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Norway RFID Lab Set to Open

Work at the lab will concentrate on consumer goods companies, the oil and gas industry and the public sector.
By Jonathan Collins
Apr 14, 2006A Norwegian business group is opening an RFID lab in Oslo, Norway, in a bid to boost RFID research and deployment in that country. The group's RFID Innovasjonssenter (Innovation Center for RFID) expects to open the lab on May 8.

The center's founding members are the Norwegian Computer Society, GS1 Norway, HSH (the Federation of Norwegian Commercial and Service Enterprises), DNE (the Norwegian Packaging Association) and SINTEF (the Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research at the Norwegian Institute of Technology). While the Innovation Center will focus on developing new RFID solutions, its RFID lab aims to extend that mission by providing Norwegian businesses and public bodies with a facility for the practical study of the technology's application.

Roar Lorvik
"The RFID lab will offer different services to the companies and public sector, such as pilot projects, testing in the RFID lab, different types of workshops, and RFID EPC education, as well as in-house research projects," says Roar Lorvik, managing director at the RFID Innovasjonssenter. "In addition, our partners will use the RFID Innovation Center with their customers." The RFID lab will be located on the premises of SINTEF's research center at the Blindern campus of the University of Oslo.

Work at the lab will target three key sectors: consumer goods, oil and gas and public services. According to the lab, while most Norwegian consumer goods companies have not yet implemented RFID, there is an increasing need for the sector to start pilot projects. Oil and gas companies comprise a major industry in Norway and are expected to use RFID to help with logistics and reverse logistics (the dismantling of platform installations in the North Sea), as well as with the tracking of personnel and assets. The public sector is expected to use the technology for archiving and library-management applications, as well as for biometric and asset tracking.

Since forming the RFID Innovation Center in January of this year, the group has contacted several firms and public organizations in Norway to determine what RFID requirements exist within the country. "Several of those companies have plans to use RFID or will evaluate the possibility to define RFID pilot projects," says Lorvik. "We even found that several companies were using RFID, which had been unknown to us."

The lab will also focus on Near-Field Communications (NFC) applications spurred on by some existing research already underway by SINTEF that could be adapted for NFC. One of the Center's corporate supporters, AD Columbi has already developed and deployed some applications using NFC-enabled mobile phones with home health services for the elderly.

The RFID lab will have a test center—a separate room with a conveyer system and RFID portals to simulate product flow in a factory and warehouse—as well as a showroom where RFID products can be presented and demonstrated.

Daily fees will be charged for the use of the RFID lab and the services of its staff, depending on the assistance and type of testing required. However, information meetings and customer presentations will be provided free of charge.

So far, the RFID lab's first projects have not been selected, though there is the possibility that it might carry out some work with Product Lifecycle Management and Information Tracking Using Smart Embedded Systems (PROMISE), a Norway-based consortium of companies and organizations from nine European nations.
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