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Integrator Offers Software to Ensure Compliance

Miles Technology has developed a bundled compliance product designed to help suppliers meet RFID mandates from retailers and government.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Apr 12, 2004Miles Technologies, a warehouse management and systems integrator based in Lake Zurich, Ill., has developed its first RFID product: a hardware and software package for enabling suppliers to meet retailer and government mandates. Miles' RFID project manager Jay Bojan says his company has secured contracts with a number of retailer suppliers, none of which could be named due to non-disclosure agreements, to deploy its new offering, called Compliance Partner. The package includes Miles' proprietary Compliance Partner software, two UHF RFID readers, an RFID label printer-encoder, system installation and three days of training at the company's RFID Benchmark lab for one person.

To demonstrate its testing facility and the Benchmark Lab, the company has been holding an open house for RFID Journal LIVE! attendees (reservations required) on Apr. 12 and 13. Bojan says that the product has been well received because it can ensure that users meet mandate requirements and that its $27,995 cost makes it very competitive with similar services from other system integrators.

Miles Technology also sells warehouse management systems, printers and scanners for bar code systems. Bojan says the company decided to enter the RFID industry in order to help the many thousands of suppliers who will need to comply with mandates from government agencies and retailers such as Wal-Mart, Albertsons and Target. He says that as the need for the compliance tools becomes obsolete among suppliers in the retail supply chain, Miles will begin targeting manufacturing companies looking to integrate RFID into their manufacturing processes.

A product supplier can use the Compliance Partner software—which is based in .NET and can be run in standalone mode or integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP) or warehouse management system (WMS) applications—to print and encode smart labels based on an order, test the labels after they are placed on a case, and then do a spot test after they are palletized to ensure that the correct cases are on the pallet. The software is then used to print and test smart label for the pallet, which is associated with all of the case tags on the pallet. The software also logs the distance at which each successfully read tag was from the antenna when it was read. This step allows the supplier to know the exact read distance of operational tags as they leave its facilities—data it can share with a retailer to show that any dysfunctional tags the retailer receives must have been damaged in transit or during receipt.

The hardware that is bundled with the Compliance Partner offering includes an AWID 2010 reader with two antennas; two light trees, used to indicate a successful read of a tag; and signal-strength statistical engines, which measure the distance from the antenna at which each tag was read. Label stock must be provided by the user, but the package comes with a Zebra Technology R110xi printer. Both the AWID reader and Zebra printer work with EPC Class 0, 0+ and 1 tags. The training consists of three courses: a one-day mandate orientation session, one day of RFID label placement and testing training and two days of instruction on how to use the Compliance Partner software. The $27, 995 fee for the package does not include travel and expenses for the classes, which take place at the RFID Benchmark lab, in Itasca, Ill.

Miles Technologies' informational Web site, RFIDLabeling.com, offers details on mandate compliance, Miles Technologies product information and white papers.
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