RFID finds permanent home after seven year odyssey

The University of Arkansas Radio Frequency Identification Research Center will soon have a larger and permanent home following the unveiling this week of design plans for the new facility.

The new 20,000-sq.-ft. facility is located at 1637 Fred Hanna Drive in Fayetteville and it will be the research center’s third home since it was founded in 2005 as part of the Information Technology Research Institute in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. What’s different about the new facility is it is the first time the center has enjoyed the luxury of an entire building dedicated to it operation.

“With the explosion of the radio frequency identification industry in the past year, we’ve seen a corresponding increase here in research activity, technology interest and educational needs,” said Justin Patton, the research center’s managing director. “Having a larger facility of our own we can fully meet RFID demands and be ready for several other technologies on the near horizon.”

The new center is a 20,000-square-foot existing space that is roughly twice the size of the current location inside Hanna’s Candle Factory on the south side of Fayetteville. It is expected to be operational in the fall.

Patton said the expanded facility allows the center to improve its current demonstration, research and laboratory areas as well as providing new areas for education. The entire supply chain will be represented, from receiving of raw materials through manufacturing of products, to the moving of those products through distribution centers and several retail store formats and ultimately into customers’ homes.

Since the center’s research mission will expand along with its footprint, areas for the study of emerging supply chain and retail technologies are also planned. The new facility also will house testing areas for University of Arkansas RFID Research Center board member companies and associated businesses.

“The new RFID space will allow us to strategically expand and to do things that were not possible not only in RFID, but also in the retail technologies area in general,” said Moez Limayem, the Walton College associate dean for research and graduate programs.

“Moreover, we will be able to better serve our internal and external stakeholders. It will definitely enhance the RFID center’s national and international leadership in education, research and outreach.”

Radio frequency identification, or RFID, is the use of a wireless system to transmit data from tags on products to a receiver for the purpose of identifying and tracking the product through the supply chain.