Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

5th Jun 2010
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Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that makes use of a sensor incorporated in an object or an animal or product for the purpose of its identification and tracking using radio waves. Usually radio frequency identifiers comprise of interrogators (also known as readers) and tags(also known as labels).

Most of the RFID tags consist of two parts. One is an integrated circuit used for storing and processing information, for modulating and de-modulating a radio frequency and the other is an antenna for receiving radiation.

RFID’s are easy to incorporate in other items or products. For example researchers in Bristol University incorporated RFID in live ants to study their behaviour. Hitachi holds the record for manufacturing smallest RFID chip of size 0.05mm*0.05mm. These chips can store 38 digit numbers using 128 bit ROM (Read Only Memory).

The application of RFID is varied ranging from banking to tracking of animals when they are out grazing. Card companies are at present looking for ways in which card payments can be made using mobile phones using this technology. The companies have come out with a break through idea where they have developed a microSD card which when inserted in the mobile phone can act as a tag as well as a RFID reader. After inserting the microSD card in the mobile phone it can be used to link to user’s bank account and make payments.

Governments use RFID technology for traffic management. RFID together with mobile computing and web technology paves way for organizations to manage and control their assets. Web based management tools enable organizations to monitor their assets and make and implement decisions from any part of the world.

Logistics and transportation are major areas of implementation of RFID technology. For example, yard management, shipping and freight and distribution centres are some areas where RFID tracking technology is used. Transportation companies around the world value RFID technology due to its impact on the business value and efficiency.

RFID chips are being incorporated even in passports. These passports which contain RFID chips in them (also called as e-passports) not only contain the passport holder’s information but also record his travel history of entry and exit from the country. These passports were first issued by Malaysia followed by other countries like Japan, Taiwan, USA and EU countries etc. Standards for these RFID passports are laid by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). A broad scale implementation of this technology around the world can help the security personnels in tracking the data of passengers.

RFID’s can also prove to be a replacement for bar codes.

Hence, we have seen few examples as to how RFID technology is being implemented in certain day to day activities. If this technology is further improved and enhanced, it can be used in many more operations thereby making certain processes easy. It will certainly prove to be of a good economic value and makes decision making and its implementation quiet fast and also efficient simultaneously keeping a track of the outcomes.

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