What Is the Ideal Future Scenario in Which RFID Will Be Used on Packages to Enhance Safety?

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Ask The ExpertsWhat Is the Ideal Future Scenario in Which RFID Will Be Used on Packages to Enhance Safety?
RFID Journal Staff asked 11 years ago

How can this scenario be achieved, in terms of policy, technology or information?

—Name withheld


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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