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Apparel Retailers Get RFID
The VICS Item Level RFID Initiative's recent meeting and dinner revealed that great progress is being made toward the technology's adoption in retail apparel.
Jan 16, 2012—On Sunday, Jan. 15, I attended a meeting of the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions Association's VICS Item Level RFID Initiative (VILRI), in New York City, which was held in conjunction with the National Retail Federation's Big Show 2012 conference. VILRI is a group of end users, solutions providers and academics working to create standard ways of using radio frequency identification based on Electronic Product Code (EPC) standards within the retail apparel value chain. Nearly 100 people attended the meeting.
Cynthia DiPietrantonio, Jones Apparel's chief operations officer, described the progress made in the working groups as "astonishing." I participated in the outreach and communications group, tasked with educating retailers and suppliers about both VILRI's work and the value of employing radio frequency identification to track items from the time they are manufactured until the point of sale.
After the meeting, Joe Andraski, VICS' CEO, hosted a dinner for CIOs at a number of retail chains, mostly focused on apparel. I'm unable to reveal who attended or what they said, as this was a private, off-the-record gathering, but I can say that most attendees were from companies that have not publicly announced RFID initiatives—though many indicated that they had launched pilots, or even small rollouts.
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