Ready or not, RFID is entering your life in 2005

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 11/15/2004 - 03:02.

You've probably heard of RFID - radio frequency identification - and perhaps you use the technology in a smart ID or toll pass card, but starting in 2005 RFID will begin appearing in every American's life as Walmart uses this for inventory and then storefloor supply chain management and, as the NYTimes reports today, labels on drug bottles featuring RFID antennas will be used to protect pharmacies and you against counterfeit drugs.

Most of your RFID experiences will at first be remote, at the "wholesale" level - and this is already a very big issue and challenge in industry - but soon most of the major products you purchase, identification you carry, and ultimately your body, pets and loved ones will be tagged and tracked at some stage of life by radio frequency, starting in the first big way this week.

Friday, November 19th, NEOSA is hosting an event on RFID in the Supply Chain, at the University of Akron, and any industry management and technologists involved in aspects of this issue would be wise to attend. In related consideration, read a recent posting on the subject here at REALNEO, and the article introduced below:

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Tiny Antennas to Keep Tabs on U.S. Drugs

The Food and Drug Administration and several major drug makers are
expected to announce initiatives today that will put tiny radio
antennas on the labels of millions of medicine bottles to combat
counterfeiting and fraud.

Among the medicines that will soon be
tagged are Viagra, one of the most counterfeited drugs in the world,
and OxyContin, a pain-control narcotic that has become one of the most
abused medicines in the United States. The tagged bottles - for now,
only the large ones from which druggists get the pills to fill
prescriptions - will start going to distributors this week, officials
said.

Experts do not expect the technology to stop there. The
adoption by the drug industry, they said in interviews, could be the
leading edge of a change that will rid grocery stores of checkout
lines, find lost luggage in airports, streamline warehousing and add a
weapon in the battle against cargo theft.

"It's basically a bar
code that barks," said one expert, Robin Koh, director of applications
research at the Auto-ID Labs of the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. The technology, Mr. Koh said, could "make supply chains
more efficient and more secure."

Wal-Mart and the Department of
Defense have already mandated that their top 100 suppliers put the
antennas on delivery pallets beginning in January. Radio tags on
vehicles and passports could become a central tool in government
efforts to create a database to track visitors to the United States.
And companies are rushing to supply scanners, computer chips and other
elements of the technology.

The labels are called radio-frequency
identification. As in automated highway toll collection systems, they
consist of computer chips embedded into stickers that emit numbers when
prompted by a nearby radio signal. In a supermarket, they might enable
a scanner to read every item in a shopping cart at once and spit out a
bill in seconds, though the technology to do that is still some
distance off

Read the entire article here