Read-write RFID tags used as checklist in automobile manufacturing process, now that's intelligent , creative, and purposeful use of the technology. Impressive.
Sadly, I cannot say the same thing for the wiz-bang Coke machine. I find the following truly puzzling:
"By employing RFID, Freestyle is able to perform functions unlike any previous beverage machine. Using RFID tags and a permanent reader, it immediately "knows" each cartridge and recalls when it was plugged in. It can track the amount of liquid dispensed and can predict usage rates and inventory needs."
Really? Without RFID there was no way to know this? Call me when I can order and pay for my drink with my phone via NFC :-)
You're exactly right. A great idea can quickly get minimized if it's too closely related to something that it just replaces. As opposed to RFID which is starting to be used in these other applications. There are so many other opportunities for RFID to be used. To me I love to see it used in agricultural applications.
It's great to see companies finally recognizing the unique advantages of RFID and applying the technology to new applications as opposed to be stuck trying to use it as a bigger/better substitute for bar codes. This illustrates the larger problem that often impedes technology progress: Being pigeonholed as a replacement for something that still works as opposed to exploring what's possible thanks to new innovations.
Great article. In my previous position, I was looking into industrial strength read-write RFID tags as a means of identifying the serial number and specs of large AC motors that were installed and noting if/when changes occurred. Unfortunately, I was unable to use a single reader that would tell me the location of the tag (i.e, whether it was motor 1, 2, 3 or 4). It could tell me the 4 serial numbers that were in use, but not where, which at that time was an important issue in that we wanted no human involvement in the system.
I suspect the internet of things will have a huge impact on society in general. Imagine if the changes that have been noted for manufacturing are carried over to consumers. In the case of my car, now it needs an oil change or perhaps the operating conditions need to be monitoried by something like onstar. Or toll booths need to collect data on what just went by. Law enforcement is going to experience a big change once the accessibility of data is established.
Lots of changes are coming in our increasingly digital civilization.
Thanks for such a great overview of the RFID sector. I've been teaching a college course in technology for the last 13 years that centers around Barcode technology, its component electronics, software and utility in supply chain management. We have been discussing the future of RFID each year and watching its progress as a barcode "Upgrade". You are right on target... The Barcode is alive and well and serving its purpose admirably. It's the special applications that RFID can do that Barcodes can't that make the technology so exciting. I'm looking forward to the upcoming Internet of Things -- it has the chance to become a huge source of employment for our graduates.
Another cool RFID application is in automotive production. They're using read-write tags to keep track of what has happened as a vehicle moves through production. The tag is programmed with all of the specific requirements for the individual vehicle (paint color, features, type of tires, etc.). As the vehicle moves through production the tag is read to see what it needs. As these items are put into the vehicle, they are checked off on the tag. This cuts down on mistakes considerably while supporting mass customization.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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