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Intermec, SAP Target Metro Suppliers

Intermec Technologies and SAP are offering a package of hardware, software and services to enable the German retailer's suppliers to meet its RFID mandate.
By Jonathan Collins
Jun 20, 2005Intermec Technologies has partnered with enterprise software giant SAP AG to deliver an "RFID starter kit" for German consumer goods manufacturers looking to meet RFID requirements from German retailer Metro. The package includes RFID hardware and software, a preconfigured application for dispatching goods and support services required to complete an implementation. Metro has 200 or so suppliers aiming to tag RFID shipments to the retailer by November.

The fixed-price RFID package enables customers to print bar codes on smart labels, encode the RFID tags inside the labels and then verify that the tags' encoded data can be read. The starter kit's hardware comprises an Intermec IF5 intelligent RFID reader (which can be used as an edge server running its own operating system), two reader antennas, and an Intellitag PM4i RFID label printer-encoder, also from Intermec. Other equipment, such as a light stack to equip a portal, is also included, as well as 50 to 100 test labels, depending on the requirements of setting up the portal.

Intermec's Uwe Hennig
Geared toward German companies already using SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, the kit features SAP's Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) suite to store and analyze collected tag data. SAP BW is part of SAP's Auto-ID Infrastructure, a component of SAP's NetWeaver suite, and because of that, any implementation built around the starter kit can be expanded and integrated with existing SAP applications. Intermec's equipment connects directly to SAP Auto-ID Infrastructure without the need for any middleware. Although the kit can be used as a base to integrate an RFID deployment into a company's existing operations, Intermec claims it can also be used as a standalone system to support RFID slap-and-ship solutions to help a company quickly start tagging shipments of goods.

Support services from both SAP and Intermec are included in the RFID starter kit, and both organizations will work with the customer. Intermec and its partners will conduct an initial survey of a customer's premises and draw up the most appropriate hardware infrastructure. Based on the customer's requirements, SAP Consulting will define where the RFID pilot will be most productive, as well as what information can be captured and used in the preconfigured reports automatically produced by the software.

The kit is available only until Oct. 31, in line with Metro's tagging deadline, and is priced at less than 50,000 euros, "lower than the list price of the SAP and Intermec products included in the kit," says Uwe Hennig, Intermec's alliances manager for Europe, Middle East and Asia.

In 2003, Intermec launched a similar kit—the "Intellitag Ready-To-Go Retail RFID" package—which consisted of hardware, software and professional services for Wal-Mart suppliers looking to quickly meet the retailer's RFID mandates in the United States (see Two Vendors Offer RFID Packages).
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