PLUS Location Systems, a Huntsville, Ala.-based provider of real-time location tracking and decision support solutions, announced a partnership with the Auburn University RFID Lab, Auburn, Ala., to provide RFID technologies to the supply chain and manufacturing industry.

“Organizations are trying to gain insight into the detailed behavior and interaction of all their people, assets and inventory throughout their entire enterprise. By combining high-accuracy real-time location system (RTLS) technology and low-cost proximity awareness in the appropriate areas and integrating this data with existing RFID and other sensor systems, this insight can be obtained,” says Phil Yates, vice president of product development at PLUS. “PLUS is thrilled to be part of the Auburn RFID Lab team, and we look forward to a long relationship supporting valuable research and development activity and opportunities for faculty and students.”

The Auburn RFID Lab is a research institute focusing on the business case and technical implementation of RFID and other emerging technologies in retail, supply chain and manufacturing. The lab provides a collaborative environment to study the next generation of integrated data acquisition, analysis and decision-making technologies, tools and processes.

PLUS installed a real-time location system in the RFID lab to provide high-accuracy tracking throughout the facility. The system includes a variety of hardware and software components, including ACTIVE RTLS tags, which are worn by people or attached to assets, and PLUS Readers to receive the Ultra Wide Band (UWB) tag signals. The tag signals are processed by a suite of software applications to provide accurate, real-time location calculations, analyze the movement and interaction of tags, manage databased storage of activity and provide access and visibility to data through a variety of dashboards, reports and APIs. Additional Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled tags, app-based mobile devices and safety system elements are to be added in the near future.

The 13,000-square-foot lab offers simulated retail, grocery and warehouse/distribution center environments and consists of leading-edge personnel, asset and inventory tracking and analysis technology supporting the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

It also includes academic expertise from Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, College of Human Sciences and College of Agriculture.

Auburn University faculty will use the system for research in warehousing and distribution, manufacturing and processing and more.

“We are excited about the addition of PLUS real-time location technology to the lab and the partnership with the PLUS team,” adds Justin Patton, RFID lab director at Auburn University. “Real-time location system (RTLS) and RFID technologies have the potential to become a powerful combination within the broader Internet of Things. Having the PLUS systems installed throughout the lab will enable our team to study and characterize person and asset activity and utilization across a broad spectrum of use-cases. We have a growing list of research projects that the PLUS system will enable, resulting in new insights related to technology integration and the optimization of data collection and analysis tools and processes.”