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Vue and Symbol Introduce RFID Systems for Tracking Apparel Items

In addition, Vue is partnering with Kurt Salmon Associates to provide consulting services and inventory-management software for apparel retailers.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 14, 2006RFID networking and item-level solutions firm Vue Technology, in concert with Symbol Technologies, a supplier of RFID and point-of-sale (POS) devices, is introducing two packaged RFID offerings for the apparel industry. Both are designed to offer end-to-end solutions at a fixed price.

One package offers a handheld-reader solution for $35,000, including all hardware, software, installation and service assistance. The other, priced at $75,000, includes all the technology of the handheld solution, plus smart-shelf capabilities. Vue and Symbol are taking orders for both solutions and will begin shipping in October, according to Tim von Kaenel, Vue's senior vice president of product management and business development.

Pankaj Shukla
Additionally, Vue Technology has created a partnership with retail and supply chain consultancy Kurt Salmon Associates (KSA) to provide consulting services and software that will help apparel retailers make the best use of the data they gain from RFID technology.

Vue and Symbol hope their new end-to-end product offerings will take some of the mystique out of RFID technology, von Kaenel says. "Both companies recognize the challenge retailers have in putting together all the pieces, combining handheld devices, readers, tags, software, a system to generate serial numbers and support," he explains. With the packaged solutions, he says, "we take out the mystery and complication and provide attractive pricing."

For the handheld reader solution, the package includes three Symbol MC9060 handheld readers, 3,000 Symbol Gen 2 UHF tags, one Symbol XR400 fixed reader, the end-to-end item-level RFID software platform TrueVUE (which acts as middleware and provides RFID data to the entire suite of applications) and Vue's EPC-commissioning software application. A server is also provided, with Vue's software installed. Targets for this solution include specialty apparel retailers seeking an entry-level system for high-end apparel, as well as general, larger retailers. With this solution, staff members can use the handheld readers to track a store's inventory of items on the sales floor and in the back room. The EPC-commissioning system, in conjunction with the XR400 fixed-position reader, allows workers to generate unique serial numbers and program tags. They can enter a garment's SKU and other details, then generate an RFID label and apply it to the item before it enters the sales floor. Vue also offers installation, training and support.

The second solution offers the same hardware and software as the handheld solution, in addition to 16 linear feet of Vue Technology smart shelving, supplied in four sections. Each section consists of six 18-inch-deep shelves, each with multiple RFID interrogator antennas and its own cable that acts as power, RF and data connection back to the server. The solution also comes with 4 additional feet of shelving for back rooms.

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