Thursday, May 10, 2007


I believe the next big thing in business world would be RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification). I talked about this issue in my posting on October 30th 2006. Although I am not a fan of RFID (to date), unavoidably I couldn't deny its power. In a nutshell, I should say RFID emphasises on "traceability". Australian coal mine is using RFID to enhance the safety of their workers. I read in RFID Journal recently that Australian coal mine industry is building the RFID capability into its network — a fiber optic backbone that includes 802.11 access points — NL Technologies partnered with WaveTrend, a manufacturer of active 433 MHz RFID tags and interrogators utilizing a proprietary air-interface protocol. The tags on the cap lamp (miners wear on their head) are affixed to batteries worn on miners' belts . Each tag's unique ID number is associated in NL Technologies' Northern Light Digital Software Suite with a miner assigned that specific tagged cap lamp. The tags can also be affixed to vehicles within a mine to monitor and track the vehicles' locations.

Husbands now can avoid traceability issue from their wife by avoiding to invest in a video phone. However, very soon they will lose this freedom because RFID will enable their wife to trace their whereabouts under a minute. Soon, we will all be very afraid to pee in the loo because we are unsure if we will be watched. Soon, we might not need to bring our wallet or credit card when we are out of our house. An implantable chip either on our arm (this is so Matrix, but in real life British professor of Cybernatics Kevin Warick implanted a chip in his arm in 1998) or in a bangle will enable us to be identified by the "system" which then allow us to pay for our food and other purchases.

Of course, I was slightly exaggerated in the second paragraph. But we can't deny the fact that RFID is already in our life. To pick some common examples, HR East in Japan introduced SUICa (Super Urban Intelligent Card) for transport payment service in its railway transportation service in November 2001, using Sony's FeliCa (Felicity Card) technology. The same Sony technology was used in Hong Kong's Octopus card, and Singapore's EZ-Link card. The Transperth public transport network in Perth, Western Australia uses RFID technology in the new SmartRider ticketing system. BGN has launched two fully automated Smartstores that combine item-level RFID tagging to deliver an integrated supply chain, from warehouse to consumer.
I believe more and more of things around us will have this chip embedded, and of course there are many problems that might arise too, to name a few, frequency used (there is no global public body that governs the frequencies used for RFID. In principle, every country can set its own rules); security issue, moral issue and privacy concern, virus and RFID hacking.


woofhams said...

Hehe. I don't mind RFID if I can work at home or whenever I am.

Well, fat dream :( my employer is not there yet.

pancake Queen said...

In this decade (2007-2010), I believe the only two sectors that would benefit more from RFID would be: Food industry and Transport & Communications.