RFID Labs Around the World Collaborate

Universities are sharing researchers to foster greater cooperation and move RFID research forward.
Published: June 25, 2007

Two years ago, I was lamenting how RFID labs in different parts of the world were doing the same research, wasting time and valuable resources. I spoke to a few leading academics in RFID about this issue—Bill Hardgrave at the University of Arkansas, Steve Miles at MIT and Dan Deavours at The University of Kansas, among them—and they all agreed that the labs needed to communicate better and share information so each could focus on its own area of expertise, rather than conduct research others were already working on elsewhere.

What a difference 24 months makes. In that period, MIT has hosted five academic forums, and labs from around the world have gotten together to form the Global RF Lab Alliance to improve communication and collaboration. The LogDynamics Lab at the University of Bremen is a founding member of the alliance.

Later this year, two scientists working at the Bremen Institute of Industrial Technology and Applied Work Science (BIBA) will spend three months at the Research Center for Logistics Information Technology (LIT) in Korea. The LIT is the central national project of the Republic of Korea for the development of new information technologies concerning the support of logistic processes. LIT conducts research, education and training, as well as research on the practical application of concepts and technologies, including RFID, ubiquitous computing, automation and intelligent logistics systems.

The German-Korean colloboration project will focus on business processes and technology required for intelligent and safe logistic systems, particularly for port logistics. “The international cooperation will give us valuable input for the study of self-controlling logistic processes,” says Jan Kolditz, one of the Bremen scientists heading to Korea.

In addition, Marco Lewandowski, an industrial engineering and management student at the University of Bremen, will spend time at the RFID Lab at the University of Parma in Italy. “We are looking forward to working with students and researchers from other alliance members,” says Antonio Rizzi, head of the Parma lab. “Sharing knowledge and people is one of the key elements of the Global RF Lab Alliance.”

The Parma lab is researching the use of RFID in the cold chain and supply chain of the retail and food industries. It also operates an extensive demonstration center for different system components. Lewandowski will work on these projects.

It’s exciting to see researchers from around the world putting their heads together to develop systems, technologies and concepts that will move RFID forward—and help companies use it to achieve real benefits.