Integrating sensor technology to monitor temperatures with a sophisticated RFID-based network will let Wal-Mart provide higher-quality produce and fresher foods on store shelves.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it's experimenting with sensor technology this year, pursuing two "proof-of-concepts" that would speed products to shelves and provide customers with better quality produce.
Integrating sensor technology to monitor temperatures with a sophisticated radio frequency (RFID) technology network would enable Wal-Mart to maintain quality produce and fresh foods on store shelves. "Think about bananas," said Carolyn Walton, Wal-Mart's vice president of IT, during at panel discussion at RFID World 2006 Wednesday. "I'll bet you didn't know what happens along that journey."
A crate of bananas arrives at distribution centers ripened by being exposed to nitrogen. Wal-Mart wants to find a way with sensor technology to ensure bananas on store shelves at Supercenters are the perfect ripeness for customers. The mega-retailer would integrate sensors with radio frequency identification technology.
Wal-Mart wants access to the data that identifies where the box has been on its journey, how long it took and exactly how much nitrogen it needs to reach the shelf at the perfect ripeness. The customer will have a premium quality product and Wal-Mart will have to markdown or throw away less food.
Wal-Mart, however, isn't the only grocery chain reviewing sensor networks to better manage the cold chain to protect food quality and safety. Randy Dunn, national director of RFID at ADT Security Services Inc., a Tyco division, is working on a similar project with an unnamed California-based supermarket. "It's all about maintaining the quality of food." Dunn said in an interview.
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Infographic: The State of DevOps in 2017Is DevOps helping organizations reduce costs and time-to-market for software releases? What's getting in the way of DevOps adoption? Find out in this InformationWeek and Interop ITX infographic on the state of DevOps in 2017.