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European EPC Competence Center Expanding Its Services

Housed within the Metro Group RFID Innovation Center, the EPCglobal-accredited test facility is launching new training courses and consulting on RFID pilots.
By Rhea Wessel
Tags: Standards
The tests use standardized profiles to simulate real-world conditions to determine the readability of end-user tagged products. Each customer can define its own parameters, such as RF frequency and the angle of the reading. Taken in the ideal situation, these readings can form the basis of an RFID implementation.

"You must have a controlled environment. Small changes make a big difference," explains Gerd Wolfram, head of both the EECC and Metro Group Information Technology GmbH, a Metro subsidiary. He adds, "We want to give companies the possibility to do RFID right."

The highlight of the EECC is a futuristic, 50-cubic-meter testing room known as the anechoic chamber.
The EECC performs primarily static tests in an ideal environment, under the belief that companies need this basic information to set up a quality RFID application. It tests transponder placement, read range and tag orientation—and, if a customer wishes, the organization can verify the results in a real-life warehouse environment.

"A lot of people will try to skip the tests, but if they have a problem with their application, they can't know why unless they performed the tests," says Philipp Blome, who handles business development for the EECC.

Since the tests are highly complex, the EECC spent time last year developing standard forms of the tests that will produce results every manager can understand. It won't reveal its price list, but says companies can test one tag on one product for significantly less than €500 ($651). The final cost will depend on how long the tests ultimately take.

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