All the time we get to read about new RFID initiatives in North America for Item Level RFID. These are partly run by the effective co-operation of the VICS Item Level RFID initiative collecting industry best practices. Of the European, we hear less.
Last week Macy's confirmed that they will continue their RFID
project and expand it to all product categories at Macy's and
Bloomingdales department stores nationwide. This includes also the
largest department store in the country: Macy's in NYC. And the
GAP, one of world's largest vertical apparel retailers, has been
openly promoting item-level RFID for sometime now. In fact, their
CEO stated already in March 2011 that RFID is one of their most
important strategic projects for 2011. JCPenneys, Dillards and not
to mention Walmart all officially DO RFID and practically all major
retailers in North America already have RFID initiatives that
include pilot projects.
Europeans were long seen as the innovators on the RFID scene. The
prestigious RFID Journal Innovation Award went to Europe in 2009
and in 2011 with Charles Vögele and Gerry Weber showing us the way
in Europe. Universities all over Europe (including for instance the
University of Parma in Italy, Frauenhofer Institut and Humbold
Universität in Germany and Technical Universities of Helsinki and
Tampere in Finland to mention a few) continuously study the subject
of RFID and different governments will support national RFID
research projects. And RFID is no longer voodoo to retailers
themselves or a new unknown innovation. Many have conducted pilots
showing promising results, for example S.Oliver reported extremely
positive results. But is this it?
Europe is the home of the world's largest vertical apparel
retailers and succesful department store chains. Yet we hear
nothing or little of them and RFID. Is it possible that they have
no interest in RFID? Are they really not testing at all? Or is it
just that the North American with their VICS and privately funded
Universities are more open about what is going on? Is it that they
share Gerry Weber's opinion on the fact that the more people
promote RFID, the more retailers benefit?
I believe in the latter. In fact the Vice President of Industry
Engagement at GS1 US shares my view on the spread of RFID (or I
his): by the end of 2015 all major retailers will have adopted
Item-Level RFID. Not only because they want the benefits, but
because there is no other choice, as that is how the competition
will change the industry.
Clearly now is the time to jump on board - the benefits are proven
and the start may be easier than people seem to think.
VICS Item-Level RFID
of GS1 US in Apparel Magazine