RFID Labs Will Look at Impact of Temperature on Technology

By Jacqueline Emigh  |  Posted 2004-10-21

RFID Labs Will Look at Impact of Temperature on Technology

RFID testing labs have been cropping up in a variety of spots around the globe. But two new labs announced by Delfour Corp. will put a special focus on helping companies deal with the impact of temperature on RFID in warehouse settings.

Delfour and its consortium partners will also examine how storage warehouses might handle the variety of RFID preferences that will likely spring forth in the future.

"People will be sending shipments that use a mishmash of different RFID products—and there might be some shipments that dont use any RFID at all," said Delfour President and CEO Joe Couto.

Delfours first RFID lab—located at Richmond Cold Storage in Richmond, Va.—has already opened. By the end of this year, the company expects to launch a second lab at Confederation Freezers in Brampton, Ontario.

What are RFIDs promises and pitfalls? Find out here.

Delfour will also leverage the labs to try to determine what to do about RFID-enabling its own software, known as the Delfour SmartEnterprise 2 3PL and 3PL Enterprise Foundation product suites.

"Will we buy, build or align with other companies? Will we rip our software apart or [interface] to some RFID middleware product?" Couto asked.

Delfour could have created an RFID strategy "on nothing more than a wish and a prayer," he told eWEEK.com.

"But instead weve decided to create a consortium. Were being agnostic about RFID technology. Were inviting vendors of good RFID products to donate to our lab. We will then pound the liver out of the products."

Next page: Labs assistance.

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Two systems integration partners—Captech Technologies and R. Moroz Ltd.—are assisting Delfour in sourcing RFID products for the labs. But Delfour will also be accepting inquiries direct from vendors, either solicited or unsolicited, through the end of October.

Delfour plans to test RFID technology ranging from software to RFID tags, antennae and reader hardware, Couto said. Vendors already signed up include Tech Logic Corp., Hopewell Logistics, PNO Cold Logic and Vocollect, a specialist in RF (radio frequency) wireless and voice. Another expected participant, whom Couto doesnt wish to identify yet, is "a German-based manufacturer with very neat RFID tag technology."

IBM—which supplied a keynote speaker at Delfours recent user conference—has also been invited to take part in the testing, Couto said.

Meanwhile, IBM has established its own series of eight RFID test labs at points around the globe. With mandates under way from the U.S. Department of Defense and several major retailers, a number of other players have also gotten active in the RFID testing arena, including Sun Microsystems Inc. and systems integrators SIS Technologies and ODIN Technologies.

For its part, Delfour will work with partners to test various RFID technologies at ambient temperatures, as well as in refrigerated and frozen food environments, according to Couto.

"I predict that some of the vendors will decide to pick their territories—that theyll begin to focus on just one or two of these environments," he said.

Testing at Delfours two RFID labs will be confined to "public warehousing," in which products from multiple clients are stored in the same location, as opposed to "contract warehousing."

"Well also be checking into whether RFID has any potential side effects on food products. Chances are that it doesnt, but anything that touches food needs to be thoroughly examined," Couto told eWEEK.com.

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