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Eight RFID Labs Form Global RF Lab Alliance

The goal of the group, which includes the University of Arkansas' RFID Research Center, is to spur large-scale research initiatives.
By Beth Bacheldor
In addition to the three founders, the five other charter members are the Center for Food Distribution and Retailing at the University of Florida; the Georgia Tech Research Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology; the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, China; the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; and the Research Center for Logistics Information Technology (LIT) at Korea's Pusan National University.

The alliance does not yet have a specific agenda, though the charter members have established a common set of themes that include supply chain automation, product life-cycle management and the cold chain. These themes encompass the charter labs' areas of expertise in such sectors as retail, automotive, aviation, logistics and pharmaceuticals. Technologies the alliance intends to focus on include anything related to RFID, such as real-time location systems, wireless sensors, middleware and advanced data processing.

Only about two labs will be admitted each year, until the roster reaches a maximum of 20 members. "We will admit only the most reputable labs that have shown the propensity to collaborate," Hardgrave says. While the founding members want the number of member labs to grow from the current eight, Hardgrave says they want consistency so the roster doesn't change from year to year. The 20-member limit was chosen to prevent the alliance from becoming unwieldy.

Each member lab will be expected to financially support its own involvement and participate actively. The alliance does not plan to impose a minimum dollar amount that prospective labs will need to contribute to fund their membership.

Additionally, the alliance will not have any management staff per se, though it has elected Antonio Rizzi, head of the University of Parma's RFID Lab, to serve as its president. "The most important thing is to start very soon with some projects," Rizzi says. "We have very positive feedback from the members already."

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