WASHINGTON, DC — April 16, 2003 — Showcasing the potential applications of the electronic product code (EPC) and radio frequency identification (RFID) within the food retail industry, representatives from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Auto-ID Center and Food Marketing Institute (FMI) will join technology experts to present an exhibit featuring EPC and RFID systems and an educational session at the 2003 FMI Show, May 4-6, in Chicago.

The Auto-ID Center exhibit will be featured at MIT’s booth (#3560, South Hall). The display will demonstrate how the EPC, expected to be formally launched in September 2003, will provide for the tracking of products at the pallet, case and individual item levels. Four corporate sponsors will participate in the exhibit: Accenture, Checkpoint, Matrics and Sensormatic.

FMI and MIT will also present a two-hour education session, The Electronic Product Code and RFID: From the Lab to Real-World Application — Current Pilot Initiatives. The session will feature a panel of representatives from companies running EPC pilot programs. Panelists include Jack DeAlmo, vice president, store replenishment and inventory management, CVS Corporation; Jeffrey Smith, partner, Accenture; and Andy Robson, manager, business development, CHEP RFID. The session will be moderated by Joy Nicholas, vice president, research and emerging technologies, FMI.

“The EPC and RFID technologies offer tremendous potential, particularly for the food retail industry,” notes Joy Nicholas of FMI. “The exact location of individual products will be easily identified, providing real-time views of the supply chain from the factory to pallets to retail shelves, greatly reducing out-of-stocks and improving theft/shrink prevention efforts. We are thrilled to present this fascinating technology to FMI Show visitors.”

“Pilot programs using EPC tags are being established by an increasing number of companies worldwide," states Kevin Ashton of the MIT Auto-ID Center. "From conceptual discovery to reality, retailers and manufacturers are now examining how these tags might make sense within their enterprise. The Auto-ID Center exhibit will provide just a glimpse of the vast power that this technology affords."     
With EPC technology, a microchip embedded in each product package carries the product’s EPC identification and a radio frequency transmitter. This smart package transmits information about the individual item on the Internet as it moves through the supply chain — from the manufacturer to the retailer to the consumer’s kitchen. Potential food retail industry applications:

  • Checkout lines could be eliminated as smart shopping carts record each item placed in them and the total is debited from the customer’s account through a reader at the front door.

  • Every single item affected by a food recall could be identified quickly, including special alerts to consumers who already purchased the product.

  • Consumers could be alerted when freshness dates expire and informed how to recycle the package.

  • Consumers, retailers and others in the supply chain could be notified when a product needs to be replenished, triggering a delivery to a consumer’s home, a supermarket or warehouse.

  • A microwave oven equipped with the technology could be instructed how to cook a product, including when, how long and at what level.

The MIT Auto-ID Center was established in October 1999 by The Procter & Gamble Company, The Gillette Company, Uniform Code Council and EAN International. Since then, nearly 100 other companies have become sponsors, along with the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Postal Service. The fundamental mission of the center is “to merge the physical world with the information world — to bring bits and atoms together to form one seamless network, using the very latest advances in technologies, including electromagnetic identification, computer modeling and networking.”

In January 2001, FMI became the leader of the EPC Alliance, a coalition of nonprofit groups supporting the MIT Auto-ID Center’s efforts through education, advocacy and industry guidance. For more information about Auto-ID, visit the center’s Web site at http://autoidcenter.org.

The FMI Show — The Place to Be in 2003

The 2003 FMI Show will be an event like no other, offering unprecedented service and customized benefits. Participants of all sizes will find value, efficiency and productivity in this once-a-year gathering of industry leaders from 100 countries worldwide.

For more information, contact FMI convention services at 202-452-8444; call FMI’s Fax-on-Demand Show Infoline at 1-800-890-SHOW (7469); or visit the 2003 FMI Show Web site (www.fmishow.org) for details about exhibitors and workshops, and to register online.