Does RFID technology have a place in your business? Regardless of what your business does, it's a question that might be harder to answer "no" to than you might expect-especially after you've checked out the innovative ways it's being employed currently.
Author: Adam Bluemner
Are RFID tags the duct tape of the digital age? It seems like
it. Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are popping up
everywhere these days. And as is the case with the versatile
adhesive, clever problem-solvers are using RFID in ways its
original innovators couldn't have possibly predicted.
RFID is an ideal building block technology. Simple, scalable,
and inexpensive, RFID adopters are leveraging the technology to
answer the questions of "what is it" and "where is it" in an
ever-expanding set of instances.
From the beginning, RFID technology displayed a certain knack
for versatility. The earliest RFID tags tracked just about as
varied a group of items as you could imagine: keys, cows,
and nuclear waste. Since then, engineers have further refined
the technology-providing an abundance of RFID tag-size, data
storage, and power options.
Does RFID technology have a place in your business? Regardless
of what your business does, it's a question that might be harder to
answer "no" to than you might expect-especially after you've
checked out the innovative ways it's being employed currently.
Here's 7 fascinating RFID uses for your
inspiration and consideration:
1. Fashion: Smart fitting rooms
Have you already had the smart fitting room experience? If not,
you probably will soon.
RFIDArena.com recently reported on retailers outfitting
dressing rooms with interactive, RFID powered kiosks. By scanning
dressing room items, shoppers can access product data, find similar
alternatives, and provide feedback. Retailers in return increase
the chances their customers find what they are looking for, collect
product insights from consumers, and get access to a reliable
anti-theft technology in the process.
2. Amusement Parks: No-swipe ticket
RFID isn't just a tool for tracking product. It also provides a
nifty access control solution. A
local blog covering Orlando area attractions recently discussed
how Disney integrated RFID technology into their tickets. The
credit-card style tickets eliminate the need for scanning and
swiping in ride lines, reducing wait times and lowering staffing
costs. Additionally, the RFID-enabled tickets provide park
operators a rich source of information for tracking the movement of
thrill-seekers throughout the grounds.
3. Casinos: Robbery-proof chips
A $1.5M robbery foiled by RFID embedded poker chips again proved
the old adage that the house always wins. Loss prevention is a
common use case for RFID technology, but not the only one in play
at casinos. Discussing casino usage of RFID over at
SingularityHub.com, Aaron Saenz commented: "They can log how
much you spend, where you spend it, and use that information to
keep you in the game longer with well timed drinks and services
catered to your activity. If you're using high-rolling chips you
can almost guarantee that a casino knows what you're up to."
4. Sports: Loss-resistant golf balls
Sick of losing golf balls in the long stuff? Ready to hack away
and not worry about straining to scan for the ball? A number of
specialized sporting goods providers, including Prazza and RadarGolf, are betting that
enough people answer "yes" to those questions. Efficiently locating
items is one of the core benefits offered by RFID. It was probably
only inevitable it would hit the links. Alas, RFID golf balls are
no longer just the idle dreams of electrical engineering students
back at home to caddy for the summer!
5. Guns: Safety products
The gun control debate often seems irresolvably deadlocked
between the dueling imperatives of protecting freedom and
preserving security. The idea of RFID tags in weapons and
ammunition has been cited as a potential compromise. While it's
been proposed in the media on sites like
Forbes.com, few politicians at present have picked up the
potentially hot political potato. Nevertheless, manufacturers like
have already begun producing RFID-enabled gun safety products.
6. Car rental: No-waiting vehicle
While the technologies sometimes compete, RFID complements GPS
well in many fleet management applications. Inexpensive, passively
powered RFID tags work nicely for localized, on-the-lot tracking,
while more expensive, actively powered GPS systems provide a long
distance vehicle monitoring solution. Avis Rent a
Car's adoption of RFID in a similar scenario is interesting.
With RFID in place to recognize vehicle returns, Avis scored a
major customer service win by allowing customers to park in any
open spot and go.
7. Health care: A hygiene solution
The health care field is rich with RFID opportunities:
medication management, optimizing traffic flow in hospitals, and
monitoring sophisticated equipment, to name a few. A startup called
IntelligentM is looking
to make its RFID-enabled dent by tackling the simple, but serious
problem of getting health care workers to wash their hands. The
technology is elegantly simple: Workers wear a wristband and RFID
readers are positioned by the faucets. It's reliable, unobtrusive,
and less expensive than paying a squad of moms to follow nurses and
doctors around! What's not to love?
Adam Bluemner is the Project Specialist Manager for Find Accounting
Software, a service providing free software selection
assistance. Over the last decade Adam has spoken with
thousands of companies, helping them achieve business success
through intelligent software investment. Adam writes extensively on
ERP and business software.
for more blogposts on Find Accounting Software.