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Dayton, Ohio Investing $1.4M to Support RFID Firms

The city of Dayton, Ohio, is investing $1.4 million in the new Dayton RFID Incubator Corp. (DRIC), an economic development project for RFID-related businesses. Dayton was central to many important early developments in bar coding and is home to many leading bar code and RFID organizations.
Tags: Defense
Oct 01, 2007This article was originally published by RFID Update.

October 1, 2007—Developments in Dayton, Ohio, helped put bar codes on the map, and now the city is hoping to do the same for RFID. Last week the city government committed $1.4 million to found the Dayton RFID Incubator Corp. (DRIC), an economic development project to attract and develop RFID-related businesses.

A Marsh's supermarket in Dayton was the site of the first UPC symbol scanned in a retail store, when in 1974 a pack of Wrigley's gum passed across a point of sale scanner manufactured by National Cash Register (now known as NCR), another Dayton company.

Dayton and the surrounding area, which includes nearby Cincinnati, is currently home to at least 36 businesses involved in RFID, Gwen Eberly from the City of Dayton Office of Economic Development told RFID Update.

"The idea behind the incubator is to provide an environment and resources for these companies to come together and grow," she said. "It will have all the technology bells and whistles these companies need to do their work."

The DRIC was formed as a for-profit corporation. It will receive $1.4 million in funding over four years that is intended to be used to secure space to house a cluster of RFID-related businesses and create shared resources such as labs and demonstration centers. EPC Technologies, a local business, came to the city with the idea and won a $25,000 grant last April to pursue it. The project gained momentum and CityWide Development Corporation was hired to develop and manage the incubator.

Eligibility for the Dayton RFID Incubator and the services it will provide still need to be determined, and companies cannot join yet, according to Eberly. Representatives from CityWide Development will work with Dayton officials to set the format of the incubator and define its management structure. The city estimates the project will create 100 jobs with an average annual salary of $80,000 within three years. The estimates were based on project research and prior results CityWide Development has attained from other incubator projects.

The Dayton area has been involved in the automatic identification and data collection industry ever since that first pack of gum was scanned at a supermarket. Dayton was the original headquarters of the Uniform Code Council, which developed the UCC/EAN system. The organization has since moved to New Jersey and been renamed GS1, which is the parent organization to EPCglobal, the leading RFID standards organization. GS1 maintains a call center in Dayton. Paxar, a longtime provider of bar code and RFID printing and labeling systems, is headquartered nearby, as is Procter & Gamble, which has been a pioneering early adopter of RFID technology. Eberly noted the U.S. Air Force conducts RFID research at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base outside Dayton. The base serves as worldwide headquarters for the Department of Defense's Automatic Identification Program.

Also, RFID tag and reader manufacturer Alien Technology opened its RFID Solution Center in Dayton in 2006. Eberly said the city has talked to the company about sharing resources with DRIC.

The Butler County Economic Development department has compiled a list of area firms involved in RFID. Dayton's announcement of the program is available here.
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