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Ko-RFID Tackles RFID Business Collaboration Processes

Supported by Germany's Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the project hopes to address the challenges companies face when sharing information collected via RFID.
By Rhea Wessel
Jul 30, 2008Germany's Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is supporting a project that is developing collaboration processes for networks of businesses employing RFID. The project, known as Ko-RFID), began in September 2006 and is slated to run until September 2009. Its mission is to address the challenges companies face when sharing information collected via RFID. These include sharing IT infrastructure, such as event-management and data-mining technologies, exchanging information and understanding the true costs and benefits of joint RFID projects.

The project's goal is to develop a benchmark and a best-practice model for cooperating in the use of RFID. Toward this end, Ko-RFID has developed a cost-benefit analysis tool that helps companies determine if it makes sense for them to join a networkof RFID users.

The project's designers believe that a fear of sharing sensitive information—that is, angst regarding collaboration—is holding back RFID adoption. At the same time, they feel the true benefits of using radio frequency identification can be attained only by utilizing the technology collaboratively.

The focus on networks of RFID users rather than single applications distinguishes the cost-benefit analysis tool from others that help a company decide to use RFID internally—such as IBM's ROI calculator (see Anticipating ROI, Rewe Expands Its RFID Deployment).

Gerrit Tamm, head of the Ko-RFID project, says the tool helps individual companies determine if it's to their advantage to join an RFID network—that is, to exchange information collected via RFID with partners using a business collaboration infrastructure, such as an event-management system utilized by multiple partners. "When you talk to companies," Tamm says, "they don't see the potential of collaborating in RFID projects. With our decision- and potential-analysis tools, we can calculate the benefit of RFID business collaboration solutions and show the advantages. The model can help motivate companies to join a business-collaboration infrastructure."

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