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Hewlett-Packard Commits to 1M Tags; Opens Testing Lab

Hewlett-Packard announces on Monday the February opening of its "Noisy Lab" RFID testing center.
Jan 17, 2005This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 17, 2005—Two pieces of RFID-related news this week from Hewlett-Packard, both of which testify to the computing giant's growing enthusiasm for the technology. The first comes from the National Retail Federation Convention & Expo today in New York, where the company will announce the February opening of its "Noisy Lab" RFID testing center. Intending to distinguish itself from similar centers that started springing up throughout the world over the course of late 2003 and 2004, HP's will reportedly be more true to the messy reality of many RFID implementations. While competing test centers offer too-perfect environments in which to trial a deployment, the Noisy Lab will introduce complicating variables like liquid and forklifts that would be found in an actual warehouse. Encapsulating the Noisy Lab pitch, the CTO of Hewlett-Packard's RFID division said, "There is no substitute for 'real world' testing."

The other news, reported here by CNet, is HP's Friday announcement that it will begin to aggressively RFID tag its own products, with upwards of one million items slated for tagging. As one of Wal-Mart's top eight suppliers, HP has been tagging shipments to the retailer since April. But in contrast to this year's million-tag plan, tagging in 2004 was, as characterized by HP spokeswoman Dayna Fried, "negligible."

The RFID noise from Hewlett-Packard should actually come as no surprise; it announced in September that it would allocate $150 million to RFID initiatives over the next five years. Also, as an RFID service provider itself, the company stands to gain from invigorated RFID demand.

eWeek has more on the HP Noisy Lab
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