CHICAGO, June 10, 2003 — Today at Retail Systems 2003 Conference & Exposition, Microsoft Corp. announced it will join AutoID Inc., a joint venture of the Uniform Code Council Inc. and EAN International, which will develop and oversee commercial and technical standards for the Electronic Product Code (EPC) Network.
Microsoft will work closely with AutoID to take product and item identification to the next level across manufacturing and retail supply chains. Central to fulfilling that mission is radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, which combines the benefits of the silicon chip and radio frequencies. The technology has been widely lauded for its potential to provide an unprecedented level of product visibility across the supply chain. If widely adopted, RFID-enabled systems will have the capability to greatly reduce human error from data collection, reduce inventories, improve product availability, identify and reduce loss and waste, and help ensure safety and security.
Microsoft’s efforts with AutoID will initially focus on the manufacturing and retail supply chains. In the future, Microsoft plans to work with its partners to develop affordable technology and solutions that take advantage of the capabilities of RFID technology to improve efficiencies throughout the value chain.
Microsoft has a significant partner ecosystem that includes independent software vendors and systems integrators that deliver solutions built on Microsoft® technologies for customers in a variety of industries, including manufacturing and retail. Microsoft anticipates that many of these partners will benefit from the further development of RFID technologies and standards. Microsoft is already a certified In Sync alliance partner of UCCnet Inc., an industry-endorsed initiative to resolve product data inaccuracies among trading partners. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced the Microsoft BizTalk®
Toolkit for UCCnet, which allows retailers and their suppliers to quickly and cost-effectively connect to UCCnet and helps bring them together with trading partners.
“Working closely with our colleagues at AutoID is a unique opportunity for Microsoft to contribute to the development of standards and help drive adoption that will let our customers and partners take full advantage of this transformational new technology,”
said Satya Nadella, corporate vice president with Microsoft Business Solutions.
“We are committed to open business standards and also support the UCC in its shared work with the United Nations’ UN/CEFACT. Microsoft is committed to making it easy for our partners to develop scalable and secure RFID-enabled solutions that create significant value for our mutual customers.”
Dicki Lulay, president of AutoID, says that Microsoft’s participation is a strong indication of the technology’s importance to businesses and consumers alike.
“We applaud Microsoft’s commitment to joining our membership in the development of an open and standards-based commercialization of the EPC Network and RFID technology. Its participation in AutoID Inc. is a strong indication of its support of the UCC in commercializing this technology and the future benefits of this network to help companies in multiple industries view their supply chains in real time, saving time, money and speed to market.”
John Clarke, CTO and director of group technology and architecture at Tesco, one of the world’s largest retailers, says he too is pleased to see Microsoft join the effort.
“AutoID is a key enabler for the transformation of the retail industry to make life better for our customers and simpler for our staff. Microsoft joining the effort is a very positive step towards the very necessary achievement of standardization and adaptation of this technology for large and small businesses alike.”
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