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Blockchain Platform Leverages RFID Solution for Inventory Management
Citizens Reserve is providing its blockchain solution, enabled by Smartrac's Cosmos software, to the livestock and retail markets, so users can share data with other supply chain members and consumers to validate the conditions of animals and meat.
Lapchik calls supply chains a natural and intuitive use case for blockchain technology. Since the advent of blockchain solutions, he notes, organizations have been seeking to use the technology to manage data about goods flowing from source to consumer. The use of RFID in blockchain systems is an enabler for automated data capture, he says, adding, "RFID... allows us to connect the physical with the digital world, so it's a key component of our supply chain platform."
Although data can be collected and shared via blockchain without RFID, Lapchik says, transparency becomes diminished since the information cannot be automatically collected as it might be using a fixed reader portal, for instance. However, users also have the option of inputting traceability information about their products from non-RFID external data sources.
Typically, a tag would be attached to an animal, such as in its ear, and would then be read at such key points as during feeding, weighing or vaccinating. Additionally, once meat is packaged, a UHF RFID tag with a unique ID number encoded on it can be attached to the package. That tag can be linked to data about the meat and the animal from which it came, including where and when the meat was packaged, what the animal was fed and at what location this occurred. Each time the animal or meat changes hands, is processed or reaches a retailer, that tag can be read again, and new data can thus be added to the public ledger.
NFC tags or QR codes could enable consumers to scan a label on the packaging to access data about the product as well. When an end-customer scans a product's Smartrac NFC tag, for instance, his or her phone or other device would be directed to the SmartCosmos API, and a website offering additional product information would be displayed. In the background, this product's information would be reconciled against the SUKU Blockchain, so as to ensure the authenticity of the displayed product information.
For those already using RFID, Lapchik says, blockchain access provides the ability to share and authenticate data. "Traditional RFID-based supply chain management solutions struggle with the coordination and validation of shared information," he states. With existing RFID systems, he notes, participants only have insight into the data they collect, which is siloed across the supply chain and could be changed by other users.
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