's products validates that standards-based RFID network infrastructure is critical to production-scale implementations," Tom Schuster, CEO of Reva Systems, said in a statement.

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