Global Dispatches

Some Suppliers Meet Metro's RFID Deadline

DUSSELDORF, Germany -- Twenty suppliers have begun shipping products on pallets that are tagged with radio frequency identification chips to more than 270 stores operated by Metro AG, the German retailer said last week.

Metro, the world's fifth-largest retailer, initially planned to have more than 100 suppliers using RFID tags by Nov. 1 but fell short of that goal. "Not everyone is ready yet, but our plan is definitely to have all suppliers convert quickly to RFID technology in the areas of shipping and warehousing," said Metro spokesman Jurgen Homeyer.

Suppliers such as Colgate-Palmolive GmbH, Kraft Foods Deutschland GmbH, Nestle Deutschland GmbH and Procter & Gamble GmbH met the November deadline.

Beginning early next year, Metro will require suppliers to affix RFID tags to other types of transport packaging, such as cases and crates, Homeyer said. Eventually, the tagging will be extended to individual products, he added.

Metro, which operates more than 2,300 stores, has tested RFID tags for more than a year at its Extra Future Store in Rheinberg, Germany.

-- John Blau, IDG News Service

Doctors Call for Input on U.K. Health Project

LONDON -- The British Medical Association (BMA) last week urged leaders of the U.K. National Health Service's IT infrastructure modernization project to consult more with doctors and other health care workers who will use the new technology.

"So far, the level of engagement and consultation with the medical profession has been wholly inadequate," Dr. John Powell, chairman of the BMA's IT committee, said in a speech here. "There is no point investing billions of pounds in systems that do not have the confidence of users."

An NHS spokeswoman said the IT project team consults with thousands of doctors and nurses daily, but she conceded that there's room for improvement in the process. The massive 10-year project includes development of a database that will contain electronic health records for about 50 million patients in England and be accessible by 30,000 doctors.

-- Laura Rohde, IDG News Service

Indian Firm Acquires Tyco's Undersea Fiber

BANGALORE, India -- Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd., a Mumbai, India-based network services provider, last week announced that it's acquiring the Tyco Global Network, the world's largest undersea fiber-optic network, from Tyco International Ltd. for $130 million.

The deal, which requires regulatory approval, would give VNSL a network that spans 37,208 miles and three continents. Analysts said VNSL, a sister company of Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., is trying to move beyond its customer base in India and offer data bandwidth on a global basis to major corporations.

Pembroke, Bermuda-based Tyco put the network up for sale as part of a restructuring.

-- John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

Briefly Noted

India's government is making it easier to register Internet addresses with the ".in" top-level country domain, in hopes of boosting the country's identity on the Internet. Dayanidhi Maran, minister for information technology and communications, urged India's webmasters to use the .in domain as a gesture of patriotism.

-- John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

Information Society Index

Denmark displaced Sweden at the top of IDC's annual ranking of countries based on their IT capabilities. Factors include the number of households with PCs, IT spending, Internet usage, broadband and wireless network adoption, education and civil liberties.

  1. Denmark
  2. Sweden
  3. U.S.
  4. Switzerland
  5. Canada
  6. Netherlands
  7. Finland
  8. Korea
  9. Norway
  10. U.K.

Source: IDC, Framingham, Mass., November 2004

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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