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ODIN Wins $7m RFID Contract from DoD

RFID solutions provider ODIN technologies has been awarded a contract by the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to outfit the US Department of Defense's worldwide network of distribution centers with passive RFID. The contract, which could amount to as much as $7 million, calls for 26 facilities to be RFID enabled by the end of 2007.
May 18, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

May 18, 2006—RFID solutions provider ODIN technologies has been awarded a contract by the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to outfit the US Department of Defense's worldwide network of distribution centers with passive RFID. The contract, which could amount to as much as $7 million, calls for 26 facilities to be RFID-enabled by the end of 2007. RFID Update spoke with ODIN's chief operating officer Bret Kinsella about the development.

"This is a rare opportunity for anybody in this industry," said Kinsella. The DoD's deployment of RFID, like Wal-Mart's, is considered to have been a catalyst for the industry as it exists today. While the DoD has been slower than originally expected to move forward with implementation, its long-term potential for driving the adoption and evolution of RFID technology remains undisputed. With more than 40,000 active suppliers, the breadth of companies ultimately affected by the mandate is extremely wide.

Currently the DoD has two depots -- one in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, the other in San Joaquin, California -- already equipped with RFID. Kinsella noted that the RFID footprint at those locations is still small and will be expanded as part of the contract. Then RFID will be deployed at the 17 remaining depots in the US, and after that, those abroad.

The DoD has emphasized that its adoption of RFID is, fundamentally, an effort to support the warfighter. The ability to more efficiently and accurately get supplies to the front lines will result in the ultimate goal of safer troops. Furthermore, the RFID initiative is consistent with an organization-wide effort -- spearheaded by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- to transform the military into a more agile and responsive one as the demands for defense continue to change.

Kinsella explained that the DoD has had strong success with tagging and tracking shipping containers from port to port using Savi Technology's active RFID in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. A key shortcoming, however, was that once the containers were opened and the goods taken out, the DoD lost the RFID-enabled visibility. "As soon as they cracked open the container they were back to using clipboards for tracking items," said Kinsella. Tagging the goods in the container with passive RFID will address this issue. "The passive RFID is really designed to get below container-level visibility so you can have pallet- and case-level visibility and more efficiently allocate to the warfighter. This is exactly the type of application that RFID is best-suited for."

ODIN beat out ten other companies that responded to the DLA with bids for the contract. Among those competing were "some of the world's largest systems integrators," according to the release. Separately, the company earned a ranking second only to IBM in the 2006 RFID Marketing Strategies Report among RFID software and service providers in the "Most Recognized" and "Thought Leadership" categories. The rankings were based on a survey of more than 550 end-user and industry respondents.

Read the DoD award announcement
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