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RFID: An Introduction

Cover for RFID: An Introduction

Classification: White Paper

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What ever you read on packaging, Supply Chain or Identification,
you will come across an article or advertisement for RFID. Why does
this technology seem to be being touted as the next best thing
since sliced white bread? And is it just another piece of hype
meant to confuse and make us invest money in another piece of

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is evolving as a major
technology enabler for identifying and tracking goods and assets
around the world. It can help hospitals locate expensive equipment
more quickly to improve patient care, pharmaceutical companies to
reduce counterfeiting and logistics providers to improve the
management of moveable assets. It also promises to enable new
efficiencies in the supply chain by tracking goods from the point
of manufacture through to the retail point of sale (POS).

As a result of the potential benefits of RFID:

  • The automotive industry has been using closed-loop RFID systems
    to track and control major assemblies within a production plant for
    30 odd years;
  • Many of the world’s major retailers have mandated RFID
    tagging for pallets and cases shipped into their distribution
    centres to provide better visibility;
  • There are moves in the defence and aerospace industry to
    mandate the use of RFID to improve supply chain visibility and
    ensure the authenticity of parts;
  • Regulatory bodies in the US are moving to the use of ePedigrees
    based on RFID to prevent counterfeiting of prescription drugs,
  • Hospitals are using RFID for patient identification and
    moveable asset tracking;
  • RFID tags are being used to track the movement of farm animals
    to assist with tracking issues when major animal diseases

But while the technology has received more than its fair share
of media coverage over the last 12 to 18 months, many are still
unfamiliar with RFID and the benefits it can offer. In the face of
this need for clear, comprehensive information about RFID and its
benefits, this paper defines the opportunities offered by the
technology for all organisations involved in the production,
movement or sale of goods. It is equally relevant for organisations
wishing to track or locate existing goods, assets or equipment.

In addition, the paper seeks to outline the business and
technical challenges to RFID deployment and demonstrates how these
issues can be addressed with technology. Above all, it explains how
technology—which provides the software architecture
underpinning the solution rather than tags or readers—can
support the deployment of RFID-based solutions.

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