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RFID, Other Tech In Spotlight At Retail Show

The future includes RFID coupled with cell phones, biometrics, and more sophisticated self-checkouts, one retail executive said at this week's National Retail Federation trade show.

RFID for supplies transported through warehouses by forklifts, Internet instructions for home improvements and high-tech systems that recognize customers and their preferences were featured at the National Retail Federation trade show in New York City this week.

The convergence of retail technology, personalized service and advertising, was one of the main themes at the conference, which began Monday and ended Wednesday at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Robert Nardelli, chairman, president and CEO of Home Depot, demonstrated the future of retail during a keynote address. His presentation was coupled with kiosks demonstrating how RFID works through the supply chain as well.

The future includes RFID coupled with cell phones, biometrics and, of course, more sophisticated self-checkouts. And, there will be no more tiring trips through the store when live video becomes the new vehicle for speaking with customer service representatives.

Companies showed how RFID is meeting second-generation standards to improve supply chain automation, as well as overall visibility and efficiency. Intermec, METRO Group, Procter & Gamble, DHL and IBM collaborated at a kiosk featuring a forklift and hand-held portable readers to recreate shipping from factory to consumer.

"It shows how RFID will help to transform supply chains and proves that properly designed products are already being deployed to meet EPC Gen2 standards," said Intermec President Steve Winter.

Claus Garbisch, who heads the consumer products sector of DHL, said his company is working closely with vendors to ensure that workable, worldwide standards are created so global logistics can realize the benefits of RFID.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a huge proponent of RFID in the retail sector and the impetus behind many suppliers' adoption of the technology, is working on a system to enhance the role RFID plays in improving its supply chain efficiency.

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