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RFID – Is the time now or yesterday?

Some time back, I along with many others were looking forward to 2001 being the year that RFID really “took off”. Did it happen? Is this the start of a new era? As usual the answer is not a simple yes or no, but we can honestly say that we did see a step in the right direction.

RFID has taken a major step forward. You can search the web and find hundreds of web sites that deal with this as a topic. Hundreds of manufacturers making RFID systems. We can read about organizations like the UCC and EAN supporting an initiative called GTAG to produce an RFID solution for global supply chain applications involving returnable containers, asset management, transport and logistics.

We see MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Auto-Id center working on developing a standard system to identify objects using RFID [Radio Frequency Identification]. RFID tags are built into objects like food, clothes, drugs or auto-parts, and ‘read’ by devices in the environment, e.g. in shelves, floors, doors. Their goal is a tag that costs under 5 cents and a reader for ~$100 with ~4 feet range using multiple frequencies (e.g. 13.56 MHz and 915MHz)

But what of NOW. The answer is easy. For those companies that are looking for a solution to their needs, especially if those needs involve a reusable tag, DON’T WAIT. Do it now. We have seen some recent cases where the return on investment has been 4-6 months for some fairly large systems and this is a saving that your company could be having now.  With most manufacturers participating in the standards work, you can easily get assurances from your vendor as to their intended conformance with the proposed standards and with this knowledge the path forward should be clear.