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RFID in NFL Football – What Does this Have to Do with EDI?

Posted by Roger Curtis on Mon, Feb 29, 2016 @ 01:49 PM

2714095127_a913db9ded_z.jpgPhoto appears courtesy of Jonathan Holmes.  RFID (radio frequency ID), a cousin to the EDI 856 ASN document, which is used to track shipment cartons along the supply chain all the way to the distribution center has a new, wider adoption in NFL football. What?!  With the Super Bowl and entertaining (and expensive) media spots behind us for this year, what does EDI and RFID have to do with football?

Well in the first place the major NFL teams have adopted EDI as part of their supply chain, humming to keep those refreshment stands (think beer) and souvenir shops replenished, and RFID is widely used to track the cartons.

But now there’s a new “play,” err I mean twist, with a Zebra Technologies (bar code printers and scanners) system called MotionWorks currently in 18 stadiums.  MotionWorks allows the entire stadium to be wired with fiber optics and RFID receivers, while bottle cap sized RFID Bluetooth chips are inserted into the shoulder pads of the players, you read it right and you read it here!!!

The technology allows fans and the NFL both to track the exact position, movement and biometrics of each player on the field. Wow!!! Our mundane supply chain logistics technology of orders, invoices and shipments has really gone High Tech.  It is possible to see when a quarterback torques his body to throw and to count the number of throws.

In the future this data will allow players to train in simulators the way pilots do now, not to mention allow coaches to study previous games and learn from mistakes made on the field.  EDI and RFID technology, ready for the new playbook… 

Related article:  http://www.si.com/edge/2015/03/05/nfl-player-tracking-technology-new-orleans-saints

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Tags: EDI Technology, supply chain, technology, RFID tagging

Aurora EDI Alliance's Greatest Hits Volume 1

Posted by Shandra Locken on Fri, Nov 08, 2013 @ 11:07 AM

Aurora EDI Alliance Photo appears courtesy of Phillip Pessar.  After two years of blogging, we feel that we have earned the right (unlike some top 40 artists out there) to put together a Greatest Hits of our most popular blogs. This list of ten blogs is a countdown to the most viewed blog article on our site.  The list might surprise you...it certainly surprised us!

10. Top 7 EDI Considerations

9. Is EDI Dead?

8. Target Canada EDI Implementation

7. Walmart EDI: What Suppliers Need to Know

6. Macy's Begins Requiring RFID Tagging of Items Nationwide

5. Five Ways to Calculate ROI for EDI

4. What is a UCC-128 Label?

3. Cloud Based EDI:  What Does "In the Cloud" Really Mean?

2. Doing EDI with Amazon.com

1. The First Question is, "What is EDI Capable?" 

What this list shows us is that our readers are largely looking for basic EDI information, particularly information about establishing EDI relationships with the big retailers.  While we do like to write about high level technical topics like JSON and the Internet of Things (IoT) for our technogeek fans, we promise to also always include basic information like these topics included in our list.  We hope these articles have been helpful and if there is a topic that our readers would like us to write about, by all means let us know!  We are happy to accommodate.  

Looking for more information?  Download our free eBook, EDI 101 - everything you need to know to get started down the EDI path.

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Tags: EDI Technology, EDI considerations, EDI software, EDI Implementation, EDI options, EDI education, supplier enablement, RFID tagging

EDI and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Posted by Faith Lamprey on Fri, May 24, 2013 @ 01:01 PM

I teach some college classes and have been working on some material to add to my Management Information Systems class.  The topic I have been researching is The Internet of Things (IoT) which is one of the top 5 hottest trends in IT right now (along with Cloud, Big Data, BYOD and Mobile Apps).  

The idea of a globally interconnected universe of devices, objects and things in general emerged with RFID technology, and this concept has considerably been extended consiberably to the current vision that envisages a plethora of heterogeneous objects interacting with the physical environment.  Wikipedia says the term "Internet of Things" was first used by Kevin Ashton in 1999.  

 

Internet of Things

His thinking behind the concept was this:  

"Today computers—and, therefore, the Internet—are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information.  Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes (a petabyte is 1,024 terabytes) of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings—by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture or scanning a bar code.  Conventional diagrams of the Internet ... leave out the most numerous and important routers of allpeople.  The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy—all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world.  And that's a big deal.  We're physical, and so is our environment ... You can't eat bits, burn them to stay warm or put them in your gas tank.  Ideas and information are important, but things matter much more.  Yet today's information technology is so dependent on data originated by people that our computers know more about ideas than things.  If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost.  We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.  The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did.  Maybe even more so." 

I started thinking about all of these devices becoming smart with imbedded processors and RFID chips making them addressable and therefore and Internet enabled.  The research says the systems behind these devices will have an event-driven architecture and the geographic dimensions of the device will be critical.  A lot of the material about IoT that I read on the web talks about how these smart devices can take your payments from your phone (i.e., gas pumps) and alert you to situations (i.e., home system controls).  Because these devices are Internet enabled and can monitor themselves as well as their environment they can talk to other devices.  The vending machine is a device that is used to demonstrate the taking of payments and knowing the beverage preferences of a user.  But it can also monitor its own inventory and traffic (supply and demand).   

Let's extend the concept even further.  I envision these devices creating POs for themselves and sending them directly to their supplies vendor.  Remember that a properly constructed GLN (Global Location Number) can identify finite areas such as a receiving dock or a single vending machine.  EDI formats fit right in to these scenarios.  OK, the message will probably be transmitted via web services and be in an XML format, but we are working with those types of messages already so I see communicating with the IoT world as a natural extension of what we do already.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this and to know if anyone is doing this already.  Brave New World, here we come!

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Tags: data transformation, EDI Technology, benefits of EDI, technology, RFID tagging

Macy's Begins Requiring RFID Tagging of Items Nationwide

Posted by Roger Curtis on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 @ 01:31 PM

Macy's RFIDThis just in...Macy's and Bloomingdale's rolls out RFID item level tagging of clothing in ten categories beginning in February for all 810 stores plus DCs in 45 U.S. states, DC, Guam and Puerto Rico.  In an effort to track inventory more easily on an automated basis, suppliers are being required to apply UHF (ultra high frequency) EPC Gen(eration) 2 RFID tags containing manufacturer, product code and a serial number in a serialized GTIN format (SGTIN-96).

An edeavor two years in the making, regularly stocked "replenishment item" clothing categories for this item level tagging kickoff of the Macy's RFID initiative include: intimate apparel, men's apparel including bottoms, underwear, belts, denim, dress slacks, dress shirts, suits and suit separates, sport coats and young men's denim. Eleven different RFID tag models from three different manufacturers have been tested and pre-approved by Macy's for immediate use. Twenty samples must be submitted for validation and approval, and RFID tags not on the approved list must be submitted for quality evaluation and potential approval.

The good news for us in the EDI world is that the RFID tagging with encoding information does not have to be transmitted as part of the Macy's EDI ASN (Advanced Ship Notice). Also, with the addition of an RFID enabled bar code printer/encoder, the EDI software presently used by Macy's suppliers to exchange purchase orders, invoices, ship notices and other documents can be used to drive the RFID encoding and printing process.  What does this all mean?  It means that the supply chain just got more automated and complicated.  BUT, most EDI providers should be able to walk the affected suppliers through the process of implementing RFID tagging fairly painlessly.

The Aurora EDI Alliance is equipped to answer your questions and to assist with any B2B EDI, Bar Code or Macy's RFID requirements by providing a one stop solution.

Some additional resources:

Retail Info Systems News Essential Insight for Retailers

RFID Journal Retail News on Macy's RFID

Congratulations to Sarah Herbst of Texas...the winner of our EDI book giveaway!

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Tags: EDI Technology, EDI considerations, RFID tagging