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Saturday, October 30, 2004

ACM queue -special issue on RFID

ACMQueue has come out with an issue devoted to RFIDs. In an article written by Roy Want,Intel Research, RFID is equated to magic and introduced as an electronic tagging technology that allows an object, place, or person to be automatically identified at a distance without a direct line-of-sight, using an electromagnetic challenge / response exchange. Typical applications include labeling products for rapid checkout at a point-of-sale terminal, inventory tracking, animal tagging, timing marathon runners, secure automobile keys, and access control for secure facilities."

Initially, commercial deployment is likely to focus on pallet- or crate-level tracking in a warehouse, and depending on its success, may lead to item-level tracking in the future. RFID could improve the efficiency of warehouse management considerably. RFID tags would allow crate identities to be checked at a distance when entering or leaving the building, whether or not the tag is directly visible. A bar code used in the same application could well be facing the wrong direction, making it impossible to scan automatically. Once RFID has proved beneficial and has been well established, economies of scale such as mass production should help bring down the price. This would enable item-level tracking for high-value goods, and perhaps eventually, even tracking low-value items.

RFID provides a data transport mechanism between a tag and a reader, which can be extended to provide greater utility than returning a simple identification number. The three important extensions of electronic tagging are: sensing the environment, security, and electronic memory.
Apart from cost, the remaining technical issues for RFID are all solved. A number of issues, however, still present a challenge: tag orientation, reader coordination, multiple standards, stored data, range, cost, and customer concerns.Product Packaging Independence,Multiple Standards,Data Formats and wraps up with noting that progress is being made on Longer Range, Lowering Manufacturing Costs.
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