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Tesco RFID Rollout Delayed Years

LONDON, United Kingdon -- Limitations with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology have delayed a nationwide rollout at supermarket giant Tesco by several years.

Tesco had planned to install RFID tags and readers in 1,400 shops and 30 distribution centers by the middle of this year, but has so far completed just 40 stores and one depot.

Instead of tagging individual products, it will now permanently tag transport items such as pallets and carts and install the technology over several years. "We only got so far with the trials, but it proved RFID works," said a Tesco spokeswoman. "The new phase will build on this."

The retailer has struggled with radio frequency standards, a high concentration of readers in the warehouse that affect performance, slow read speeds and low tag quality.

Peter Harrop, chairman of RFID research specialist IDTechEx, says Tesco may have bitten off more than it could chew. "A lot of rollouts have had problems with one reader interfering with another because retailers are using UHF bands that are not as efficient," he said. "Europe also has hostile radio regulations."
-- Dave Friedlos, Computing, a VNU Publication
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