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RFID helps Italy to showcase country pride at EXPO 2015

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This year’s universal exposition in Milan, known as EXPO 2015, is defined by the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” The six-month event, which is expected to welcome 20 million visitors, provides a forum for exchanging ideas and demonstrating new technologies. It’s also an opportunity for the host country, Italy, to show a bit of national pride by showcasing RFID.

RFID helps to track more than 35,000 items at the Italian Pavilion.

In the EXPO’s Italian Pavilion (Padiglione Italia), visitors can experience the country’s culture and traditions, and have the option to take home a piece of Italian craftsmanship. The Pavilion Shop, which serves to highlight Italy’s world-class reputation for high-end design and exceptional quality, carries more than 300 unique products, specially designed for the EXPO and branded with the Italian Pride (Orgoglio Italia) logo. All the shop’s items carry RFID tags and are exclusive to the Pavilion. Once the EXPO closes in October, all of the items will be discontinued.

Run by CIPI SpA, a merchandizing company specializing in promotional items since 1964 and an official partner of Padiglione Italia, the Pavilion shop is a busy place. On an average day, the store registers more than 8,000 visitors and sells more than 1,000 items, ranging in price from 2 to 200 euros. There are more than 35,000 items displayed on shelves and housed in inventory.

CIPI keeps track of it all with a system based on NXP UCODE, an advanced UHF RAIN RFID tag. UCODE ensures the right products are in the right place, and provides real-time information for detailed reporting. At any given time, CIPI has a complete picture of all items stocked, sold, damaged, or lost, which makes for better decisions and more accurate planning.

To develop the Pavilion shop’s UCODE setup, CIPI partnered with H&S Custom, an Italian system integrator specializing in RFID solutions, and an NXP partner. H&S Custom provided all the equipment and software required to track goods, and used Smartres SpA to assemble the small but very powerful UCODE labels. CIPI collaborated with H&S Custom on product packaging, to be sure the tags performed at the necessary level while supporting the Pavilion shop’s high-end design style.

H&S Custom also manages the Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) system, which addresses loss prevention. The EAS system highlights any discrepancies in stock, whether they’re due to errors, shrinkage or other causes.

Renzo Ottina, CEO of H&S Custom, says that finding a way, in such a short period of time, to manage so many different products and in such large volumes, required careful planning and a lot of hard work. From his point of view, the UCODE RAIN RFID system itself can be considered an example of Italian craftsmanship, worthy of the Orgoglio Italia brand.

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