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Taiwanese Liquor Manufacturer Deploys Dual-Frequency Authentication Solution

The company is using Alien fixed readers at its factory, warehouse and DC, and is providing stores selling its high-value wines and liquors with low-cost, short-range readers that transmit a 433 MHz signal to read 902 to 928 MHz EPC Gen 2 tags.
By Claire Swedberg

At the time of shipment, as goods are loaded onto trucks, they pass through a final fixed reader portal (another ALR-9900+ model), which updates the software, indicating that the pallet has been shipped to the distribution center in Fukeng. At the DC, ALR-9900+ fixed readers are installed to identify when a pallet is received, while AT870 handhelds are used for inventory tracking. The collected data is then uploaded to the software on TTL's server, to which the distribution company and TTL both have access.

At the store, workers can plug a 433 MHz reader into a tablet or smartphone and download an application from TTL to automatically link the device to TTL's server software. They can then confirm that a particular bottle is authentic, by reading its tag and retrieving authentication data from the server. The firm also receives data from each read performed by the store, thereby verifying that the bottles are at that specific site. This information helps TTL confirm that its products have been delivered to the intended store, and have not been routed to another area of the country.

The data culled from these handheld and fixed interrogators provides TTL with a view into where its products are in the bottling and shipping process. Management can not only identify and address problems—such as bottlenecks—in real time, but also analyze the data historically to identify ways in which long-term efficiencies could be improved. The company is scheduled to begin tagging other liquor products next year.

"This RFID system helps us monitor the life cycle of our liquor," says Y.C. Chang, TTL's director. "I am thinking to include our tobacco manufacturing in the future."

Chinese consumers, Liu says, are more likely to purchase wine if they can be assured that each bottle is an authentic, original product, and not counterfeit. By offering RFID, he explains, Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corp. has "a very advanced and fancy advertise spotlight to encourage channel partners to promote TTL's products and feel more confident." Since the RFID system's debut, the quantity of channel partners has increased from 200 to about 260.

EPC Solutions Taiwan is making the solution available to other customers wishing to provide their partners with a low-cost 433 MHz reader for authenticating tags, Liu says. Moreover, the company has designed a dual-band tag antenna (designed for both 902 to 928 MHz and 433 MHz transmissions) that would allow a longer read distance of about 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) when read by a 433 MHz reader.

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