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8 ways to win with RFID technology

15 November, 2017

The popularity of RFID has grown over the past few years, so the technology has proved to be a highly versatile method of adding business value.

In logistics, it helps to manage and improve cargo throughput. It is the key in getting reliability about where a shipped item is at any given moment and when it got to its destination in real-time. Another instance of RFID usage includes implanting a microchip into your pet’s neck to allow you to locate it in case of missing. In other words, RFID is already in use in multiple industries and for various purposes.

Check out these eight examples of how this technology can be successfully applied in business today.

Logistics and Supply Chain

Winning in the supply chain means increasing efficiency, reducing errors, and improving quality. In chaotic manufacturing, shipping, and distribution environments, real-time data on the status of individual items provides insights that turn into actionable measures.

By utilizing RFID tags and readers, products can be counted in seconds. This is due to the fact that RFID tags can be automatically scanned without being in the line-of-sight of an RFID scanner and multiple tags can be scanned simultaneously. For manufacturers this translates directly into cost reductions as labor intensive tasks can be carried out faster and more accurately.

In addition to faster authentication of produced goods, manufacturers can also benefit from increased information gathered with the help of RFID technology. RFID tags can store far more information than conventional barcode labels. This information can be used to optimize production processes. Accurate knowledge of the real-time movements of raw materials and the time needed for specific production steps can be integrated into efficient production planning.

Also, companies that use RFID in tracking and managing of shipping containers are able to track containers in each link of the supply chain. Active RFID Tags can be used to track containers in real-time in yards and docks.

Preventive Maintenance

RFID tags are successfully used for preventive maintenance of equipment. It allows manufacturers to have visibility into valuable data such as: which machine has been repaired or undergone maintenance and when has this been done? This information helps to plan maintenance schedules. Hence, maintenance can become part of production planning and help to prevent costly production breaks.

For example, commercial airplanes must undergo a number of daily, weekly and monthly maintenance checks to ensure they're flight-ready. These manual checks include inspection of life vests, oxygen generators and other loose emergency equipment in an aircraft's cabin—a process that is labor-intensive and costly. In spring 2012, Boeing introduced its RFID Integrated Solutions program, designed to automate maintenance tasks on emergency equipment, as well as to track and manage other aircraft items and components.

"With the maintenance program we built, we now can use RFID data as a trusted source of information and sign off on maintenance task cards using that data In the form of an 'as-flying configuration' report generated by the RFID system," says William Coop, Boeing program manager.

Besides, one of the biggest downsides to cruises and air travel can be anxiety over the location of your checked luggage. RFID technology is helping airline companies and cruise lines improve their luggage transport operations. RFID tags are affixed to luggage, and strategically positioned readers scan tags as they go through checkpoints. This makes it possible to track the location of luggage from check-in to pick-up.

Event Management

Convention halls, concert venues and theme parks can all use RFID technology to optimize the way they manage events. Attendees are issued RFID-enabled wristbands that, when tapped to a reader, grant them access to an event or even to particular areas within a venue.

The reader can capture and pass along data about each attendee that managers can later use to track who attended where, and determine which activities are most popular at different times. This information enables managers to track attendance, gather statistical data, and even follow up with attendees to get feedback on the event.

Access Control

There are a number of applications for RFID being developed for access control. The fastest growing are for personnel access, gate control, and parking facilities.

Switching to RFID is getting more popular in areas that have toll roads or other systems that employ tags already. Even in more isolated communities, the implementation of the RFID may be cost justified. The more common systems are implemented using either windshield tags or license plate tags for the vehicles.

Interactive Marketing and Social Integration

RFID in marketing brings a certain level of interaction to campaigns. Whereas traditional advertising campaigns push a message onto the consumer, interactive campaigns invite the consumer to engage with the brand. Let’s take Budweiser case for example.

Budweiser Brazil, changed up the way we connect with each other with "Buddy Cup," created out of Brazilian agency Africa. The cups are embedded with an RFID chip – when clinked with each other, the two people would become friends on Facebook.

Trade shows, concerts, sporting events, and resorts have begun using RFID embedded technology to allow patrons to interact with each other, sponsors, and retailers through kiosks and various touchpoints. Attendees can connect their RFID-enabled device, phone, badge, bracelet, etc. directly to their Facebook or other social sites to allow real-time updates. The users can then check-in at numerous locations, update their status, and converse on their experiences with other attendees and friends instantaneously.

Animal Identification

RFID technology has been widely used for identifying owners of lost pets in the USA and Europe. Animal is either implanted with a RFID microchip or wears a collar with a tag. If your lost dog gets found, an equipped vet or a policeman can reach back to you by simply reading the ID microchip, on which sensitive data are saved.

Deciding to tag animals with RFID can be both a business decision as well as personal. Tagging livestock with RFID can be an important tool in a farmer’s arsenal to identify each animal along with its pedigree and medical information.

Another important reason for tagging animals using RFID is to manage exotic and endangered animals on preserves or other wildlife habitats. LF RFID, UHF RFID, and GPS systems are all used in animal management.

Robbery-Proof Chips at Casinos

A 1.5 $ million 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."

Fraud Protection

RFID chips usage is gaining popularity for fraud protection. For example, last year Russia started a pilot project of labeling imported furs and fur coats with RFID marker chips. Pilot project is require all fur products imported to the Russian Federation to carry RFID markers. The experts admit that before the RFID project implementation, more than 70% of furs in Russia had been sold illicitly.

Starting on January 1, 2017, RFID tags have been used to identify all imported medicine. The announcement was made by Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov at the Anti-Counterfeit 2016 International EAEU Forum.

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