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The Real World of Active RFID Tags
Here's how the technology is being used today to solve real problems, and what's in store for the future.
Jun 22, 2014—
Businesses need answers, not just more technology. They require applications that leverage technology to solve problems today and will lead to additional solutions tomorrow. Specifically, what is real today—and what will be real in the near term—for active ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID solutions that will support effective business applications?
Basics on Active UHF RFID
The readers, not much bigger than a pack of cigarettes, can be in fixed positions and aided by ground loops and other devices to ensure high accuracy for determining identification, time, direction and location. The UHF frequency band is desirable for active tags, due to general acceptance by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and is currently used in a wide variety of applications—from bridge and highway toll collection to container tracking. The UHF signals do not interfere with portable smartphones, consumer wireless devices and other transmitters. Therefore, accuracy is very high and interference is never a problem.
Telematics, Vehicle and Cargo Tracking
Integrating this function with other capabilities, such as weigh scales, will ensure, for example, that trucks deliver what is needed and leave empty, and that all is confirmed at the gates with time and date stamps. Going further is integration with other technologies, including video, photography and license plate recognition, as well as bar-code labels, passive UHF and high-frequency (HF) tags, and active RFID sensors, such as those designed for monitoring cargo temperatures (in the case of refrigerated units, or reefers). Additionally, integrating software will allow this data to feed enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for such applications as time and attendance, payroll, accounts payable, inventory and materials management. All of this information creates intelligence that can be presented on an operations dashboard in real time.
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