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NEUSS, GERMANY - Germany's Metro Group has announced that IBM will provide the integration software in the retailer's rollout of radio-frequency identification systems with in its supply chain, according to published reports.
Metro is also opening a new RFID Innovation center in Neuss near Duesseldorf, in a program developed by IBM for the retailer. The center is an RFID working platform for retail and consumer products, allowing suppliers to test their readiness for RFID while evaluating new technologies for retail.
Both projects build on Metro's plans to become the first in the retail industry to begin using RFID technology throughout its entire process chain.
The rollout is scheduled to begin in November, when 20 of Metro's consumer products suppliers will place RFID tags on pallets of goods, with another 80 slated to follow next year.
By January 2006, Metro plans to have 300 suppliers sending RFID-tagged pallets and cases to its distribution centers.
IBM's WebSphere middleware will comprise the infrastructure for collecting, integrating, and managing data obtained from RFID tags and readers from manufacturers to Metro's distribution centers and stores. The software is expected to enable the retailer to monitor the status of pallets and cases being shipped and delivered.
The benefits of IBM's RFID integration solution have already been proven at the Metro Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany.