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    First 'Hybrid' Self-checkout Installed in Metro Group Innovation Center

    DUESSELDORF, Germany - METRO Group has installed a self-checkout solution from NCR Corp. that reads radio frequency identification (RFID) tags as well as bar codes, in the newly opened METRO Group RFID Innovation Center.

    DUESSELDORF, Germany - METRO Group has installed a self-checkout solution from NCR Corp. that reads radio frequency identification (RFID) tags as well as bar codes, in the newly opened METRO Group RFID Innovation Center.

    Located in Neuss, Germany -- near Duesseldorf -- the Innovation Center was established by METRO Group to advance the development of RFID technology in retailing with its technology partners.

    The NCR FastLane installed at the center is the world's first self-checkout solution with an integrated RFID reader. In its current implementation the hybrid self-checkout deactivates the merchandise security function of the RFID tag during the scanning process, thus enabling the customer to exit the store without triggering a security alarm.

    The self-checkout solution incorporates an RFID read/write device manufactured by Feig Electronic GmbH. The system supports standards established by EPCglobal, an industry association guiding worldwide adoption and standardization of EPC technology in an ethical and responsible way.

    METRO Group has targeted November 2004 for the introduction of RFID into the logistics operations of Metro Cash & Carry, Real, and Kaufhof stores, and plans to be the world's first retail chain to implement RFID across the entire logistics chain. An objective of the Innovation Center is to give METRO Group and its partners an opportunity to test the technology and be prepared for the November rollout.

    "The deployment of RFID technology will make retail processes much more efficient at all merchandise flow points up to the front end checkout zone," said Dr. Gerd Wolfram, executive project manager of the METRO Group Future Store Initiative. "In the RFID Innovation Center, the METRO Group is also testing new ways to read RFID labels at the checkout. This will help retailers improve significantly their material flow and product selection. We are also working on effective ways to meet consumer needs for optimal data privacy."

    The RFID Innovation Center is a project of the METRO Group Future Store Initiative. In this initiative METRO Group, together with some 45 renowned partners from the IT, consumer goods, and service industries, tests the application and interaction of various new technologies for retailing under real conditions. The objective is to promote innovations in retailing on a national and international level. The initiative is a platform for technical and process-related developments and innovations in retailing. Within the METRO Group Future Store Initiative, technologies and technical systems are tested and further developed in practice. In the long run the initiative is aimed at setting standards for retailing that can be implemented on an international scale.

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