Stephenson said that Reva's hardware and software can be deployed by customers and is so easily configured that it does away with the need for skilled technicians. That's critical because several industry observers have said that lack of skilled labor has been one of the major impediments to RFID adoption.
Since other retailers around the world observe Metro for cues and model the company's behavior to improve their own processes, the deployment could trigger wider RFID adoption in retail markets around the world, Stephenson said. And Metro is large enough that its behaviors could impact other industries as well, he added. Either way, the deployment, which should be complete by the end of summer or beginning of fall, will have a big impact.
"It could be interpreted as the E.U. moving back into the lead in terms of production RFID deployment," Stephenson said, adding that RFID could become as popular as the Internet. "I think they've been waiting for the kind of technology breakthrough we bring."