Auburn RFID Lab – Part 2: Introduction to the Lab & RFID


This is part two of a four-part series geared towards learning more about the Auburn RFID lab in general, what goes on there, how it can benefit RFID as an industry, and a quick overview of RFID as a technology.

The RFID Lab at Auburn University is a research institute focusing on the business case and technical implementation of RFID and other emerging technologies in retail, supply chain, and manufacturing.  RFID performance and quality testing has been a staple of the RFID Lab for years, and the Lab has pioneered most of the modern testing practices for RFID in retail. For more information on the RFID Lab at Auburn, click here.

[Audio Transcription Below]

What is the Auburn RFID lab?

Auburn University's RFID lab specializes in the business case and technical implementation of radio frequency identification technology in retail, supply chain, and manufacturing settings. The lab has continued to work with leading retail, supply chain, manufacturing, and technology companies to discover potential opportunities in the field of radio frequency.

What goes on there day-to-day?

On a daily basis the Lab is constantly working on different business cases for multiple different companies within the manufacturing, retail, and supply chain industries. This means that the Lab is constantly running RFID audits for all of the different sponsors of the lab. These audits help determine the potential implementation and impacts of RFID technology in each of these sponsors current environments. By doing this, the Lab hopes to improve these companies' inventory accuracy and visibility at the product level. Which in turn reduces stock outs while increasing customer satisfaction and maximizing their efficiency and effectiveness. As well as conducting different audits for each one of these companies, the Auburn University Lab also conducts different base line scenarios and test scenarios. This entails running hundreds of different RFID tests and research, where we test real life RFID scenarios.

How does the Auburn RFID Lab benefit RFID as an industry?

The Auburn University RFID Lab is the global standard for RFID technology and research. The Auburn University RFID Lab establishes a global baseline and standard for different RFID tags. The Lab does this through the use of the ARC program and the Anechoic Chamber. The purpose of the ARC program at the Lab is to ensure that retail suppliers are able to deliver RFID tagged product to retailers that meet or exceed the levels of performance necessary to provide benefit to both the retailer and the retail supplier in a consistent and cost effective manner.

RFID 101

RFID, or radio frequency identification is the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. There are two different types of RFID. The first type is Passive RFID which draws power from the reader and sends back waves that can be converted to digital data. The Lab mainly focuses on the use of Passive RFID tags in the Retail and Manufacturing environments. However, the Lab just implemented an Active RTLS demo. The main difference between Active RFID tags and Passive RFID tags is that Active tags have their own power source. This power source is typically a battery; the power source is used to run and transmit the microchip's circuitry and to continually broadcast this signal and information to the reader. Unlike an Active tag, a Passive RFID tag has no power source or battery. This means that the microchip only transmits the tag's information when it enters or passes through an RF field such as an antenna. This means that Passive RFID tags are normally less expensive than Active RFID tags because the price of the tag doesn't include the price of the battery.


If you have any questions about RFID testing comment below or contact us for more information.

For more information about Auburn's RFID lab - stay tuned for the rest of the series or contact the lab!

To read more about Auburn's RFID lab, check out the links below!

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