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What Are RFID's Contributions to Ubiquitous Computing?

Posted By RFID Journal, 11.02.2009
How has radio frequency identification helped foster ubiquitous computing—the practice of making computers so common, intelligent, omnipresent and accessible that users are not even aware of their physical presence?

At present, ubiquitous computing is still more a concept than a reality, but clearly, all kinds of devices are getting smarter—from coffee makers with embedded microchips to packaging that can alert inventory systems upon arrival. Many RFID transponders are simple devices with a serial number. Whether these devices should be considered part of the world of ubiquitous computing is open to debate, but I think it is clear that RFID is expanding the number of objects with which computers can interact.

Part of the value of RFID is that it can be an inexpensive way to add intelligence to objects, so if computing really becomes ubiquitous, RFID will have a large part to play. I think we will likely see some RFID transponders getting more intelligent. For instance, we will likely see tags with sufficient intelligence to dynamically calculate the shelf life of food and pharmaceutical products, based on the temperatures of the environments in which they are stored and transported. How quickly these more advanced transponders emerge will depend on the market's needs, but clearly, the capability is there—and technology companies are prepared to meet the demand when it materializes.

—Mark Roberti, Editor,
RFID Journal

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