RFID Talk Blog

$32M investment in RFID research will drive adoption in retail, healthcare

Tagsys, a provider of item level inventory management systems that streamline the supply chain, today announced that it is heading up a $US32 million global collaborative RFID R&D program. Called SPINNAKER, the groundbreaking initiative aims to transform the current state of the art in RFID-based systems and enable more widespread adoption of the technology, particularly in retail and healthcare sectors. The program will address challenges and opportunities to improve the performance and real-time interconnectivity of wireless-sensing systems throughout the supply chain, from manufacturing, distribution, and retail through to the end customer experience.

“This news bodes very well for the industry,” says Mike Liard, vice president of AutoID at VDC Research. “Collaboration is key to helping drive RFID adoption, and having a well-funded R&D program in place certainly helps. With all things RFID, time and actions will tell… however, industry and vertical market collaboration efforts have paid dividends in the past. A prime example is the work done with VICS/University of Arkansas with item level tagging. The SPINNAKER project should help the retail and healthcare industries better under RFID and should have an international impact.”

SPINNAKER is led by TAGSYS and includes 8 research labs led by INP Grenoble LCIS, one research institution (INRIA) and 4 industrial entities, each an expert in its own domain. The project value includes financial aid from OSEO, a French public entity whose mission is to finance the best, most promising innovation initiatives. The project period is 3 years, culminating with a solution ready for pilot implementation.

“TAGSYS considers this project as a historical milestone in the evolution of the RFID industry,” said Alain Fanet, TAGSYS CEO. “The combined experience and expertise of the organizations involved will bring a unique collaborative focus that will help remove technology barriers which have stood in the way of more widespread adoption of RFID-based systems. TAGSYS expects that the work done as part of the program will significantly advance the state of the art in this area, and will help the overall industry to deliver a next generation of innovative and cost effective systems.”

The project scope is to research and design non-intrusive, flexible, and robust item-level systems that can integrate with other protocols, application software and business processes to provide a more efficient wireless sensing network infrastructure. With TAGSYS as a leader, the participating entities will focus on specific approaches that bridge the gaps in the supply chain, particularly between brands’ manufacturing operations and retailers.

The SPINNAKER project will include an industry Advisory Council, drawn from a worldwide network of RFID end users in various industries who wish to participate in the 3-year program. Complete details of the Advisory Council will be announced in the fourth quarter of 2012. Interested parties should contact the initiative’s organizers to learn more about participating.

The project will also work with relevant standards bodies and programs, such as the GS1 US/VICS industry standards efforts, to ensure technical and business interoperability within the supply chain. This would include how to structure the upper system levels of an RFID-system for optimal interoperability.

“SPINNAKER also welcomes and plans on working with other renowned RFID research projects, such as the University of Arkansas’ RFID Research Center, to further enhance global collaboration and identify synergistic areas to work together.” Fanet added. “The challenges and opportunities to improve RFID systems are global in nature and SPINNAKER intends to take an inclusive approach, with involvement from companies and organizations worldwide.”

Stay tuned to RFID 24-7 for further analysis on what this means for the industry.

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