I’m unsure what you mean by safety, as I don’t normally associate safety with tracking packages. Perhaps you are referring to ensuring that a bomb or other dangerous material is not put into the cargo hold of an airplane or ship. Or maybe you are thinking about reducing the possibility of a person putting tainted product into the food supply. If you can provide additional information, I can offer a more precise answer. For now, I will try to address the question generically.
Radio frequency identification alone will not make the world a safer place, but RFID in combination with other technologies and policies can help to achieve that goal. RFID is a means of collecting accurate real-time data regarding individual packages moving through the supply chain. Federal Express, UPS and other courier services track individual shipments from pickup to drop-off. But most goods moving through the supply chain are not tracked individually, so someone could put a package containing a bomb or tainted drugs into the supply chain with little chance of being detected.
By registering safe shippers and X-raying packages, we could employ RFID to help secure the supply chain. Tags on all packages, not just a few, could be read quickly and be associated with a safe shipper so that they could proceed through a checkpoint. This would allow inspections to focus on those who are not part of a trusted-shipper program.
There is a great deal of research going on into RFID sensors that could detect pathogens or poisons. Active tags already have sensors for detecting radiation, but low-cost sensors could further reduce the chance of someone slipping something dangerous into the supply chain.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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