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Metro Group's Galeria Kaufhof Launches UHF Item-Level Pilot
The project involves the application of EPC tags to individual garments and the use of RFID-enabled dressing rooms and displays and a smart mirror. The participants say this is the world's first end-to-end UHF item-level application.
Sep 20, 2007—Galeria Kaufhof, a division of Metro Group, launched RFID-based shopping services for customers today at its store in Essen, Germany. An entire floor of the department store has been outfitted with Electronic Product Code (EPC) RFID technology, enabling customers to use RFID-enabled dressing rooms and displays and a smart mirror that had previously been available only for demonstration purposes.
On the third floor of the store, in the 2,000-square-meter (6,561-square-foot) men's apparel department, some 30,000 individual articles of clothing and accessories now have hangtags embedded with EPC Gen 2 RFID labels. Approximately 60 RFID interrogators, with a total of more than 100 antennas, capture data from the labels. The tag and interrogator antennas are specifically tuned for near-field operation, shrinking the tags' read range and making the interrogation zone more targeted.
The pilot project is designed to allow Kaufhof to enhance its customer service and increase the availability of its goods due to higher transparency of the goods flow, says Gerd Wolfram, managing director of Metro Group's IT services provider, MGI Metro Group Information Technology.
The store will be able to capture and analyze data, allowing it to determine which garments were tried on together, and if these combinations were actually purchased. It will also be able to observe the impact of the positioning and presentation of goods on the sales floor. For example, do racks of clothes near an escalator sell better—and which racks of items appear overlooked by shoppers? In addition, Metro will be able to assess how long goods take to reach the sales floor, and how long they spend there. "We are filling the data void that exists from the time that products are received until they are sold," Wolfram says.
Partners for the application include Checkpoint Systems, which contributed dual EAS/RFID antennas for security monitoring at the entrances, exits and fitting room areas, as well as point-of-service deactivation, and RFID portals in the store's receiving and stock-room areas; Impinj, which provided RFID interrogators and antennas, in addition to silicon chips used on tags; and Reva Systems, which supplied its Tag Acquisition Processor (TAP) RFID network infrastructure product to enable centralized control and management of Galeria Kaufhof's RFID operations.
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