Three-year RFID Initiative Launched in Brussels

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff July 13, 2006

A three-year initiative dedicated to research, development, training and demonstration in the effective use of RFID, based on EPCglobal standards, was launched recently in Brussels, Belgium. The Building Radio frequency IDentification solutions for the Global Environment (BRIDGE) project is being supported by the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6) with€7,5 million in funding.

Coordinated by global data standards body GS1, the BRIDGE project brings together a consortium of 31 global organizations. Participants in the program comprise universities in Europe and China–including three of the Auto-ID Labs–solutions providers both large and small, and large-scale retailers and manufacturers.

“Since its inception, RFID has been hailed as the panacea for a more sophisticated and efficient global supply chain, but there are many questions to answer before this is realized,” said Henri Barthel, technical director at EPCglobal and BRIDGE project coordinator. “Cross-industry participation in such a large-scale project is a key to its success. The BRIDGE project will transform RFID from being an identification technology into providing an EPCglobal-based product information network.”

The BRIDGE project will focus on business-based research, provision of information services and hardware (sensors, tags) and software development. This will lead to pilots, deployment and comprehensive training materials in the use of RFID in a variety of business sectors:

Anti-counterfeiting — Development of new services in the EPCglobal network will reduce the level of piracy of goods, which is a serious problem in Europe.

Healthcare – Increasing patient safety by improving traceability, and certifying the pedigree of pharmaceutical products as they move from the manufacturer to the final user.

Textile industry — Better fulfillment of customer needs by increasing the flow and accuracy of information through a global supply chain.

Food manufacturing processes — Reducing waste and stock holding and improving visibility and traceability of both products and equipment, thereby improving food safety.

Reusable assets — Improving information exchange and asset management between supply chain partners to effect reduction in losses and costs.

Products in-service — Developing systems and processes to increase the reliability of the upgrade, repair and replacement processes throughout the life of many products.

Retail — Optimizing processes in retail stores in order to increase service to the customer by using RFID on consumer sale units.

BRIDGE consortium members:

GS1 Global Office: Project coordinator.

Six GS1 Member Organizations: GS1 UK, GS1 Spain, GS1 France, GS1 Germany, GS1 Poland and GS1 China.

Five research laboratories: Auto-ID Lab Cambridge, UK; Auto-ID Lab Fudan University, Shanghai, China; Auto-ID Lab ETH Zurich/St Gallen, Switzerland; Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain; and Technical University, Graz, Austria.

Twelve solution providers: BT, SAP, AIDA Centre, CAEN, Confidex, CETECOM Spain, UPM Raflatac, VeriSign UK, Melior Solutions, Unisys, Domino Printing Sciences and JJ Associates.

Seven business end users: Carrefour, Nestle UK, Benedicta, Kaufhof, Sony, El Corte Ingles and Gardeur.

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