Contact Information

Cambridge Auto-ID Lab
Institute for Manufacturing
17 Charles Babbage Road
Cambridge CB3 0FS
Tel: +44 (0)1223 764306

Cambridge Auto-ID Lab News

  9 December 2004:    Cambridge Auto-ID Labs Research Director speaks at the RFID Forum

Dr Duncan McFarlane, Research Director of Cambridge Auto-ID Labs, gave a talk on 'RFID in Manufacturing' at the RFID Forum in London on the 9th of December. Please click hereto view the presentation.

  26 November 2004:    Cambridge and MIT Auto-ID Labs discuss Healthcare Research Initiatives

On 26th November, Robin Koh (Auto-ID Labs, MIT, USA) visited the Cambridge lab, to discuss involvement of the European (Cambridge, St Gallen) Auto-ID Labs in the Healthcare Research Initiative.

The Healthcare Research Initiative will provide an objective, coordinated and comprehensive body of research for the application of automated identification, mass serialization, networking and sensing technology to Healthcare. It will provide a foundation of research for organisations to make sound decisions during the deployment of Auto-ID infrastructure for both current and future applications.

  17 November 2004:    Cambridge Auto-ID Lab runs one-day Product End-of-life management workshop

The Auto-ID Labs conducted one-day workshop on Product End-of-Life Management at Downing College on 17th November. The workshop was well received by various industry delegates. It brought together key researchers and industrialists with a wealth of experience to share for the preparation of forthcoming WEEE/RoHS directives and to introduce information technology in assisting recycling process.

The workshop focussed on the importance of managing the information associated with products throughout their lifecycle. It outlined the solution approaches for managing lifecycle information of products developed by the Cambridge Auto-ID labs, and Sheffield Hallam and De Montfort Universities. Mr. Morgan Johnson from Mirec Asset Management Ltd gave a practical view of information management of the end-of-life products. Mr. Mark Dowling from British Telecom talked about various measures taken by BT to comply with the WEEE and RoHS directives. The workshop was concluded with an "RFID in action" demostration at the Cambridge Automation Laboratory. The demonstration highlighted the potential benefits of RFID in managing returned products from the point of collection to the point of disposal.

  18 October 2004: Cambridge and Keio Auto-ID Labs discuss future collaboration opportunities

Masaki Umejima, research fellow and Mikkao Ogawa, doctoral researcher from the Auto-ID Labs, Japan visited Cambridge Auto-ID Labs on 18th October. The purpose of their visit was to know more about research activities at the Cambridge Auto-ID Labs and to explore collaboration opportunities in various research areas. Dr Duncan McFarlane introduced Cambridge Auto-ID Labs' research initiatives and future plans. The lab members presented their research work on the end-of-life information management and the impact of RFID data to improve on-shelf availability of a retail store. Keio Auto-ID Labs also discussed their research activities and it was mutually agreed that the two labs will work more closely in the future.

  11 October 2004: Sony-Europe visits Cambridge Auto-ID Labs

Andreas F.W. Schneider, Senior Manager and Dr Karl Bodenhofer, Project Manager of Environmental & Product Compliance Technology-Sony Europe, visited Cambridge Auto-ID Labs on 11th October to know the current research activities of the lab. Dr Duncan McFarlane gave a brief overview of the lab's current activities and future plans. The lab members presented the research projects on the end-of-life product lifecycle information management and product tagging. Sony discussed their current activities related to the WEEE marking and their view on RFID and WEEE. The discussion was followed by a tour of the automation lab to see how Auto-ID Technologies being used with real-time industrial control.

  22 August 2004:    Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore visits Cambridge Auto-ID Labs

On Monday 22nd August, Cambridge Auto-ID Labs welcomed representatives of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore ( and The Logisitics Institute - Asia Pacific ( The lab presented the current activities, including PhD research projects on end-of-life product lifecycle information management and the use of real-time RFID data to improve on-shelf availability, as well as the Cambridge Auto-ID Lab involvement in the EPCglobal Software Action Group, particularly in the areas of the EPC Information Service and EPCIS Discovery Service.

The visitors were also given a tour of the automation lab to see Auto-ID technology being used with real-time industrial control systems. Singapore is one of the leading logistics hubs in the Asia Pacific area and is very keen to deploy RFID and EPC technology to speed up shipping/receiving processes and customs clearance. Opportunities for research student exchange programmes and the possibility of setting up an Auto-ID Labs in Singapore were also discussed.

For more details on the IDA visit, please contact Mark Harrison,

 16-18 June 2004:   Cambridge Auto-ID Lab Conducts EPC Network Training

Auto-ID Labs Cambridge conducted a three day, in depth 'intensive' training course on RFID and EPC Network technology in conjunction with easyEPC Ltd. This course covered the different elements of the EPC Network in considerable detail, by complementing traditional lecture-room style teaching with practical demonstrations and hands-on lab sessions.

easyEPC Ltd is a for-profit company headed up by Helen Duce, the former Auto-ID Centre European Director. The company's mission is to provide clear, accurate and unbiased education in RFID and the EPC Network. Wherever possible, easyEPC works with the various Auto-ID Labs to deliver education products.

More details can be found at the easyEPC web site,, or from Helen Duce,

 19 May 2004:   Manhattan Associates, Alien Technologies, Printronix & Microsoft hold a one-day RFID awareness event

Manhattan Associates, a supply chain software company specialising in warehouse management systems recently held a one-day RFID awareness event at the Cambridge Garden House Hotel, virtually next-door to the Cambridge Auto-ID Lab. Together with three technology partners, Microsoft, Printronix and Alien Technology, Manhattan presented on a number of aspects of RFID to around 40 industrialists from around the UK.

A highlight of the day for many was a visit to the Cambridge Auto-ID Lab in the afternoon, where attendees were able to gain insights into the practical operation of RFID-enabled processes and glimpse into the future of manufacturing during a demonstration of the technology being developed in the Auto-ID Lab's automation laboratory. In particular, the demonstration of smart, intelligent agent controlled manufacturing, underpinned by an RFID infrastruture deployed in the lab, was well-received.

 18 May 2004:   Cambridge Auto-ID Lab participates in ePC/RFID Workshop

Cambridge Auto-ID Lab was asked to present an overview of RFID and EPC, and to give an update on the latest developments in the field in ePC/RFID Workshop run by the Smart CPG Forum in London. This event was designed to allow participants to work together through the day to better understand the impact and implications that RFID and EPC Network technology might have in their various industries and organisations.

Steve Hodges, Technical Director of the Cambridge Auto-ID Lab, gave a 40 minute presentation at the start of the day to remove much of the confusion surrounding the area of RFID, EPC and Auto-ID. He explained how the work of the Auto-ID Labs and EPCglobal fit together, and then gave an update on the latest developments with standardisation, costs and industry deployment.

 7 May 2004:   e-centre visits Cambridge Auto-ID Lab

Two senior executives from e-centre, the UK representative of the 'custodians of the barcode', EAN International, recently visited the Cambridge Auto-ID Lab. Jim Spittle, Chairman of e-centre, and Andrew Osbourne, Director of Policy and Research, visited the lab to learn more about its research programme and to explore the potential for on-going collaboration between the two organisations in the future. A number of Lab personnel presented updates on different aspects of their work, such as the contributions to the EPCglobal Software Action Group in the areas of dynamic ONS, EPCIS and tag data standards.

 28 April 2004:   Cambridge Auto-ID Lab participates in e-centre "Making RFID a Reality" Conference

Cambridge Auto-ID Lab recently participated in an event marking the launch of the EPC Network to the UK industry. This one-day event, held at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, Westminster at the end of April was organised by e-centre and featured a number of speakers from the industry who gave their perspectives on the EPC Network technology. The EPC Network is a new combination of technologies devised to revolutionise the supply chain by replacing barcodes, which are ubiquitous today, with a new system that will provide more accurate and reliable information about the identity, location and status of materials, goods and assets. The EPC Network is likely to impact a large number of different industry sectors, but perhaps the most immediate opportunity is in the tracking of cases and pallets of goods in the retail supply chain. A number of key companies in this sector have already made public their plans to deploy the EPC Network over the next few years. For more information about the EPC Network, please contact Duncan McFarlane

 27 April 2004:    Wal-Mart RFID/EPC team visits Cambridge Auto-ID Lab

The leader of the Wal-Mart RFID/EPC adoption project, Simon Langford visited the Cambridge Auto-ID Lab on a recent visit to the UK, along with one of his colleagues, John Lafoon. Simon and John spent a day talking to various members of the Lab, and learning about the latest research work in the areas of RFID and the EPC Network. Presentations on diverse topics were well received - including the use of the EPC Network to help manage products at the end of their lives, the future face of retailing, training and education in RFID and EPC and the future of manufacturing systems. Wal-Mart also presented an update on their adoption activities and plans, which was followed by a lively discussion about issues surrounding the deployment of RFID.

 31 March 2004:   RFID Journal Live

Duncan McFarlane recently spoke at the RFID Journal Live Annual Conference held in Chicago, USA. The conference brought together vendors and end users seeking to understand how best to meet the many requirements and opportunities that RFID is offering right now. Duncan spoke on the role of RFID deployment within current and future manufacturing operations. He differentiated between the short and longer term drivers for deployment and identified likely characteristics of the implementations at each stage. The presentation can be accessed from the 'Presentations' section of the DIAL web site

 4 Mar 2004:   MIREC Asset Management visit DIAL

On March 4th, two executives - Morgan Johnson, Managing Director, and Paul Dumpleton, General Manager - from MIREC Asset Management, a Europe-wide asset management firm, visited DIAL to discuss the feasibility of using RFID tags for returns management. The EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which is due to become a UK law by Aug 2004 has lead manufacturers and retailers to explore the use of next generation product identification technologies to manage their reverse logistics channels.
Steve Hodges gave an overview of Auto ID systems and the EPC Network. Alan Thorne presented a demo highlighting the various aspects of using RFID tags on different types of products and associated issues. It was mutually agreed that a field trial should be set up in coordination with retailers selling electrical and electronic equipment to see how RFID could bring improvements to the management of returned/end-of-life products.

 9 Feb 2004:   Cambridge AutoID Lab launches EPC training courses

The Cambridge Auto-ID Lab has launched a new portfolio of training events, named easyEPC, to help educate and guide those involved in the adoption of the EPC Network. Whether you are a business person wanting to know if your organization should adopt or an IT manager who needs to know how you implement this new technology, there is an easyEPC course to help.

Visit to learn more.

14 Jan 2004:   Retail discussion forum held by Cambridge Auto-ID Labs

Numerous retailers have announced their commitment to RFID tagging technology at the pallet and case level, and several field trials have been conducted at the item level. Hence, the availability of RFID technology in retail stores may occur sooner than expected and the implications of this on in-store retail processes are potentially significant. This forum focused specifically on the impact of Auto-ID technology on shelf replenishment processes in retail stores. Participants also discussed the role of Auto-ID in challenging the fundamentals of retail store operating models. Participants were also given the opportunity to observe how Auto-ID works through our lab demonstration. Participants included representatives from Tesco, Safeway, Syncra, and Information Resources.