The power and flexibility of RFID

What do you know about radio frequency identification (RFID)?

Most decision-makers in business know little (if anything) but they should. Why?

Here’s a Wiki briefing: RFID “uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves. Active tags have a local power source such as a battery and may operate at hundreds of meters from the RFID reader. Unlike a barcode, the tag need not be within the line of sight of the reader, so it may be embedded in the tracked object. RFID is one method for Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC).

“RFID tags are used in many industries. For example, an RFID tag attached to an automobile during production can be used to track its progress through the assembly line; RFID-tagged pharmaceuticals can be tracked through warehouses; and implanting RFID microchips in livestock and pets allows positive identification of animals.”

In The Power of Little Ideas, a recently published book written by David Robertson (above) with Kent Lineback, we learn that “CarMax put RFID tags on tags and people, registered customers as they came in the door, and tracked what customers looked at, in the computer and on the lot, before they made a purchase (or not).”

Robertson goes on to say, “Data provided important insights. It helped CarMax to determine what to select and pay when buying used cars in the wholesale market. It helped to display cars to their greatest advantage on the lot — for example, by showing which display positions sold most quickly or revealing that compact cars displayed next to SUVs looked puny and vulnerable. By providing guidance for repricing and adjusting inventory levels, data also helped the company weather cycles of economic stress or spikes in fuel costs that stifled other retailers’ car sales.”

Delta Airlines offers another example. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) bag tags are already attached to bags everywhere Delta flies, and customers are reaping the benefits. Starting today, customers will now receive live push notifications from critical points along their bag’s journey. A quick note will let a customer know when their bag is successfully loaded onto an aircraft, which carousel it will arrive at for pickup and more.

Thus far, Delta is the only carrier that has implemented an RFID bag tracking solution on a global scale to further improve its already-strong reliability for checked bags. A recent study from the International Air Transport Association showed that an industry-wide global RFID solution could reduce the number of mishandled bags by up to 25 percent by 2022.

To learn more about the power and flexibility of RFID and how it can help your company establish a decisive competitive advantage, I urge you to check out the resources and benefits to be found at the RFID Journal’s website by clicking here.

To check out my interview of Mark Roberti, founder and editor of the RFID Journal, please click here.

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