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BlogsAsk The Experts ForumCan I Control Mail Delivery to the Right Mailbox Via RFID?

Can I Control Mail Delivery to the Right Mailbox Via RFID?

Posted By RFID Journal, 09.22.2015

If so, what elements would I need? And how much would this cost?

—Name withheld


You could, but to make the system error-proof would be very expensive. What you would need to do would be to put an RFID transponder on each piece of mail and record in a database where each item should be delivered. You would need to equip every mailbox with an RFID reader and associate the address with a unique identifier in the device. The reader would need to be connected to the Internet via a cellular connection, so that when the mail carrier placed an item in the mailbox, the interrogator would read its tag. The device would then go out to the Internet and look up, in a database, the address to which that envelope was supposed to be delivered. If the item did not belong at that address, the reader would emit an audible alert so the mail carrier could remove the letter and deliver it to the proper address.

It might cost $1,000 or more to equip each mailbox with a cellular-enabled RFID reader, and would likely cost 10 cents to 25 cents per tag. So equipping a million homes would cost $1 billion, plus perhaps another billion for the tags. This, clearly, would not likely be feasible—unless your country places a premium on mail delivery.

A less expensive way to do this would be to equip each mail carrier with a GPS-enabled handheld reader. The mail carrier could scan each RFID tag and the GPS system could confirm that the mail was being delivered to the correct GPS location. A bar-code scanner could also work. The downside of this approach is that people often forget to read tags or scan bar codes, which would lead to errors.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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