RFID is already being used successfully in anti-theft applications, ranging from car immobilization to theft control of DVDs in retail. Now also Northland, a specialist in outdoor clothing and equipment, is pioneering the use of RFID technology in the fashion segment, using RFID to secure its products.
With an RFID-based inventory solution, implemented at its shop in Graz beginning of this year, the manufacturer of textiles for extreme sports has proven that RFID surpasses conventional methods in terms of efficiency and transparency. Now Northland is again proving that RFID offers not only theoretical solutions but real tangible economic advantages.
Approximately 1300 different outdoor products such as jackets, trousers, sweaters, backpacks and thermos flasks were equipped with RFID labels at the Northland store in Graz. The RFID labels combine article information for inventory purposes and anti-theft functionality in one single tag. "This makes the solution substantially less expensive than two separate systems", explains Otto Url, responsible for the RFID project at Northland. "Any theft is immediately displayed on the cashier monitor and can be complemented by an optical or acoustic alarm at the gate. The RFID anti-theft device shows not only that a product has been stolen, but also which product and when. This information enables us to pay special attention to specific product categories and time zones particularly susceptible to theft". Consequently stolen products can be replenished immediately to ensure availability in the shop.
This installation is the industries' first pure UHF EPC G2 anti-theft installation in the fashion segment worldwide and is scheduled to be extended to other Northland shops following a three-month trial phase. Two essential elements are the technical corner stones for this innovative theft protection system: the new UCODE G2XL chip by NXP Semiconductors and the RFID/AutoID middleware You-R OPEN of the Austrian technology consulting and software company RF-iT Solutions. "Until now the use of EPC G2 for EAS has been difficult, because the detection fields of traditional UHF RFID gates were very hard to define and control, causing undesirable false alarms", explains Rainer Lutz, Marketing Manager, NXP Semiconductors. "NXP has therefore developed in its RFID Reference Design Center a unique reference gate, which operates a very precise read field. It enables an appealing, more than 8-meter-wide open entrance area, which - like an invisible, thin electronic curtain - recognizes products which leave the shop."
"UPM Raflatac's UHF EPC Gen2 WebX inlay used at Northland is optimized to meet the requirements of apparel applications." says Mikko Immonen, Business Development Director for Apparel & Brand Protection at UPM Raflatac. "It provides excellent detection rates even with densely stacked garments and outstanding omnidirectional readability to assure reliable performance in the RFID EAS gate."
Toshiba contributed to the success of this innovative application with their RFID printer. It offers reliable RFID module technology ready to be scaled as the project and roll out grows.
"The Fashion solution by You-R OPEN enables a rapid deployment of projects through the logistic supply chain including the shop. It seamlessly connects to existing ERP systems reducing investment costs substantially," explains Dominik Berger, Managing Director of RF-iT Solutions. Through use of the proven, reliable and scalable operating environment You-R OPEN provides the link between the RFID hardware and the existing IT infrastructure and can be configured quickly and easily to the individual processes of the respective customer. It is quickly set up at the launch of the project, while providing flexibility during operation and extension of the installation.
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