IBM Shares RFID Lessons - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Hardware & Infrastructure
News
10/21/2004
04:40 PM
50%
50%

IBM Shares RFID Lessons

Disruption to radio signals comes from surprising sources as IBM Global Services rolls out the technology in Wal-Mart Tests

Unexpected sources such as bug zappers and radio towers can wreak havoc on a radio-frequency identification deployment. At least, that's what IBM Global Services has discovered at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

IBM has tested RFID equipment in the back-room grocery sections of seven pilot Wal-Mart stores, in support of the retailer's RFID project, which officially kicks off Jan. 1. During the deployment, IBM consultants have encountered interference from handheld devices such as walkie-talkies, forklifts, and other devices typically found in distribution facilities. And nearby cell-phone towers, which transmit at the high end of the frequency band, sometimes leak unwanted radio waves into the RFID readers. Bug zappers in the back rooms of the test stores also caused interference.

"When you have a bug that hits the zapper, the RF power generated by the interaction with the bug produces noise in the coaxial cables," said Douglas Martin, an executive consultant at IBM Global Services, speaking at the Wireless Internet for the Mobile Enterprise conference earlier this month at the University of California at Los Angeles. Any company considering RFID implementation should conduct similar site visits to seek out possible radio-frequency interference, Martin said.

Wal-Mart has been working on solutions to the interference. "There will always be chances of interference with any RF system, RFID included, but by building intelligence into readers and devices you are then able to limit and react to the cause of the interference," says Simon Langford, Wal-Mart's manager of global RFID strategy. "For example, a reader detecting a cordless phone moving into the area could change frequency to filter out the interference."

Next, IBM is taking its experience abroad to China. Because many of Wal-Mart's suppliers manufacture and ship products from Asia, Martin said, a group from IBM is going to China in three to four weeks to work with companies tagging and shipping products directly from that region.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
Slideshows
10 Cyberattacks on the Rise During the Pandemic
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  6/24/2020
News
IT Trade Shows Go Virtual: Your 2020 List of Events
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/29/2020
Commentary
Study: Cloud Migration Gaining Momentum
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/22/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll