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Wal-Mart, which earlier this year abruptly announced that it was dropping plans for a trial of consumer-level radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, has detailed its plans for RFID over the next two years, according to this article in the RFID Journal.

Key points regarding the policy announcement:

  • Wal-Mart wants to use the Electronic Product Code (EPC) to track pallets and cases.
  • Implementation to start in January 2005.
  • Wal-Mart will use the 96-bit EPC designed by MIT and adopted by EPC Global.
  • Frequency range 868-956 Mhz.
  • Wal-Mart to use Class 0 or Class 1 tags, but hopes to move to Class 1 version 2 tags as soon as the specification is ready.
  • By end of 2005, EPC must be on all pallets and cases from Wal-Mart’s top 100 US suppliers, and the technology will be rolled out internationally.
Quoted in the article: “Wal-Mart is saying to [consumer packaged goods] companies and RFID vendors, here’s the bar; see if you can meet and exceed this,” says Jonathan Loretto, global lead for RFID at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. “It’s achievable. Whether it’s achievable in the next 12 months, only time will tell.”

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