Can you please provide a brief history of the retailer’s early efforts?
I have been told that Walmart first tested passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags in a pilot conducted with IBM in 1994. The cost of the transponders back then was deemed too expensive, but when the retailer heard about the Auto-ID Center’s efforts to create a very inexpensive passive UHF tag, it joined the group in 2000 and ran pilots the following year. In June 2003, Walmart asked its suppliers to start tagging pallets and cases in January 2005 (see Wal-Mart Expands RFID Mandate and Wal-Mart Details RFID Requirement). So the company began using RFID to track pallets and cases from suppliers in January 2005, though it had been carrying out a lot of testing and piloting prior to that point.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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