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Startup Seeks to Kick-start RFID in Trinidad

RFIDTT wants to help the oil-producing Caribbean country move to a knowledge-based economy, and is hoping RFID will be the catalyst.
By Beth Bacheldor
Feb 13, 2008RFID Trinidad & Tobago (RFIDTT), a small startup company in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is hoping to foment the use of RFID in the southern Caribbean country. RFIDTT—a spin-off of Label House Group Ltd., a 25-year-old packaging and labeling company headquartered in Trinidad—will specialize in RFID systems integration, and plans to work with a variety of organizations in both the government and private sectors, on applications ranging from asset tracking in health care to supply chain tracking in the petroleum industry.

To help strengthen its RFID expertise and knowledge, the firm is partnering with several organizations. The McMaster RFID Applications Lab (MRAL), a research laboratory at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, will provide consulting services to RFIDTT, such as technology development and research, expertise in business-process reengineering and intellectual property (IP) assistance. The lab, supported by EPCglobal Canada and several vendors offering RFID products and services, will also help RFIDTT as it works with customers. This will include assistance with gathering and understanding user requirements, selecting and testing appropriate RFID products, and project management.

Trinidad and Tobago may not seem the likely spot for leading-edge technology such as RFID. In fact, says Pankaj Sood, manager of MRAL, that's what colleagues believed when RFIDTT first approached the university research lab. "We had some of the same impressions before we got involved," Sood says. "When you think of the Caribbean, you think of it as a tourist destination more than a business destination."

Still, Sood adds, the country—particularly the island of Trinidad—is ripe for RFID. "It has a fledgling economy fueled by oil and gas," he explains. According to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook, Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most prosperous nations in the Caribbean, largely due to its petroleum and natural gas production and processing.

The country's gas and oil industry is one sector to which RFID may be applied. According to Frankly Dookheran, an independent consultant hired by RFIDTT to help set up the company, RFIDTT has already held discussions with firms in that sector to consider using the technology to track assets and processes. RFID could be employed to track cylinders and trucks used to transport natural gas, for instance, as well as the distribution process.

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