How Can a Government Use RFID to Make a Country Better?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsHow Can a Government Use RFID to Make a Country Better?
RFID Journal Staff asked 9 years ago

What are some uses of the technology that a nation can employ?

—Name withheld


Radio frequency identification unfortunately cannot feed the poor, end illiteracy, reduce disease or eliminate crime, but it can still do a lot of good for a country. If I were ever appointed as a nation's Secretary for RFID or Minister of RFID, here is what I would do:

• I would educate all cabinet secretaries (ministers) and the administrators under them about what the technology is, how it works and what the potential benefits are. I would then give them six months to submit a report regarding where they think RFID could be used within their area of responsibility.

• I would set up a steering committee to identify how RFID could become part of the national infrastructure, like the electricity grid and road system, and come up with pilot projects that fit the long-term goal of creating that infrastructure. So, for example, RFID might be deployed to monitor the health of bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure throughout the country, or it could be used to manage the collection of garbage and recycling. In their reports to me, the secretaries would be required to explain how the use of RFID within a particular area could deliver value to the citizenry. Value could entail improving food safety, saving millions of taxpayer dollars, increasing national security and so forth.

• I would instruct the steering committee to evaluate the infrastructure proposals and group them according to the types of technology they might require, such as passive low-frequency (LF), high-frequency (HF) or ultrahigh-frequency (UHF), or active RFID technology. And I would also instruct the committee to develop a set of policies for choosing standardized technologies that would interoperate with systems being used in private industry.

• Finally, I would fund pilots in the top areas that could prove that building out a national infrastructure in a particular area would deliver value to the population: waste management, infrastructure management, supply chain management and so on. If the projects proved successful, I would then expand them slowly and steadily until, at the end of a decade or so, we would have the world's first RFID-enabled country.

The areas in which I think RFID might do the most good are waste management and recycling, protecting the food and drug supply, managing assets, monitoring infrastructure, and improving health-care delivery. There are billions of dollars to be saved, and billions of additional value that can be created by using RFID. Unfortunately, few people in government are paying attention.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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