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Banking Group to Set RFID Roadmap

Hoping to facilitate RFID adoption by its members, the Financial Services Technology Consortium is working toward instituting a standardized approach to using the technology.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jul 16, 2008"Where business and technology leaders build solutions for the financial services industry." That's the tag line for the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC), a New York-based group comprised of (often competing) North American financial institutions, technology vendors, independent research organizations and government agencies, that work together to test, validate and standardize the use of new technologies for applications in financial services. And to that end, the consortium has created a special-interest group (SIG) to develop a roadmap for adopting RFID technology across the financial services industry for such applications as asset tracking, inventory management and chain of custody.

"We have had a lot of conversations regarding the value of RFID in banks, for things like tracking inventory or the movement of financial documents between banks, and banks are interested in these applications," says John Fricke, chief of staff of the FSTC. "The goal of the banks that I have talked to is to use RFID in a standardized way, so that if assets are moved between bank branches, or if the same courier is picking up and delivering bags for multiple banks, all of the RFID tags will be read and used the same way, with the same equipment. The more we standardize the way we track assets, such as IT assets in a data center, the easier it will be to use the technology."

To date, the SIG has held three phone-based meetings. At one such meeting, participants—including representatives from Wells Fargo, Visa and IBM—shared their experiences using RFID tags for asset tracking. Tag and data security was the topic of a second call, while a third focused on employing RFID at retail bank locations.

The group's next meeting will be a two-day conference, to be held July 29 and 30 in Rockville, Md. Fricke says he hopes many banks and technology providers will attend this meeting in order to devise a roadmap for developing an RFID standard—that is, a common tag type, as well as business practices for collecting and sharing the unique identifiers that will be encoded to the tags and utilized to track assets.

"All banks, including credit unions, and vendors are being encouraged to attend," Fricke says. Motorola is sponsoring the event and will host it at one of its facilities; a Web site with details regarding the exact location and hours is still in development. Those interested in attending can visit the FSTC Web site, where event details will be posted in the coming days, or they can contact the FSTC staff through the organization's contact page.

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