Manufacturers Group Proposes Technology Direction for Security

The Consumer Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. (CPMA) proposed today that the packaged goods industry consider a "tower-centric" approach to developing a global, product-security standard. "In a nutshell, this approach breaks the old paradigm; it truly changes the rules of the game," said Vic Wasilov, Eastman Kodak Company's representative on the CPMA's Steering Committee. "We believe this approach can deliver far better on the flexibility, performance and price scales than all other options reviewed, to date." Background In March -- when the CPMA was launched as an alliance between Kodak, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble -- the group was focused on developing a set of standard, performance-based specifications for security "tags." These tags -- which are affixed to various product packages to discourage shoplifting -- use one of three, distinct technologies, either radio-frequency (RF), acousto magnetic (AM) or electromagnetic (EM). Once embedded in a tag, each of these technologies is designed to interact with compatible "towers," or detection devices, posted at store exits. If shoppers pay for their merchandise, the tags are "turned off" or deactivated at the cash register. However, if shoppers attempt to leave a store without paying for their merchandise, the tags remain "active." In turn, these active tags are read by the towers, triggering a store alarm. To date, towers have been designed to read one type of tag -- for instance, EM towers can not currently read RF or AM tags. A comprehensive analysis of these technology options persuaded the CPMA members to look beyond the tags -- to consider, instead, the combined tag-tower system. Wasilov explained: "If we take a tag-centric approach to developing a security standard, we are forced to select one of the three leading technologies -- RF, EM or AM. Each of these has its own list of benefits, and in some cases, those benefits are singular to that technology -- what one technology offers, the others may or may not be able to provide." "Further," Wasilov continued, "each of these technologies works best with certain products and packages. For instance, 'Technology X' may be the best option for blow-molded packages or magnetic media; while 'Technology Y' and 'Technology Z' are the best options for other package and product types. Thus, if the packaged-goods industry selects only one of these technologies over the others, it would not be doing what is best for all products, packages, manufacturers and retailers." In contrast, Wasilov said that creating towers which read multiple types of tags "will clearly open the door to new possibilities," among them: * Manufacturers can select the right tags for their products * A greater number and broader range of packages can be tagged * Manufacturers and retailers can rest assured that regardless of

the product or tag, the in-store security systems will be able

to read those tags. Complicating the Shoplifters' Job Pat Rizzotto -- Johnson & Johnson's representative on the CPMA's Steering Committee -- said another important, potential benefit of the tower-centric concept is complicating the efforts of would-be shoplifters. He explained: "Today, the professional thief can foil one type of tag using one technique, but has to use a different technique to foil a different type of tag. Thus, if security towers can read multiple technologies, rather than just one, shoplifting will clearly become much more difficult." This scenario takes on added value if tags can be universally applied inside product packages, so the professional thief doesn't even know which technology he's up against. Rizzotto said the CPMA will continue to make the discreet placement of security tags one of its primary design goals: "In fact, we want to emphasize here that the shift to a tower-centric approach does not mean the CPMA will discontinue any of the work we have planned for tag specifications. To the contrary -- our design goals for tag specifications, announced earlier this year -- are still relevant. Again, this revised direction simply broadens our mission to look at the combined tag-tower system -- to develop standard specifications for both components in that system." Beyond discreet placement, the CPMA's other design goals for tag specifications include: equal access at a reasonable cost; accommodation of future technological advances; minimized adjustments to current systems; in-line application; and a multifunctional capability (anti-shoplifting plus anti- counterfeiting plus information management). Simplifying the Path to Consensus Rizzotto said the CPMA members also believe that a tower- centric approach will make the task of reaching global consensus much easier. He explained that, in the United States, the market is roughly split between RF and AM technologies. In Europe, the market is largely dominated by EM technology. Thus, selecting one technology over the others could cause significant disruption. In contrast, by pursuing a path that accommodates multiple technologies, the adjustment will be easier, more natural and evolutionary: "Under this broadened, tower-centric concept, retailers would not feel pressure to immediately upgrade or change-out their towers -- those towers would continue to work with corresponding tags. Instead, retailers could wait to expand their tower capabilities until that point in time when it made the best economic sense for them." To this point, Larry Kellam -- P&G's representative on the CPMA's Steering Committee -- added that the group also plans to evaluate what might be done to upgrade both current and future towers: "The ideal solution would be one that offered a 'plug- and-play' alternative -- where certain components could be added to either the towers you already have, or to the towers you purchase a year from now, to broaden the range of technologies they can detect." Enhancing Performance, Reducing Costs, Sparking Innovation Kellam said the tower-centric approach can also lead to improvements in both system performance and price. "By establishing a holistic standard for the combined tag- tower system," he said, "system and component vendors can better focus their R&D efforts on ways to make that unified standard perform at consistently higher levels, and at consistently better price points. In fact, by moving in this direction, the industry could spark a whole new generation of R&D behind both the hardware and software that will first make the system work, and that second, will help it expand and adapt to future technological advances. The possibilities are virtually endless." Looking Forward Kellam acknowledged that the CPMA does not have yet have a complete "blueprint" for its tower-centric model: "However, we are convinced -- based on the impressive and comprehensive work already done by our technical partner, NovaVision -- that this concept is entirely viable. Now, we need input from many other groups to help us kick the tires on this model and complete the specifications that will make it come to life." Kellam said that, in the weeks ahead, this technology direction will be a central point of discussion with industry and trade associations, among others. He invited anyone who wants to offer feedback -- or to request a more detailed briefing on the tower-centric model -- to contact the CPMA through its website at , where email links to CPMA administrative staff are provided. ots Original Text Service: The Consumer Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. Internet: Contact: Jack Farmer, 314-982-8630, or Pete Abel, 314-982-9153, both for The Consumer Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. Web site:

Klíčová slova The Consumer Products Manufacturers Association,

USA, Kanada, OSN, svět a Arktida (us)

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