Singapore Expands RFID Spectrum To Align With Europe And U.S.

The move is one of several steps Singapore is taking to encourage widespread adoption of RFID.
Singapore has expanded the frequency bands for radio-frequency identification applications to ensure that inventory-tracking systems developed locally will interoperate with those in Europe and the U.S. The steps to expand the frequency bands were taken by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, a statutory board of the Singapore government that operates under the Ministry of Information, Communications, and The Arts.

To encourage RFID adoption, the government agency has expanded the UHF band frequency to 866 to 869 MHz and 923 to 925 MHz, from 866.1 to 869 MHz and 924 to 925 MHz, respectively. The power limit for both bands also has been increased from 0.01W to 0.5W, while the power limit for the 923 to 925 MHz band increases to 2W for RFID devices only.

This latest news comes six months after the government agency announced a three-year, $5.9 million plan to develop five RFID-enabled supply-chain strategies it will implement by 2006. The plan, which aims to create an environment conducive for RFID adoption in Singapore, includes aligning the country's RFID frequency spectrum with those used by other countries, building capabilities for developing intellectual property, and collaborating to spur RFID adoption in key industries.

APL Logistics, a supply-chain and logistics-management-services company, container shipping company Neptune Orient Lines Ltd., and Sun Microsystems, will jointly set up an RFID testing and solutions center in Singapore. As the first center of its kind in Southeast Asia, the facility will provide manufacturers with compliance testing services before putting RFID tags on their goods. The center will help companies determine the best way to tag their products to ensure accurate reading.

Several major companies that manufacture goods in Singapore prompted the government's decision after collectively committing to invest more than $7.2 million toward RFID projects. The Infocomm Development Authority said Hewlett-Packard, which assembles servers and data-storage products in Singapore, is conducting RFID trials together with a local parts supplier and logistics service provider to gain visibility into the manufacturing and distribution processes.

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus also will set up its first RFID-enabled warehouse outside Europe in Singapore, the Infocomm Development Authority said. It will use RFID to keep track of aircraft parts and the tools it loans to aircraft maintenance centers in the region. Every tool that is loaned has an RFID tag embedded so it can be tracked and easily recalled, speeding up the loan process. The quicker turnaround time means more tools are available for loan. By tagging aircraft parts using RFID, Airbus can better monitor aircraft maintenance history and ensure the authenticity of the parts.

To assist companies in learning more about the technology, new RFID courses will be offered by The Logistics Institute - Asia Pacific in collaboration with AutoID Labs in Cambridge, Mass., and the Singapore Manufacturers' Federation in collaboration with RFID Focus, respectively. Both courses will be available in November.

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