Worldwide, thousands of companies have turned to RFID systems to improve efficiency in production as well as security. Until recently, the cost of RFID has been a limiting factor. In certain instances, such as tracking for just-in-time manufacturing, companies could justify the cost of RFID tags, but this has not always been the case.
RFID applications are limited only by imagination. There are a great many uses of RFID, some of which are briefly mentioned below.
RFID in passports and driver’s licence
In many countries RFID tags are being used in passports to facilitate machine reading of data. E-passports uniquely identifies its holder and the RF Tag will include other personal information. Certain states in the US are considering putting RFID into drivers licenses to speed up data lookups and to make the falsifying of identity documents much harder.
RFID in inventory systems
The major advantage of RFID in inventory systems is the visibility provided by this technology. It allows an accurate count of the inventory level. In a study at Wal-Mart, RFID reduced Out of Stocks by up to 30 percent for certain products. Also, the RFID technology can prevent or reduce the sources of errors. Benefits of using RFID include the reduction of labour costs, the simplification of business processes and the reduction of inventory inaccuracies.
RFID in Fleet Management
Vehicle re-fueling, weighing and maintenance.
Tracks the location of fleet vehicles.
Tyre tracking – this prevents unscrupulous operators from “borrowing” tyres from a competitor and then “exchanging” these for another set to get free tyre mileage.
Provides a history of fleet inventory and maintainance.
RFID for Vehicles
RFID tags have been in use for some time for Toll Gates and for the cashless purchase of fuel. The FUELMASTER system supported by British Petroleum (BP) in South Africa not only facilitates the cashless purchase of fuel but also provides monitoring of fuels usage patterns etc. The FUELMASTER system is relatively low cost to install and easily pays for itself in savings achieved.
RFID for Animal identification
Implantable RFID tags or transponders have been used for animal identification for a number of years. This allows immediate identification of strays.
RFID in Theft Detection and Prevention
- RFID tags embedded in items ranging from video equipment through to tyres or even wooden poles allows rapid identification of items in order to establish proof of ownership.
- Long range tags allows items to be monitored for movement in a fairly large area.
- Associative tagging can trigger a response if an item is moved by an unauthorized person or persons.
Other uses of RFID may include:
- Allowing a refrigerator to track the expiration dates of the food it contains.
- Intelligent traffic signals on the road. As an example of this, emergency vehicles could be given priority by having intersections turn to green to favour the emergency vehicle.
- Asset tracking in Real Time.
- Correctional services personnel tracking. Inmates wear wristwatch-sized transmitters that can detect attempted removal and alert prison computers.
- Automatic timing at sports events.
- Theme parks have been known to use RFID to identify users of the various rides in order to make a DVD of the visitors time at the park.
- RF Tags have been implanted in golf balls to track the balls.
- Tracking goods in the supply chain and manufacturing process.
- Access Control.