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Summary of Baird RFID Monthly for May

Baird has released its May report. The 15-page document is a worthwhile read for anyone requiring an overview of the industry's last 30 days. For those without time to do so, we have reprinted here the report's summary.
May 22, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

May 22, 2007—Wealth and asset management firm Robert W. Baird & Co. has released its RFID Monthly for May. Baird has given RFID Update permission to reprint the Key Developments section (below), which offers the report highlights. For those wanting more detail, the complete 15-page document is available free here.

The standard matrix of primary RFID providers is on page 12, and following are the Key Developments:
  • Metro Mandate Moving Forward. Metro held its third "RFID Congress" this past week in Dusseldorf, Germany. As part of the event, Metro's management board told suppliers that RFID is the key to more transparency and efficiency in its operations, and that as of October 1, all suppliers shipping to 200 Germany-based stores will be required to tag all pallets shipped -- no exceptions. Suppliers not in compliance will be charged two euros per pallet. We understand full case-level initiatives will begin in 2008.
  • Wal-Mart / Best Buy Update. Wal-Mart CIO Rollin Ford provided an update on RFID activities at the retailer, which suggested continued progress, but at a slightly more moderate pace as was reported in March. Wal-Mart has 1,000 stores active with Gen2 RFID capability, and it plans to implement 400 additional stores by year-end, below previous expectations of 1,000 stores. We did learn at this show that Wal-Mart is scheduling a rollout of an RFID forklift reader to a Sam's Club. As we reported in March, Ford confirmed Wal-Mart was placing an emphasis on fast-moving products, promotional items, and high-value products. Ford provided that Wal-Mart estimates a two percent sales loss from out-of-stock items. At Best Buy, we understand that a potential RFID rollout to all stores is in the works, but no timetable has been established as funding for the project is not yet available.
  • Optimism at RFID Live. Consistent with RFID World, we are seeing greater attention on closed loop and asset management opportunities, and less emphasis on retail supply chain. This was a constant with every vendor we interviewed. We were encouraged to hear several hardware, software, and services vendors indicate that their overall business opportunities for Gen2 and HF products seem to be on the rise. This is in sharp contrast to attitudes from just six to nine months ago, where business opportunity seemed weak. Pipelines are becoming more high quality as end users are better grasping how to use RFID, and as equipment quality and software capability increase. We expect end users that have deployed RFID in a single location successfully are contemplating multi-site rollouts. Vendors seemed pleased that the show had a good number of end users, and commented that the number and quality of sales leads was improving. (For more on the show, see RFID Journal Live 2007 Bodes Well for Industry.)
  • China Selects UHF. China announced it is ready to embrace UHF as its RFID frequency in two segments, between 840-845 MHz and 920-925 MHz. The 840 MHz range is below the low end of the current RFID UHF range of 860 MHz, which is used in Europe. The 920 MHz band is used in North America. China has not, however, indicated if the country will accept the Gen2 standard, which also has international ratification as ISO 18000-6c (see ISO Incorporates Gen2 into RFID Standard). China will require certification of equipment by the Ministry of Informatics Industry (MII).

Download the full Baird RFID Monthly (pdf)
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