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Retailers Test RFID Smart Tables

Two stores are using the tables, which have built-in UHF EPC RFID interrogators, to display marked-down products and track their movements.
By Claire Swedberg
In May 2005 Leone says, RFID Global Solution learned of Savi Technology's interest in a passive RFID solution for the military that would allow troops to read tagged items in the field. Typically, Leone says, members of the military receive shipments of products such as spark plugs, belts and hoses in multipack boxes. They unload those boxes on a series of tables and then scan the bar code of the Material Release Order that lists each item and where it is destined. They then use a handheld RFID reader to capture the unique ID number of each product's RFID tag, which prompts the printing of shipping documents for each order. Personnel then place the documents for specific orders on the products to be shipped.

"The entire process can be very labor intensive," Leone says.

A light indicates system status.
With the SmartTable, soldiers simply unpack the boxes, and the table's built-in RFID interrogator automatically captures the RFID number and sends the data either through a wired or wireless connection using Savi Technology’s SmartChain Site Manager software, which then prompts the printer to print an order document for each item.

Savi Technology and RFID Global Solution presented a prototype to the military in June 2005 and "they loved it," Leone says.

For the past nine months, the Defense Logistics Agency has been using six SmartTables, he says, and Savi has entered into an exclusive agreement with RFID Global Solution to sell the table to certain branches of the military. Savi bundles its software package with the SmartTable hardware.

The retail cost for the table is about $7,500 for all hardware and software.

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