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EPC Connection 2008 Report

At October's EPC Connection event, held in Chicago, 350 industry professionals attended presentations from organizations currently deploying EPC RFID technologies successfully. They also received updates from EPCglobal North America and viewed technology demonstrations. View the presentations from the conference.
Nov 03, 2008—At last month's EPC Connection 2008 event, EPCglobal North America's fifth annual conference and exhibition, approximately 350 professionals gathered to gain insight into how Electronic Product Code (EPC) standards can help companies cut costs, improve supply-chain execution and boost sales. Attendees discovered how to employ EPC RFID technologies for internal and external benefits, learned how industry leaders are complying with mandates and proceeding with rollout plans, heard end-user case studies and research results from early adopters and academics working to solve problems such as tagging products with high liquid content or packaged in metal containers, and more.

The conference, held Oct. 14-16 at Chicago's Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, featured presentations from organizations that have successfully deployed EPC RFID technologies. In addition, attendees received updates from GS1 US subsidiary EPCglobal North America, and viewed demonstrations of the latest technology solutions. Speaker presentations are now available—see the final page for downloading instructions.

Preconferences and General Sessions
The event opened with a trio of preconference seminars, designed to provide in-depth information regarding specific aspects of EPC and RFID technologies. RFID Journal University—presented by RFID Journal editor Mark Roberti and Toby Rush, president of Rush Tracking Systems—provided those new to radio frequency identification with the foundational knowledge required to understand how RFID can be applied to solve specific business problems. Attendees learned how to select the correct vendors, and how to choose the right options for particular applications.

RFID Journal and EPCglobal worked together to develop EPC Compliance & Benefits Training, a special preconference seminar created to help companies become EPC-compliant and achieve internal and supply chain benefits. Those attending learned how to encode tags and associate them with the proper items, integrate tagging with back-end systems, and employ EPC data to drive benefits.

The final preconference was RFID in Packaging & Labeling, designed specifically for label converters, packagers, printing companies and others looking to understand the market opportunity for selling RFID labels and smart packaging, and how to enter the market. This seminar covered such topics as inks for printing antennas, chip attachment options, insertion of labels and quality control.

On Oct. 15, RFID Journal editor Mark Roberti hosted a panel with John Seaner, EPCglobal North America's president of industry development, and Chris Adcock, president of EPCglobal Inc., to update attendees on the progress EPCglobal is making in the development of standards, and in promoting the worldwide adoption of those standards.

That panel was followed by an address by Ramin Sadr, founder and CEO of Mojix. Sadr outlined for attendees how recent technology advances now emerging in newer EPC RFID devices are enabling new solutions and expanded applications for passive RFID systems. Recent years have seen breakthroughs in passive read range, new system architectures, passive tag sensitivity, and battery-assisted passive (BAP) EPC tags, as well as the application of EPC RFID to real-time location system (RTLS) use cases, offering new possibilities in markets previously thought unsuitable for passive RFID. Sadr showcased several recent advances and offered a glimpse of developments currently on the horizon. (See Mojix Upgrades Product Line, Offers Demo in 3-D.)

During another panel, Alan Estevez, principal assistant deputy under-secretary of defense (logistics and material readiness) for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and Carolyn Walton, VP of information technology at Wal-Mart Stores, addressed recent claims that leading early adopters that had announced plans to improve supply chain efficiencies by deploying EPC technologies are now backing off from those efforts. Walton and Estevez indicated this is not the case, and that both organizations have made "sustained progress." Moreover, both reaffirmed their commitment to deploying radio frequency identification, asserting neither of their efforts are losing steam. (See Wal-Mart, DOD Point to Sustained Progress.)
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