RFID Center opens at U of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville opened its RFID Research Center in June.

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The University of Arkansas’ RFID Research Center is a collaborative combination of three existing research centers located within the Sam M. Walton College of Business: the Information Technology Research Center, the Center for Retailing Excellence, and the Supply Chain Management Research Center. This new center spans many disciplines including retail, supply chain, industrial engineering, and computer science, among others.

The center plans to become a world-recognized leader in RFID application research and the study of RFID’s impact on business and society.

The center's base of operations is a lab that models a working industrial warehouse environment in 7ꯠ sq ft of space donated to the center by Hanna's Candles; the space is located within Hanna's manufacturing and warehouse facility.

Basic functions

The Center’s functions are the creation and dissemination of RFID knowledge. Center researchers will include faculty and students from a variety of disciplines (such as information systems, logistics, retailing, etc.) as appropriate for any particular research project. Instead of having a staff of researchers waiting for a project that fits their skills, teams of researchers will work together on projects an as-needed basis. This provides flexibility in the types of projects conducted, agility in the ability to respond to various types of projects, greater breadth of topics that can be addressed, and increased depth of knowledge in specific application areas.

RFID Lab

The Center also includes an active RFID laboratory containing the latest RFID technology (tags, antennas, readers) from a variety of vendors. The RFID lab will serve as a training ground for students, faculty, and businesses (e.g., Wal-Mart vendors). Exposing students and faculty to the technology will help diffuse the technology throughout the various academic disciplines, such as marketing, physics, and engineering. This exposure will also generate interest in the technology. For business training, the RFID Lab will be used for workshops on such topics as technology basics (tags, antennas, readers), making the business case for RFID (costs, benefits, ROI, etc.), deployment (tag, antenna, reader placement), and supply chain optimization (how to squeeze costs out of the supply chain with RFID).

The 19 sponsoring members include ABF Freight System, AC Nielsen, Campbell’s Soup Co., Cisco-Eagle, ConnecTerra, Deloitte, E&J Gallo Winery, EPC Solutions, Hanna Candle Co., Hugg & Hall, Hytrol, IBM, Intel, J.B. Hunt, Microsoft, OAT, Omron Electronics LLC, RFID global Solutions, Symbol Technologies, ThingMagic, Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart, Weber Marking Systems, and Zebra Technologies.

For more information, visit the University of Arkansas’ RFID Lab site.

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