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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.
The partners claim the project represents the world's first end-to-end UHF item-level application, since goods are tagged at a Metro distribution store and tracked until the point of sale. In addition, they say the project represents the first time all of EPCglobal's latest standards are in use. These include EPC Class 1 Gen 2 tags, fixed and handheld interrogators running the low-level reader protocol (LLRP) for local communication, and the application level events (ALE) standard, used to pass formatted RFID data to the application layer. The application layer uses an EPCIS implementation to support the sharing, retrieval and analysis of RFID data.
The pilot was launched at a press conference in Essen, followed by a demonstration of the four smart dressing rooms, two intelligent shelves, three smart display tables and smart mirror, located in the store's shop devoted to garments made by Gardeur (see Clothing Manufacturer Invests Its ROI in RFID). Metro opted to tag all items sold in its men's department because that is the only department occupying a full floor of the store.
When a shopper brings a pair of pants or other garment into the Gardeur shop's smart dressing room, a near-field UHF RFID interrogator behind the walls recognizes the EPC on the clothing's RFID tag. A flat touch screen inside the dressing room displays additional product information, such as material, price and care instructions.
If the system identifies three garments, the patron can touch the screen to flip through three separate information pages. The display also offers information about other available sizes and colors. Next year, it is expected that the system will make suggestions regarding apparel coordination. For instance, a written description, photograph and video of a matching shirt might be displayed. Metro and Gardeur are working together to create the content that will be displayed, Wolfram says.
Smart displays are intended to help consumers find the proper sizes quickly. When a shopper approaches an RFID-enabled shelf or table containing dozens of folded shirts, he can access the screen to find out if clothing in his neck size and arm length is available, without having to dig through the items. A reader installed on the display interrogates the shirts' RFID tags and updates a list of sizes for that shopper. After trying on a garment, the consumer can approach a smart mirror outside the dressing room, which provides similar information to that provided in the dressing room but does not include a touch screen.
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