LONDON - March 24, 2004 - The Headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) has contracted with Savi Technology to pilot a project using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology linked with the Savi SmartChain platform to manage and track multi-national consignments between Europe and Afghanistan. The project, to be evaluated for possible future expansion, will help determine whether NATO and its 19 member countries can leverage Savi's real-time platform and RFID Technology to enhance pan-NATO logistic collaboration.
The contract, announced here at the "Defence Logistics and Materiel Support 2004" Conference, calls for the installation of the network along the International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan (ISAF) supply chain, which stretches from the Netherlands and Germany through Uzbekistan to Kabul in Afghanistan. Consignments will be tracked by using Savi's newest generation SaviTag ST-654, an active, data-rich RFID tag that communicates wirelessly with the network at distances over 100 metres. In addition, Savi's fixed readers and Savi SmartChain Site Managers will be installed to capture and convert the RFID-generated data into actionable information that can be managed by users on the network in highly secured information environments.
Savi will begin immediately to conduct site surveys, perform installation work, train users and integrate the Savi SmartChain software into NATO's LOGFAS information system.
The NATO-Savi agreement follows an offer to NATO last October by the U.S. Department of Defense to share its existing, global RFID-enabled In-Transit Visibility (ITV) network for joint logistics operations if NATO added compatible infrastructure to plug into the system. The U.S. offer was made to help improve supply chain visibility and communications during joint operations. Following a four-month evaluation, NATO chose to use the same standard-setting solutions used by both the DoD and the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence that are designed, developed and deployed by Savi Technology. Savi, a leading provider of RFID networks for real-time supply chain visibility, asset management and security, provides RFID tags, readers, Site Managers and a networked software platform and applications, as well as full integration services for all types of government and commercial organizations. Savi's networked solutions are based on an open technology platform that enables users to integrate all types of automatic identification and data capture devices for interoperability. Over the past decade, the company helped build and maintains the DoD's ITV network, which is the world's largest active RFID-enabled cargo tracking system at over 800 locations and 45 countries. Last year, Savi also installed a similar infrastructure for the UK MOD that provided seamless, real-time communications on the location of consignments during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"Multi-nationally, this common network can help 19 nations bring their goods in and track their own consignments in near real-time from anywhere, and it will help build more confidence in shared information not only for the NATO commanders but also the member countries where supplies are for their own forces," said Commander Bill Sympson from NATO's Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe.
"This project provides the opportunity now for NATO to adopt a similar solution for consignment tracking that the United Kingdom and the United States have adopted, and thus overcome the enduring problem that we have had within NATO of finding one solution that meets individual national needs while at the same time is interoperable and serves allied needs on a global basis," said Col. David Martin, Director of the UK MOD's Defence Logistics Operations Centre responsible for overseeing logistic operations using the UK's RFID-enabled network. "What it has meant for us," Col. Martin added, "is that we've been able to send all the supplies to the Operations Commanders on the ground as required in the correct order, at the correct time in the correct quantities to those ports of disembarkation in theatre."
The commercial off-the-shelf products to be deployed in the NATO project are:
* SaviTag ST-654: With up to 240 Kbytes of programmable memory, these are high-performance, active data-rich tags that can store information on the entire contents of a container or trailer. They can be fixed to multiple conveyances, such as vehicles, containers and pallets. About the size of a small chocolate bar, these high-performance tags communicate at 433 MHz at distances of more than 100 metres as well as over 123 KHz for more precision, slot-level location.
* SaviReader SR-650: These are highly reliable and rugged products that capture data wirelessly from thousands of tagged assets nearly instantaneous. They have an omni-directional read range of over 100 metres, and they relay the data to Savi SmartChain Site Manager, either wirelessly or by hard cable.
* Savi SmartChain Site Managers: This exceptionally high-performance software is designed to aggregate RFID-generated data, filter it and then convert it into computer language that can be managed by users on a network. It also incorporates localized business rules and processes to ensure that only useful information is transmitted to the network and software applications.