IBM will help with DOD RFID rollout

The Defense Department has awarded a three-year contract to IBM Business Consulting Services to help manage its Radio Frequency ID program.

DOD will require its 43,000 commercial suppliers to begin using the passive radio ID tags on goods shipped in pallets, cases or larger quantities by 2005. The department expects RFID to improve management of its supply system by enabling automated tracking and location of materiel.

RFID is an emerging technology, and the DOD program will be the nation's largest. IBM will help identify DOD-specific requirements for the technology and develop a final RFID policy by June 30. It will help conduct and evaluate pilot programs over the next six months and will manage the program for its first two years, said IBM defense industry leader William Phillips.

The company also will help in developing a business case for the program so that it can be built into the DOD budget and will help inform vendors about the requirement.

'We are going to help them sort through to find the right answers and what will work best for them,' Phillips said.

DOD will hold the next in a series of industry meetings to discuss the RFID program April 6 to 8 in Washington. Details on the meeting are available from the DOD Automatic Identification Technology Office at www.dodait.com.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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