As part of their research for GS1, members of the Auto-ID Labs research network give regular updates about their applied research in the areas of RFID technology & performance, consumer services and future trends of auto-id technologies.
The most recent update (overview) was provided at GS1's Industry and Standards Event in Brooklyn, March 2011.
Ed Schuster from MIT presented (slides) recent work about using RFID together with polymer material as powerless sensors to measure temperature and strain of bridges. As such, the safety of the material of bridges could be continuously measured and fed directly to the
EPCglobal Architecture Framework.
Jin Mitsugi from the Keio Lab reported (slides) about how to improve the lifecycle management of electric appliances in the home. As the EPC has been established in supply-chains but the consumers in the homes are missing the ability to read and write information to these RFID tags, Mitsugi presented a dual interface passive RFID tag: it incorporates the standards UHF Gen 2 interface for standards RFID readers and it additionally features a basedband interface to the tag's memory which can the linked to ZigBee/WLAN or any other appropriate connection being available in the home. Thus, a system can be build to manage the lifecycle of appliances also beyond the point of sales in people's homes.
Myself I had the chance to discuss (slides) the increasing popularity of shopping apps and the importance of barcode scanning in retail. As part of this research I disclosed first results of our analysis concerning barcode data inconsistencies. Triggered by GS1's Data Crunch report , we investigated the responses to 220.000 barcode queries triggered by users of two productive mobile apps. We compared the responses of different information providers and could reveal missing information (37% of the queries), wrong information and inconsistent information (spelling, multiple names for single barcodes).
The analysis is still on-going and will be summarized in an upcoming publication and whitepaper.
One approach might also be to position GS1 as the authorative source for barcode information.
Finally, Mark Harrison reported (slides) about recent projects in aerospace, lifecycle management, and event-based pedigreee for healthcare.
For details see also here.
Overall, it has been a very helpful discussion about future research directions of the Auto-ID Labs. It was good to see that the academic perspective of the labs and the business-focussed view of GS1 and members has many topics in common: consumers services, quality of barcode master data and the provision of GS1 master to consumer apps. The labs are looking forward to support GS1 in becoming the trusted source of master data for barcode consumer apps.
Visiting Manhattan, first, I was surprised about the crazy weather and, second, about IMHO a really complicated queuing system at the check-out of Whole Foods: customers are queueing in six lines, each assigned with a color. Then both screen display and audio announcement advice the customers in the pole positions of their lines to approach to a specific checkout identified by a number, run!,...
 GS1 UK: V.C., Data crunch report: The impact of bad data on profits and customer service in the UK grocery industry, 2009.