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NATO Rolling Out System for Sharing Data

Refinements to the Savi CMS platform will enable the sharing of RFID tag data among NATO and its allied nations.
By Mary Catherine O’Connor
Dec 07, 2005Savi Technologies, a Sunnyvale, Calif., supply chain management solutions provider, says the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) has contracted Savi to upgrade and sustain operational support of an RFID-based network. Savi built the network for NATO in a pilot project beginning in 2004. The upgrade will enable the sharing of RFID tag data among NATO and its members' armed forces also deploying Savi's technology.

NATO is using the network to track multinational defense consignments along the supply chain of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a peacekeeping force based in Kabul, Afghanistan, under NATO command since 2003. For the pilot, Savi interrogators (readers) and Savi SmartChain Site Manager software—which collects data read by RFID devices and incorporates local business rules at supply chain nodes—were deployed at nine checkpoints and four countries: the Netherlands, Germany, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

David Shannon, Savi
The contract award was made after NATO certified that the Savi CMS platform complies with NATO's Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 2233, titled "Consignment and Asset Tracking by Radio-Frequency Identification," which NATO ratified in August. NATO uses such standardization agreements to guide itself and its allied nations in business processes and technology applications.

STANAG 2233 is an agreement between nations to use ISO-standard active and passive RFID devices for tracking consignments and assets between nations. The agreement establishes standards regarding how nations will share and route data derived from RFID systems between nations and NATO. By sharing information regarding consignments, NATO and its allied nations can see where goods are in the supply chain, no matter if RFID tags attached to a consignment are read by an interrogator deployed by its own or another member's organization. This provides members more visibility into the ISAF supply chain, enabling them to avoid making extraneous supply orders.

David Shannon, Savi's vice president of software product management, explains that the STANAG 2233 specifications, which Savi built into its SmartChain Consignment Management Solution, are important because they allow NATO and its members to share only relevant supply chain data. "NATO and its member nations want to embrace open standards, and [they] want to do so in a way that all members would be able to use them," says Shannon.

To comply with these STANAG requirements, the SmartChain Consignment Management Solution (CMS) routes all tag reads through servers that process the data in compliance with the tag owner's preferences. A tag on a consignment sent from Nation A would be read when passing by an interrogator deployed by Nation B, but information regarding the consignment would be distributed to Nation B and other parties only if permissions linked to that tag allowed it.

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