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Will America beat Europe in Item-Level RFID?

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?

RFID in apparel retail

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.

Read more:

VICS Item-Level RFID Initiative

Patrick Javick of GS1 US in Apparel Magazine

4 comments on “Will America beat Europe in Item-Level RFID?”

  1. Gravatar of Jessica SäiläJessica Säilä
    Posted 18 October 2011 at 13:56:36

    This same article was posted on Linked In's RFID forum and has awoked some interesting comments - check it out: http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&discussionID=74353155&gid=48706&commentID=55192884&trk=view_disc&ut=1IR61csaEAr4Y1

    Additionally, also check out a really good article on the same topic from John: http://www.rfid24-7.com/2011/10/17/rfid-retail-requires-a-collaborative-effort-from-retailers-around-the-globe/

  2. Posted 07 November 2011 at 16:13:12

    I was reading RFID Journal and came across this interesting article:
    U.S. Apparel Retailers Drive RFID Adoption
    Large and midsize retailers are moving forward with deployments, as the industry comes together under the VICS Item-Level RFID Initiative to ensure that companies embrace standards and common best practices.

  3. Posted 07 November 2011 at 16:14:20

    I forgot the link to the article, sorry. Here it comes:
    http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/view/8918
    :)

  4. Posted 27 December 2011 at 21:09:38

    hi, I really don't believe there is a race to a finish line or competitive nature of any kind. There are a number of factors that play into evauating the progress that is taking place on either side the Atlantic. In 2015 they wll finish at same place as ribbons are awarded best joe

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