Saturday, 14 July 2007

RFID - The future

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), the technology of thefuture, has long established itself in our everyday lives. It isalready deployed in various areas ranging from efficientinventory management and road toll collection through to timingthe performance of individual participants in mass sportingevents. With its enormous potential it is only right that RFIDis on everyone's lips. RFID technology builds a bridge between the physical world of aproduct and the virtual world of digital data. The technologythus meets the demands of companies cooperating in a closelyknit value chain and is being deployed promisingly in allsectors of the economy. RFID will soon be considered anindispensable part of the chain. RFID - An Overview RFID or Radio Frequency Identification is a system that usesradio waves to transmit an object's identity. There are severalmethods of identifying objects using RFID, but the most commonis to store an ID or serial number that identifies a specificproduct along with other information, on a tag, which is a smallmicrochip attached to an antenna. The antenna enables the chipto transmit whatever identification information it contains to areader. The reader converts the radio waves from the RFID taginto digital information that software systems can use forprocessing. Typically, when a reader reads a tag, it passes three things toa host computer system: the tag ID, the reader's own ID, and thetime the tag was read. By knowing which readers are in whichlocations, companies can know where a product is, as well aswhat it is, and by tracking the tag data by time, they can knoweverywhere it's been. Most industry analysts argue that tagging is a transformational software developmentactivity that will ultimately change the way businesses plan,price, distribute, and advertise products. But for the present,enterprise application vendors are extending their products tohandle an expected boom in RFID data. Until recently, a bar coded item used to sit on a retail shelfand did not generate any data until it was scanned by a bar codereader. And then the data was read only once. RFID, on the otherhand, is a passive technology that does not require humaninteraction to scan. A reader can extract location and productdescription data from a tagged item every 250 milliseconds. Somereaders are capable of reading data from 200 tags per second.The result is a data increase of more than one thousand timesabove traditional scanning methods. With the rate at which the market competition is rising,inefficiencies in a company's value/supply chain and theircontinuous efforts to shore up internal security are driving therising demand for RFID. The retail trade is playing a decisivepart in the broad-based roll-out of RFID projects. RFIDrepresents an all-encompassing structural business concept thatfar transcends simply superseding the bar code. Considering thecurrent scenario, RFID systems are rapidly gaining significance.This holds especially in areas where they can be used to manageprocesses within the value chain. With this favorable situation,the market for systems are likely to grow globally from EUR 1.5 bn to EUR 22 bnbetween 2004 and 2010 (average growth rate: +57% p.a.). Duringthe same period, the RFID market in the EU-15 is expected toexpand from EUR 0.4 bn to EUR 4 bn (+47% p.a.). RFID is such an intriguing business concept, as it cutsinventory and supply chain costs through its implementation. Theultimate goal is for RFID to replace barcodes. RFID allows forindividual product identification, not for product lineidentification like barcodes. If this takes place, individualproducts can be read letting stores locate those items ifneeded. Stores can also track when items leave the storeallowing them to easily replace items when one is purchased. Furthermore, shipments can be easily and quickly sorted andaccepted by the receivables department. With the reader,products can be received without even opening the pallet cuttinglogistical needs. Obviously isa great tool for the supply chain and companies wishing tobetter track their products and inventory. RFID will also serve as a tool. It will replace manualprocesses for tracking supplies in warehouses and at loadingdocks, e.g. as a crate passes by, a networked portal on a loading dock can transmit information about it to abackend system. This facilitates automated creation of shippingmanifests and other data, whose generation currently involvessome degree of manual labor. In principle, speedy datageneration by RFID means that information about, say, a crate oforanges, can reach a destination even before the oranges areloaded onto the truck. In other words, RFID is a form ofautomation support for the supply chain management systems oftoday. Metro and Wal-Mart were the pioneers when it comes to deployingRFID tags in the supply chain. Their suppliers are increasinglyattaching RFID tags to cartons and pallets, mostly withconventional bar code labels on the front so that bothprocedures can be used complementarily. This level is expectedto become ever more widespread in logistics in the coming years. RFID current and future trends RFID - smart radio tags - are the keystone of the emerging'Internet of Things' that will connect objects and places. Theywill create many new opportunities for software softwaredevelopment and other businesses alike and society at large. Current trends indicate that the RFID market will grow fast inthe coming years. With 1.02 billion tags sold in 2006, the valueof the market, including hardware, systems and services, isexpected to increase by a factor of six between 2007 and 2017. Business applications using RFID such as transport andlogistics, access control, real time location, supply chainmanagement, manufacturing and processing, agriculture, medicineand pharmaceuticals, are expected to grow strongly. FID deviceswill also influence Government (e.g. eGovernment, nationaldefense and security), and consumer sectors (e.g. personalsafety, sports and leisure, smart homes and smart cities). RFIDand bar codes will coexist for many years, although the formertechnology is likely to gradually replace the latter in somesectors. Asset tracking applications will see the most rapid growth inthe next few years and will grow disproportionately as comparedto the RFID market as a whole. Interoperability across variousRFID systems, companies, and countries is critical for achievingwide-scale deployment of the technology. Conclusion RFID, in its broadest sense, does not onlyrefer to next-generation barcodes, but to a compact class ofwireless computing devices. There is a broad spectrum ofradio-frequency technologies, including more highly functional(and expensive) technologies such as Bluetooth®, mobile phones,and WiFi. The future holds applications of RFID that go farbeyond mere bar-coding. A ubiquitously RFID-tagged and networkedworld offers a transformational extension of the World Wide Web.It will become not just a World Wide Web of data, but also aWorld Wide Web of things. The world will be very different once readers and RFID tags areeverywhere. In an RFID-enhanced future, the benefits wouldaccrue not just to businesses, but also to consumers.

Author: Ashwin

About the author:Author is a Marketing Executive with an Offshore SoftwareDevelopment Service provider located in India. The company dealsin offshore softwaredevelopment and offshore outsourcing. For more detailedinformation about the company and its services visit:


Ashok yadav said...

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Typically MAG also participates in preparing the test plans and test datain an Outsourcing application development environment in India. This along with other components is discussed and agreed by the customer and forms the basis of the acceptance of the Outsourcing application development in India.MAG studios, as a leading custom development company in India, prepares a work plan with appropriate milestones and reports progress against these defined milestones.MAG studios undertakes E-Business Consulting in India in a very major way.MAG studios has developed a highly advanced and matured process and has documented it such that MAG studio replicates this process on each of its assignment in a uniform and consistent manner.

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