IBM has expanded its radio frequency identification (RFID) research and development efforts with the opening of a European testing centre dedicated to the technology.
The centre, at La Gaude in France, will allow European companies to test RFID systems in real customer environments and iron out any problems.
It promises to provide access to IBM technical capabilities, including the middleware needed to integrate the technology to back-end systems.
The facility complements existing IBM development centres in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Tokyo.
Services offered include the identification, evaluation and integration of prototypes, support for middleware and applications, and development of hardware including antennae and tags.
After the recent drive by retail and consumer goods manufacturers, adoption of RFID continues in many industries such as pharmaceutical, automotive, electronics, travel and transport due to its ability to drive down operating costs, according to IBM.
Guido Bartels, European vice president of pervasive and wireless e-business at IBM, said in a statement: "By using the RFID Testing and Solution Centre in La Gaude companies will see real examples and demonstrations to guide their decisions.
"In addition, to ensure that different scenarios can be tested at the centre, IBM has built prototypes for a number of industries, including pharmaceuticals, retail, logistics, manufacturing, electronics, government and transportation."
IBM said that it has built relationships with over 25 third-party RFID partners, including Philips, Intermec, Intel, Matrics and Symbol, in areas covering chips, tags, readers, software and storage solutions.
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