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RFID4SME Seeks to Help Small-to-Midsize European Companies

Four research institutes in Ireland, Spain and Germany are carrying out RFID information campaigns, demonstration projects and proof-of-concept studies for SMEs in their regions.
By Rhea Wessel
Feb 08, 2007A group of research institutes in Ireland, Spain and Germany are working to move RFID from the domain of large, deep-pocketed companies into the world of small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). The four organizations are running RFID information campaigns, creating demonstration projects and performing proof-of-concept studies for firms in their respective regions. Their work is supported by the European Union (EU) as part of its efforts to help speed the adoption of RFID (see European Commission Works on RFID Policy).

The group has come together under the name RFID4SME and aims to increase the uptake of RFID by small and midsize companies in Europe. Its goal is to form a network connecting SMEs looking to share information on RFID.

Pat Doody, a researcher at Ireland's Institute of Technology Tralee
Project members include the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML) in Dortmund, Germany; the Institute of Technology Tralee (ITT) in Kerry County, Ireland; the Fundación Centro Tecnológico de Componentes (CTC) in Santander, Spain; and the Asturias Technology Center for Industrial Design and Production (PRODINTEC) in Gijón, Spain.

Statistics on RFID implementations by European SMEs are hard to come by, but each group member says it is easy to detect a rising interest as large companies adopt the technology and RFID makes a name for itself among the general public. SMEs, they explain, are slowly realizing they can't afford to miss the RFID bandwagon and the savings potential the technology can offer.

"The number of SMEs in Ireland which are actively using RFID is very, very small," says Pat Doody, a researcher at the Institute of Technology Tralee. "We do have a lot of companies expressing interest in various applications, but few which are actually using it for day-to-day business." He adds, "We just haven't seen it yet. That's why we're here—to make sure it's a different story by the end of the year."

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