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Dayton to Foster New RFID Solutions

A local group will open an incubator for RFID technology research at the city's Tech Town campus in July.
By Claire Swedberg
May 13, 2009Calling it a turning point for the RFID industry, a group of public and private entities plan this summer to open a business incubator known as the Dayton RFID Convergence Center (DRCC). The goal is to bring together entrepreneurs, scientists, technology providers and end users to foster the research, development and marketing of RFID solutions.

The office and laboratory space—which amounts to 17,000 square feet in Dayton's Tech Town campus—will have the capacity for 10 to 18 research projects, according to Brad Proctor, the DRCC's CEO and executive director.

The $6 million facility's creation, announced Tuesday at a Dayton news conference, is the result of a collaboration between IT solutions company EPC Technologies (of which Proctor was the CEO), the City of Dayton, and CityWide Development, a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve economic growth in that city. Cincinnati incubation planning company Business Cluster Development (BCD) provided assistance in launching the project. The DRCC, its founders claim, will be the first incubator directly focused on RFID technology.

Proctor says he considered the economic recession one of the best times to launch an incubator, because recessions are when many entrepreneurs begin developing ideas. A number of these entrepreneurs come from larger companies that lack funding for researching technology, he notes, and many may have recently lost their jobs and are thus seeking to launch their own businesses.

Vikram Sethi, a Dayton RCC board member, as well as the director of Wright State University's (WSU) Institute of Defense Studies and Education (IDSE) and an advisor to its dean, says he first spoke with Proctor about developing an incubator for RFID approximately three years ago. According to Sethi, he agreed with Proctor that an incubator could benefit the RFID industry, because there simply are no incubators that focus specifically on radio frequency identification. "Generic incubators are just that," he explains. "To really guide the RFID industry, there needs to be an incubator in that niche."

In addition, Sethi says, because the Dayton area includes Wright Patterson Air Force Base—where much of the U.S. military's logistics management is centered—as well as large RFID vendors and customers, an incubator would be centrally located in that city.

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