RFID-tagged items for everyday use
Let’s say you’re a working mom. You’ve got your hands full: kids, appointments and shopping. Imagine one day that you no longer have to keep a shopping list. How is this possible? Advances in RFID coupled with other technologies will make your dream reality. Everyday objects will "talk" to one another under your control. Imagine you are in the office and can check from there the contents of your fridge and then decide whether you have all you need for a good meal with your family tonight or whether you should go shopping before going home!
Right now, many companies are experimenting with RFID applications to improve their internal production, logistics and warehousing. Later on, when prices for RFID tags and readers drop and widespread tagging of products catches on, companies will work together to track goods from the producer to your shop’s shelves – in order to consistently provide you with highest quality products.
For instance, a car manufacturer wants to find out more about when and where the seat it has ordered for your car was assembled. Thanks to RFID, the company could simply confirm safety information deposited in a database by the manufacturer of the seat.
But how does this access to and transfer of product information work? This is where the Electronic Product Code (EPC) comes in. It’s a standardised, unique number that works as a kind of barcode for RFID technology. Together with an RFID reader and a database of tagged products and parts called the EPCIS, the EPC allows shops, companies and growers to work together more effectively: They can not only identify their products, they can also manage them as they make their way from the producer to your corner shop.
Searching for things
Here’s another example of how the system could be used: let’s say an airline wants to buy a used rather than a new part for one of its planes, helping it save money and lower fares. How does it know the history of the part? How can the airline ensure that the part has had the proper maintenance and that your next flight will be safe?
With the EPCIS, the airline could read a part’s RFID tag, log into the system and call up the ownership and maintenance history of the component. Some people call this a "search engine for parts" as part of "intelligent supply chains."
Things will work to your benefit
Futurologists and researchers like to take this scenario one step further in what some call the Internet of Things. It is a world where everyday items such as vacuum cleaners and carpets are tagged, and items can begin to communicate with one another. The carpet tells the vacuum cleaner that it needs to be cleaned. The refrigerator tells the grocery list what items are missing…
A French company is marketing a personalized version of the same concept. Now you can create your own Internet of Stuff to catalogue your DVD collection or wirelessly connect other household items. Called Mir:ror, the system is based on RFID stickers that you attach to your personal items. You can keep records or create other applications on a PC or mobile device that is connected to a type of reader that works on a USB port.
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What is possible
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