Radio frequency identification can be used to monitor the movements of goods across the country. Keep in mind that RFID is a relatively short-range technology. You can't put a tag on a pallet and then read that tag as the pallet is driven on a truck from one place to another. Typically, RFID tags are attached to products and then, once those goods are loaded onto a truck, the tags are read and associated with a specific vehicle bound for a particular destination. When the goods arrive, the tags are interrogated and a central database is updated, indicating the goods arrived at the new location.
If there is a GPS device on a truck, the vehicle and the goods it is carrying can be tracked in real time. Sometimes, there is an RFID reader on the truck that will read temperature-sensing tags, and this information can be communicated via GSP. So if the temperature increases within the truck compartment, an alert will be sent to the central station.
The important thing to understand is that RFID is a truly automatic identification technology. As goods are shipped to or arrive at any location, one need not spend a lot of time and labor to count items or scan bar codes. The data can be captured automatically, making it possible to collection information about billions of items moving through thousands of locations, with very little additional labor.
I hope this answers your question, and I look forward to seeing you at RFID Journal LIVE! in May.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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