Center of Excellence: Bright perspectives of becoming a regional hub of RFID
SiliconArmenia Mar 31, 2004 8:43 AM

Today, the State Engineering University of Armenia honored the renowned
guest Mike Ohanian at the dedicated session of the Scientific Council headed
by Yuri Sarkissyan, the President of SEUA.

This is not the first time when Mike Ohanian visits Armenia. His mission of
introducing Bar Coding and Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID)
is challenging and aligned with the long-term development of Armenian

"My dream is to establish a regional Center of Excellence for RFID
Technology. And the major goal of mine is to introduce this innovative
technology to the Armenian students and academics who will be the first to
gain knowledge on this subject in the entire region, including CIS
countries." - says Mike Ohanian.

In fact, this initiative started years ago when Mr.Ohanian met Artashes
Toumanian, the Chief of Staff to the President of Armenia who assisted in
getting the message to the Government. Moreover, Mike Ohanian received a
letter with words of support from Andranik Markaryan, the Prime Minister of
Armenia, encouraging him to continue working with universities on the
initiative. "We worked very diligently on this matter and as a result the
Government expressed its interest in supporting this idea. We want to go
further by establishing also manufacturing of RFID products/services." -
noted Mike Ohanian. According to him, there will be a huge potential for
RFID products and services in Russia, Caucasus region and other CIS states,
the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Mike Ohanian also told about the background of Bar Coding and Automatic
Identification Technologies (AIT). Originally started in the United States,
they then spread to the Europe and other countries of the world. Universal
standards for RFID have been elaborated and put into place to ensure the
smooth development and application and wider adoption by businesses.

"What is unique about RFID is that it can be used virtually by all
industries. And quite naturally, the bright prospects of RFID are backed
with the fact that this technology is used virtually throughout the entire
supply chain i.e. starting from the design and manufacturing of the products
and ending with the final delivery of the goods to consumers." - says Mike

"My vision is to empower Armenian students with the knowledge as we have a
unique chance to join those few countries where Universities deliver courses
on RFID. The forerunner is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
and then followed by UK's Cambridge University and leading universities in
Switzerland, China, Australia and Japan.

"Of course these developments would not happen by themselves and I am very
happy that we have got many cohorts backing our efforts. I am a member of
the Armenian High-Tech Council of America, which is a Boston based
membership organization of Armenian High-Tech executives in the US (AHTCA).
This organization has started ICT series of seminars and workshops through
cooperative agreement with SETA/USAID, jointly run with Enterprise Incubator
Foundation, AHTCA and others. One of the seminars was dedicated to
introduction of RFID technologies. I greatly acknowledge the assistance and
encouragement provided by Berge Ayvazian, the President of AHTCA and Bagrat
Yengibaryan, the Director of EIF." - said Mike Ohanian.

"Some members of AHTCA maintain close ties with MIT, and if we manage to
take the lead in developing and delivering academic courses in the region it
is much more likely that MIT will allow us to use their information
technology and resources, which will be very beneficial considering the vast
experience of MIT in teaching and research of this discipline.

I strongly hope that our students will take an interactive and proactive
approach to our initiative proposing their own ideas and innovations. I look
forward to more regular visits to my motherland Armenia, contributing to the
overall process, involving the industry and reaping together the fruits of
our joint work." - said Mike Ohanian concluding his speech.

The session of the Scientific Council culminated by the honorable award of
Mike Ohanian with the Golden Commemorable Medal in recognition of his
contribution of the Automatic Identification Technologies laboratory to

About Mike Ohanian:
Michael Ohanian is the Retired President of Intermec Technologies, Everett,
Washington, the largest bar code company in the global industrial market. He
is Electrical Engineer by profession and is a leading expert in
microelectronics and AIT technologies. He holds numerous patents.
Mike Ohanian is knowledgeable in the Russian AIT marketplace and serves as a
member on the Board of Trustees of Merrimack College, North Andover, MA. He
is also the RFID Technology Advisor to several US and Canadian companies.

RFID Development Timeline:
1940s - Radar refined and used major World War II effort

1948 - Harry Stockman invents RFID, with the publication of his paper
"Communication by Means of Reflected Power."
1950s - Early explorations of RFID technology
1950s - D.B. Harris patents "Radio transmission systems with modulatable
passive responder"
1959 - Friend or Foe (IFF) long-range transponder system reaches breadboard
demonstration stage

1960s - Development of the theory of RFID. Start of applications field

1963 -1964 - R.F. Harrington advances theory with "Field measurements using
active scatterers" and "Theory of loaded scatterers"
1966 - Commercialization of EAS, 1-bit Electronic Article Surveillance
technology: Checkpoint, Sersormatic

1970s - Explosion of RFID development. Tests of RFID accelerate. Early
adopter implementations of RFID.

1973 - Transponder system and apparatus
1975 - Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories (LASL) releases its RFID research
to public sector, publishes "Short-range radio-telemetry for electronic
identification using modulated backscatter"
1975-1978 - Large companies, e.g. Raytheon, RCA, and Fairchild, develop
electronic identification systems
1977 - Electronic license plate for motor vehicles
1978 - Electronic detection and identification system
1979 - First implantable RFID tags.

1980s - Commercial applications of RFID enter mainstream.

1982 - molded-neck collar EID
1984 - Radar apparatus for detecting and/or classifying an agitated
reflective target. Batteryless, portable, frequency divider useful as a
transponder of electromagnetic radiation. Animal feeding and monitoring
1985 - Electronic proximity identification system. Electronic tag
identification system. Remote passive identification system. Implant
telemetry system.
1986 - Glass-encased injectible EID.
* First RFID toll collection system implemented in Norway

1990s Emergence of standards. RFID widely deployed. RFID becomes a part of
everyday life.

1991 - TI establishes TIRIS, the first multinational semiconductor company
to develop and market RFID.
1991 - AAR adopts RFID standard.
1993 - ISO EID standard developed.
1992-1995 - Multi-protocol traffic control and toll collection systems
implemented in Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgia.
1994 - All USA railcars equipped with RFID.
1996 - City of L.A. adopts pet tagging.

2000s - Over 350 direct reference patents, vast number of companies enter
RFID marketplace.

Modern successful commercial applications include:
Supply Chain Management
Security and Access Control
Animal Identification
Automated Library Systems
Checkpoint Systems
Toll Road Control
Digital Card Mail
Wide-scale electronic toll collection in US.
2003 - WalMart and the Department of Defense of the United States issued an
edict requiring their suppliers to incorporate RFID technologies in the
supply chain commencing in 2005.

by Armen Asryan
Content Manager of SiliconArmenia
SiliconArmenia 2001 - 2004