Since the first time we had a cover story on RFID--back in September 2002, when those tiny, grain-of-sugar-sized chips were in the early testing phase--momentum has surged. Barely a day goes by that we don't hear about another application or service or middleware or chip reader that has come onto the market. It's spanning industries, including retail, automotive, health care, defense, and livestock.
This week, Eric Chabrow reports on a federal plan to test RFID at ports of entry, giving visitors entering the country RFID tags that will track their movement across borders (see story, "Homeland Security To Test RFID At Borders"). At a conference last week, I heard about RFID projects under way by the Transportation Safety Administration to manage assets and the American Red Cross to track blood supplies and aid in disaster-recovery efforts. On RFIDinsights.com, you can read about a court system that's planning to use RFID to track important files and how NASA can use RFID to track hazardous materials.
In so many examples, it's not where the chips will be used that's so interesting, but rather, what process will be improved or transformed because of it. Indeed, it's the combination of RFID tags, enterprise systems, and business processes supporting those systems that will have the most impact. That's why companies like Oracle and SAP are adding RFID capabilities to their application suites and why Cisco is building RFID technology into its routers and switches and figuring out a way to authenticate RFID traffic on a network.
But perhaps the killer application is one that will benefit many consumers by helping improve the process of frustration management and competitive strategy. It's the Ball Positioning System technology from Radar Golf that helps imperfect golfers find lost balls, thanks to an embedded RFID chip.
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