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IBM steps up RFID push in Southeast Asia

Company will spend more than $7 million toward tracking tech's adoption, mainly in manufacturing and retail.

IBM is investing $12 million Singapore dollars ($7.3 million U.S. dollars) in two projects aimed at spurring the adoption of radio frequency identification technologies among customers in Southeast Asia.

The company today unveiled a new lab in Singapore for clients to develop and test RFID applications and see how the systems can be integrated into their existing IT infrastructures.

The new center can help companies, especially those in the manufacturing and retail sectors, evaluate the use of RFID technology for functions such as advanced product tracking and inventory control, said Patricia Yim, managing director of IBM Singapore.

RFID tags can transmit information about the products to which they are attached, such as the item's origin, time of purchase and expiration date. IBM has been a strong proponent of this technology, which is touted to help companies slash stock-checking costs while at the same time enabling them to react quickly to changes in their demand and supply chains.

Besides Singapore, Big Blue has opened a number of RFID-testing facilities across the world, including Japan, France and the United States.

In a related announcement, the company said it will step up its ongoing collaboration with Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore by incorporating RFID into their technology tie-up. The two organizations have set up a so-called RFID integration zone within Nanyang Polytechnic's campus to train students on the business and technical aspects of the new technology, such as radio frequency standards and system architectures.

CNETAsia staff reported from Singapore.