Organic Strawberry Producer Completes Successful RFID Pilot

January 22, 2010

According to a recent study conducted by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, up to 50% of food products go to waste in the supply chain. The inordinately high number is largely due to fruits and other foods that are highly sensitive to environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity. For Bionest, Spain’s largest organic strawberry producer, that percentage means a loss in profits and, essentially, wasted labor. To curb these effects, the company recently piloted a new RFID solution, with great success.

The “Cool Chain Monitor System” uses RFID technology to monitor temperature in real time. For the pilot run, Bionest’s strawberries were sent through the supply chain to a German distributor. Before being transported, strawberry pallets were tagged with third generation RFID tags, which automatically checked the temperature and condition of the pallets every 15 minutes and transmitted the information back to Bionest.

Once the shipment arrived at the distributor, the data regarding temperature and remaining shelf life was sent wirelessly to Bionest via a GPRS connection. The information became immediately accessible to both Bionest and the retailer, which enabled end-users to choose the ripest fruit for purchase.
Based on the pilot’s favorable results, Bionest plans to expand the scale of the RFID solution next strawberry season (http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=49960).

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New EPCglobal Standards Training Available for RFID Stakeholders and Users

January 12, 2010

As the usage of ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID technology grows, RFID stakeholders are tasked with clearly mapping out environmental restrictions and installation procedures—as well as determining what to do with that information. Fortunately, EPCglobal standards have been created to facilitate the process. Even more beneficial to stakeholders, two new online training courses are now being offered to help increase understanding of these standards’ uses and benefits.

The courses are called EPCglobal Data Capture Software Standards and EPC Global Information Services (EPCIS) for RFID Visibility Data, respectively. Both are developed and instructed by Boston-based Dr. Kenneth R. Traub, an independent consultant specializing in software architecture and EPC/RFID standards. The courses give a tutorial on the 11 EPCglobal standards established for the identification, capture, and exchange of RFID visibility data, and demonstrate how to adapt these standards to business applications.

According to Dr. Traub, “A working knowledge of these standards is indispensable for anybody who is planning to build RFID software systems or to deploy the many commercial products that implement the standards.”

Anthony Palermo, director of Academia RFID Centre of Excellence, agrees. In a recent press release, he added that these standards are the way that trading partners share information to achieve complete supply chain visibility.

For more information about the new RFID training courses and consulting services, visit http://www.rfidacademia.com/academia_rfid_online_courses.html.


RFID Market to Boom in Struggling Asia Pacific Aviation Industry

January 5, 2010

With more than 20 airlines currently filing for bankruptcy, the Asia Pacific aviation industry is struggling to overcome the effects of the global economic downturn. With more than $5.8 billion and 180,000 jobs lost last year alone, the recovery process will be a significant challenge. To recoup losses and remain competitive, however, some aviation companies are turning to RFID.

The benefits of RFID to the airline industry are numerous, including greater efficiency, reduced wastage, and increased security. Additionally, RFID is able to work in concert with other technologies, such as sensors and barcodes, to create a new range of applications.
Indeed, airlines can use RFID to detect and respond to a wide range of environmental parameters, such as temperature, humidity, and vibration. They can also use RFID along with—or to replace—baggage barcodes. Most importantly in today’s economy, initial results have indicated that RFID can help airlines save costs—a feat that will be invaluable in rebuilding the industry.

The variety of uses for the technology explains Frost and Sullivan’s prediction that the RFID market in the Asia Pacific aviation industry will rise from $27.3 million last year to $188.3 million in 2015 (http://www.autoid.frost.com).