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The Year That Was

2011 saw some economic ups and downs, but many companies turned to RFID to track the locations of their products and assets—and to monitor their conditions.
By Mark Roberti
Dec 19, 2011This year started off well. There was a lot of confidence that the global economy was slowly emerging from the Great Recession. RFID Journal LIVE! 2011 was well attended, with a great deal of and energy and buzz. The U.S. Congress' mid-year fight regarding whether or not to raise the debt ceiling cooled consumer optimism and slowed spending. And then, rising concerns about the financial stability of Greece and other European nations further exacerbated economic uncertainty.

While the economy remains fragile, companies made progress in employing radio frequency identification to improve the way they do business. One key trend: RFID entered the beginning of Phase 2 adoption. Phase 1, in my mind, has always been utilizing the technology in the most basic way—to identify objects and determine their locations. Phase 2 involves using RFID to know what an item is and where it is located, and to monitor its condition. Phase 3 will be to employ RFID to control objects or the environment automatically, such as having robots perform tasks based on input from an RFID system.

We are, by no means, finished with Phase 1. Many companies have not yet begun to use RFID to identify products, assets, work-in-process and so forth. But technology adoption is not an orderly, straight-line process, just as evolution is not. Some companies may skip Phase 1 and move right to Phase 2 or 3, because they have a pressing business need.

Here are some articles from the past year that show how companies are utilizing radio frequency identification to monitor the conditions of things in the real world:

With RFID, Malaysian Logistics Company Gets Fewer Blowouts
Lee Ting San Group has begun attaching rubber-encased EPC Gen 2 tags to tires on some of its trucks, to help it track inspection and maintenance.

To Keep Drugs from Expiring, Hospital Tests Intelliguard System
The San Diego facility hopes to save costs by deploying MEPS Real-Time's drug-management system, which uses RFID-enabled drug-dispensing cabinets in conjunction with standard EPC Gen 2 tags.

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