RFID is Coming of Age
A history of consumer benefits from RFID
RFID technology is more than 60 years old. A primitive form was first used in World War II to distinguish friendly from enemy aircraft. Later shops began using the technology in anti-theft systems installed at doors.
Then came "keyless" access systems based on RFID. These were first developed in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of them allow you to unlock your car from a distance of several yards – very convenient when it’s pouring with rain. Others save you searching for your keys at the office door. You simply swipe your whole wallet in front of the door – and click, click…you’re in!
Maturing technology for a better life
Research into low-cost tagging first made RFID an option for widespread use in the late 1990s. At that point companies began to experiment with applications which allow you to pay for your bus ticket with your mobile phone or which identify counterfeit and therefore potentially dangerous medicinal products.
About the same time, the Electronic Product Code (EPC) made its appearance. This consists of a lengthy number similar to the barcode and was created by a consortium of corporations and university labs in anticipation of the global use of RFID. The EPC Network was created by EPCglobal Inc., a subsidiary of GS1, the company which created the UPC barcode.
A host of benefits
As RFID technology continues to spread in various industries, consumers around the world stand to gain. There will be a better availability of products; stolen items will be easier to recover; and it will be much simpler to recall defective products, such as tyres or toys.
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