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Checkpoint RFID Embarks on New Strategic Path
Checkpoint Systems yesterday announced its involvement in the 36-dock door trial of Gen2 RFID conducted by giant German retailer METRO Group at one of its operational distribution centers, significant because it represents the first public move in the company's new strategic direction for RFID.
Jan 17, 2007—This article was originally published by RFID Update.
January 17, 2007—Checkpoint Systems yesterday announced its involvement in the 36-dock door trial of Gen2 RFID conducted by giant German retailer METRO Group at one of its operational distribution centers. Originally announced in October, the trial was significant because it demonstrated the viability of dense reader Gen2 environments in Europe, where the technology has been challenged by radio frequency regulations that hamper performance when many readers are located in the same vicinity. (For more on the trial, see European RFID Test Sees Near-Perfect Read Rates.)
Checkpoint was contracted by METRO to provide the hardware integration services. The company helped design, procure, configure, and install the hardware for the trial, which included products from numerous vendors, including RFID network infrastructure provider Reva Systems and Gen2 chip and reader manufacturer Impinj.
Each of 36 adjacent dock doors at the METRO distribution center was equipped with a Gen2 RFID reader. At the same moment, one pallet loaded with about 60 tagged Procter & Gamble goods was passed through each portal and onto a docked truck at full operational speed, meaning each pallet was in the RFID read field for between one and one and a half seconds. The exercise was repeated several times. Overall, METRO reported getting read rates in the 98-99% range.
The results of the test were unprecedented -- past tests had not achieved comparable performance with such a high number of readers -- and therefore represented a strong argument for the viability of dense reader deployments in Europe. "Most European trials have only supported a handful of simultaneous readers, and inventory reliability has always been significantly lower," said Impinj chairman and co-founder Chris Diorio.
Checkpoint's announcement of its role in the Europe trial is significant because it represents the first public move in the company's new strategic direction for RFID. In October the company announced a "narrowing focus" of its RFID business, which had some in the industry wondering if it was retreating from the market. The company stated that it was simply a reorganization aimed at focusing on opportunities that leveraged core competencies and not those that were nascent and outside Checkpoint's traditional scope.
Working with METRO, a leading global retailer and RFID early adopter to boot, solidly positions the company on a path to offer hardware integration services to retail customers. Expect to see related activities from Checkpoint going forward. Also expect the company to tout its heritage and leadership in electronic article surveillance (anti-theft tagging) as a key competitive differentiator. As Gen2 is adopted throughout the retail ecosystem, it could eventually be used for EAS as well, which would play to Checkpoint's strengths.
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