UCCnet Connects to GDSN

UCCnet has successfully linked to a global electronic trading network, bringing the world one step closer to the “Internet of Things” promised by RFID.

The subsidiary of the Uniform Code Council, announced this week it had completed beta testing as a standards-compliant, interoperable data pool to the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN).

Retailers use the GDSN to hold information about the attributes of their products, such as color, size and weight. Over the last five years, trading partners that have signed up with one of several different GDSN service providers can pool their product info in a central repository that’s automatically maintained and updated.

In addition to its work on the GDSN, Lawrenceville, N.J. -based UCCnet is an industry organization working on standards for global supply chain data. The organization also maintains a data pool and offers data synchronization services for trading partners. Following the successful beta test, the UCCnet data pool will function as an element of the GDSN.

The GDSN will connect participating manufacturers’ and retailers’ data pools via a centralized global registry, called the GS1 Global Registry, allowing trading partners to exchange information on a near-real-time basis. When it’s fully implemented, proponents expect the GDSN to improve data integrity and help companies reduce the costs of inaccurate supply chain information.

In May, VeriSign began work
connecting the EPC Network with the GDSN. VeriSign operates the network for EPCglobal, an international consortium that will handle electronic product codes, the unique item identifiers held on RFID tags on crates, pallets and individual products.

While the GDSN contains static attributes common to all products in a SKU, the EPC Network offers dynamic product information specific to an individual item, such as expiration dates and shipping details.

Earlier this year, three trade organizations warned that lack of universal data synchronization will prevent businesses from seeing the benefits of supply chain automation.

The Grocery Manufacturers of America, the Food Marketing Institute and the National Association of Chain Drug stores called on retail and consumer goods product companies to move forward with implementing data standards, the EPC registry and data synchronization.

The ability to merge different kinds of data from different sources is key to creating what’s been called “the Internet of Things.” And established electronic data pools like the GDSN and UCCnet are especially important, because they’re working in the real world now, said Rajit Gadh.

Gadh, head of UCLA’s Wireless Internet for Mobile Enterprise Consortium, said RFID is far from road-ready. “W don’t even have a production system for RFID at the carton and case level — and I’d like to see 99.9 percent accuracy,” he said.

For any global electronic data scheme, according to Gadh, “Industry has to drive it. They’re the ones that have to get the ROI.”

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