U.S. Department of Defense Awards RFID Agreements

Unisys Corporation, Savi Technology to provide support for the department's radio frequency ID initiatives

Unisys Corporation, Savi Technology to provide support for the department's radio frequency ID initiatives

Blue Bell, PA — August 9, 2005 — The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded two blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) related to radio frequency identification, tapping Unisys Corporation and Savi Technology to provide support for the department's RFID initiatives.

The DoD has tapped Unisys Corporation to connect the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and its suppliers through an integrated Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) infrastructure to track and trace assets.

Under the terms of the agreement, Unisys can now be selected by the DLA, or any other agency within the Department of Defense or the United States Coast Guard, to integrate passive RFID infrastructure within their supply chain. Unisys will work with ODIN technologies to leverage its passive RFID physics expertise.

Meeting Mandates

The DLA's global supply chain provides worldwide logistics support to U.S. military departments and selected government agencies. RFID technologies are used to track and trace assets. Active RFID tags are self-powered, while passive RFID tags contain no power source and are read as they move through the electromagnetic field of RFID readers.

The DoD mandates that key suppliers apply passive RFID technology to pallets entering the DLA supply system at distribution centers and depots. As DLA facilities consolidate shipments for worldwide distribution and delivery, Unisys and ODIN will integrate passive RFID data with active RFID solutions to provide comprehensive information to military and civilian decision makers.

Unisys has been working with the DoD for more than a decade, using RFID technology to track the military's assets — including warfighting equipment, all classes of supplies and repair parts — worldwide. The Unisys engagement covers more than 1,500 nodes or RFID read/write stations worldwide and is the largest worldwide RFID network.

Complying with EPC Requirements

Elsewhere, Savi was awarded a BPA to provide technical engineering services and integration software for all military branches trying to meet electronic product code (EPC)-passive RFID tag policy requirements. This procurement contract was made by the U.S. Army Contracting Agency (ACA) Information Technology, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center (ITEC4) to support military services with engineering and software integration in the implementation of EPC-compliant tags.

This BPA agreement covers Savi's SmartChain Site Manager and SmartChain Enterprise Platform as its EPC integration platform. The DoD issued the "Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Policy" on June 30, 2004, requiring all services and their suppliers to use passive or active RFID on their shipments into and within military operations.

Savi teamed with systems integrator RFID Global Solution (RFIDGS) for this BPA agreement. RFID Global has experience providing, installing and integrating all types of automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) technologies, including bar codes, passive and active RFID, in both defense and commercial markets.

Savi Technology has been the primary RFID procurement provider for the DoD since 1994. In addition, Savi's software and hardware products have been the foundation of the DoD's RF-Intransit Visibility (RF-ITV) network, the world's largest active RFID consignment visibility system that tracks an average of 35,000 shipments daily through over 1,500 locations in 46 counties.

Additional Articles of Interest

— RFID technology has the potential to change the way supply chains are managed, but in order to be effective businesses need to take a holistic look at the deployment. Read more in the SDCExec.com article "Time for RFID: Applying RFID in the Supply Chain."

— For a contrary view of the future of the RFID market, see the article "The O'RFID Factor: A 'No Spin' Look at Where Radio Frequency Identification Is Headed," in the October/November 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— For more information on trends relating to radio frequency identification (RFID), follow this link for an extensive listing of SDCExec.com articles, featuring the latest research findings on the RFID, including adoption, return on investment and barriers to implementation.