The result of the project will be a number of geographically localized pilots, each of which includes a number of stages in the value chain. Ideally, the project will seek to exploit links between the pilots to demonstrate a complete value chain, across Europe, for one or more products.
The structure of the project reflects this plan, providing the reference technology and then defining pilots.
Inter-Project Harmonization and co-operation: the project will co-operate with similar initiatives and projects funded by the European Programs CIP or FP7 (like RACE or RFID-RSME) and the wider perspective of a future Internet of Things.
Business Process Identification, Modelling and Evaluation: meaningful business processes in the (perishable) food industry will be identified to demonstrate the valuable impact of RFID applications; the description of four product/process flow will consider the extended supply chain, that includes production, logistics and distribution, focusing on topics such as optimization, time-to-market, quality and traceability.
Information Modelling and Architecture: identify the information flow considering all details in the several stages of the food chain, and what information is relevant from which point of view (producers, processors, retailers, consumers, health experts, SME, etc.). The ultimate goal is to have the information readily available and in a ready-to-be-understood format at the point of need for each user of the new system. The information needs to be available in a standardized format to enable its sustainable use. Furthermore protocols, privacy and security requirements will be identified, and the information modelling and architecture will be developed and evaluated as well as then tested.
Systems Integration and Database Construction: the database and the integration of the RFID and sensor data will need to be undertaken to full industry standard tools and techniques. The required system integrates all the resources identified, both hardware (e.g. antennas, frequency bands, chipsets, protocols) and software (e.g. database architecture, resource planning). The system will collect the data chosen and send reports via HTTP connections to a database that can be a single portal to a federation of local databases (based on the EuroFIR model, which currently includes 27 databases), and will be accessible by a number of different stakeholders, who will need access to different levels of information.
The technology of the project is based around a centralized database of food origins and production history. The existence of such a database, capable of consolidating food data from one end of the value chain to the other, is the key to ensuring a return on investment to participants. That resource will be developed by the technology integrators in the project, along with reference applications of RFID and sensor network technology to allow the gathering of information for the database.
In the second phase of the project, pilots will be established, using the reference applications to make the database available to SMEs within the ambit of the technology transfer operations.
The pilots will be implemented at the geographical locations of the technology transfer operations, involving at least three SMEs at each location. These have been divided into five 'streams', covering different parts of the value chain:
- Farm: for each use case, identify the information which is important to the business process, both of the farmer and downstream, ways of gathering information, through a combination of sensor networks to monitor growing and storage conditions and RFID to identify batches of product. After the installation of equipment and software in the pilot sites, personnel will be trained and systems will be tested, assessing the effectiveness and evaluating the impact on the business process.
- Processing: identify constraints and benefits, analysing industrial food production pilot, coming up with RFID implementation within processing in order to validate data description, transmission and exploitation throughout the complete food chain product.
- Logistics: tracking of food products through the transport of ingredients or product between stages of the value process; the information to be gathered will include: start, end point and duration of journey, conditions during transport, other products co-shipped.
- Distribution and Retail: monitor the quality of the product as it is warehoused and store at point of sale; the information to be gathered will include: storage times and conditions, products co-stored.
- Customer: assessment of a consumer response accessing information related to a food product through a RFID/NFC label or barcode attached to it through feasibility analysis; web and mobile applications will be offered aftered having identified consumer’s acceptance and interest in the use of those new technologies.
Dissemination and Publicity: results will be provided within the food and beverage operators as well as agro-food industry to activate a large enough potential user base to ensure continued viability of the project. The major routes will be:
- organization of local events /seminars
- involvement of regional and national business associations
- production of a dissemination video
- involvement of transnational organizations (45 member of EuroFIR and the ERRIN group of regions)
- promotion of articles in appropriate technical publications
- participation in 15 international selected event
A number of media resources will be developed within the project and will be distributed through the channels above, as well as via the events forecasted in the dissemination plan. The project will also maintain a public website, which will publicize project news as it happens.