As Wal-Mart's deadline for RFID compliance inches closer, the retailer's top suppliers and others are itching to start experimenting with the technology. But where do you go for testing? One possibility is a fully functional EPC (electronic product code)-compliant RFID laboratory that RedPrairie recently opened at its Waukesha, Wis., headquarters. For a fee, both customers of RedPrairie, which provides supply chain technology solutions, and non-customers can use the lab's RFID tags and readers to test tag placement and readability on their own products.
One of the lab's biggest selling points is that it allows users to try out various types of hardware to see what works best with their own products. "Our objective in developing the first EPC-compliant RFID lab is to help customers test a variety of hardware solutions, tag configurations and products to understand how the technology applies to their business requirements," says John Jazwiec of RedPrairie.
The RFID lab has reported daily traffic since it opened in early October. During a single week in November, for example, more than a dozen representatives from a major food manufacturing company used the lab to experience RFID technology first hand.