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RFID Tracks Jewelry Sales, Inventory in Mideast

Fifteen retail locations in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain have begun using a system that tags and tracks jewelry items.
By Claire Swedberg
Once the tag is applied to a piece of jewelry, a store employee uses a handheld interrogator to capture the tag's unique identification number, then again on a daily basis for inventory management. Any attempt to cut the cord disables the tag, making it impossible to transfer it from one piece of jewelry to another one that is cheaper in an attempt to disguise a theft. The data related to those daily reads is transferred to an inventory database managed by TJS's software service, and TJS forwards a daily report to the bank. The database contains detailed information on each piece of jewelry.

The system can be operated as a stand-alone system or integrated with the store's IT system. Handheld interrogators manufactured by Feig Electronics, or by PDA reader module supplier ACG, can be waved a few inches above the jewelry to retrieve information about that item from the database. When the store sells a product, employees scan the label once, then cut the tag, disabling it. The tags are then returned to Sokymat, which removes the chips from the hard plastic cases and puts them into new casings.

While the system offers special advantages to the Middle East, where bank ownership is an attractive option, the system has also caught the attention of jewelry retailers worldwide. "From a technical point of view, it's a solution for the whole world," Nasser says. "Not everyone needs a financing solution; instead, it's about inventory management."

TJS charges the stores a monthly fee for the system, depending on the size of the retailer. By June, Nasser says, its system will be deployed at 25 locations.

The company is not the only one offering an RFID solution for jewelry retailers. French RFID systems manufacturer Tagsys and Swiss auto-ID software solutions provider Solid have codeveloped a 13.56 MHz RFID system aimed at increasing inventory accuracy and reducing theft. Swiss watch and jewelry maker de Grisogono has deployed the system at its stores in Geneva and Paris, and also plans to roll it out across all 15 worldwide retail locations by the end of the year (see Swiss Jeweler RFID-Tagging Inventory).

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