Toll Roads and Car Management Improve with RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:35 AM

Tags: RFID, Traffic Management, Automobile Access

RFID for TollingWhile reviewing content on our Web site recently, I visited the RFID Basics page where we use an example of a car passing through a toll booth to describe how RFID works. It is a great example because you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t driven through a Fast Lane, EZ-Pass, or other electronic toll collection system.  Does anyone know when the first RFID-enabled toll booth was deployed in the United States? We’ll give you the answer in a bit.

An often reported benefit of RFID is that you can leverage it for a project, process, or procedure, and it ends up providing value beyond what it was originally intended for. Even back when it was first introduced for toll roads, other than making the driver’s life easier, this RFID-enabled system helped states increase revenue and allowed law enforcement to set up more accurate notifications in Amber Alert or stolen car situations.

Taking the convenience factor even further, because of RFID, many highways now have no toll booths. Not because they aren’t collecting tolls, but because they have implemented RFID in such a way that the tags attached to car windshields can be read at high speeds and with excellent accuracy. No big, cumbersome collection booths required.

Coincidentally, at the time of writing this post, I saw the following headline: India's first RFID technology toll comes up near Chandigarh.  According to the article, India's first RFID-based toll plaza was recently inaugurated on National Highway No.5 at Chandimandir in Haryana's Panchkula district.  The anticipated benefits are many: seamless travel, time and fuel savings, and a reduction in traffic jams.  My guess is they will realize other benefits along the way as well.

Now back to our quiz. The first RFID-enabled toll booth was deployed in Dallas in 1989.  Were you close?


Can RFID Bring Manufacturing Back to the U.S?

Posted by Ken Lynch on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 @ 04:02 PM

Tags: RFID, Retail, Manufacturing Automation

Made in USA“American Manufacturing Has Declined More Than Most Experts Have Thought.” That was the headline of a March 28 Huffington Post article. Manufacturing is in the spotlight now that Washington politicians are trying to find ways to bring the trade back from overseas and make the United States a manufacturing hub once again. The top most common reasons that businesses sent their manufacturing outside the U.S. during the last decade were high labor costs and high corporate taxes. The quest for viable margins prompted the mass exodus.

The retail industry was an early adopter of RFID because the benefits to all aspects of the supply chain were abundantly clear. Supply chain efficiency has a tremendous impact on manufacturing margins, which makes RFID an easy bet for this industry as well. 

We all know that RFID can be used in many ways to create more efficient processes which leads to lower costs and stronger bottom lines. In manufacturing and distribution environments, the implementation of RFID can reduce labor costs by reducing the workforce needed for inventory management, among other things. RFID can also store all of the history associated with a product, which helps minimize support warranties and optimize recall processes. While we don’t know yet if RFID can help reduce government imposed taxes, the benefits that RFID delivers can certainly help offset those taxes. Benefits include: increased throughput and productivity; shorter order cycles; faster shipping; more efficient inventory management; increased profit margins and better customer service.

It’s clear why manufacturers are looking to RFID to help them run more efficient operations that minimize production down time, optimize material and parts inventories and improve labor output. Of course we understand that the manufacturing companies are working with restricted budgets these days, which is another reason why RFID is a prime technology to for this market. By applying RFID incrementally across a plant floor, manufacturers can easily integrate the data captured by RFID, without disruption, into the existing infrastructure and processes.

The newly acquired, real-time visibility into the supply chain can yield tangible benefits almost immediately by letting manufacturers make more informed decisions and minimize costly errors. Could RFID in the manufacturing supply chain be just what the doctor ordered? It seems too good to be true that implementing a low cost, highly effective technology could bring an entire industry back from the brink of extinction; at least extinction in the United States. But if there was one technology that could do that, it’s no surprise that it would be RFID.

We’re not the only ones who recognize the critical role RFID can play in breathing life into manufacturing. The recentl RFID Journal LIVE! conference ran a track dedicated to Manufacturing and Operational Efficiency. Companies like Deere & Co., Boeing and Mitsubishi shared their compelling success stories. Hopefully other manufacturers will follow suit and put the U.S. back on the manufacturing map.

If you have an RFID manufacturing success story you’d like to share, please tell us about it.

Business at the Speed of RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Mon, Apr 16, 2012 @ 02:42 PM

Tags: RFID, Healthcare, Retail, RFID Journal LIVE, Laundry Management

RJL AwardsYou could fill in the blank with any number of words. Business benefit from the Speed of RFID,  ...from the Accuracy of RFID, ...from the Efficiency of RFID, ...from the Personalization of RFID, ...from the Profitability of RFID …you get the picture.

All you have to do is check out the list of industries represented at this year's RFID Journal LIVE! conference. It is a pretty broad list, illustrating the value and reach of the technology: Defense/Aerospace; Health Care/Pharmaceutical; Manufacturing/Operational Efficiency and Retail/Apparel.

Among the companies within these industries are several that are working with ThingMagic to bring innovative solutions to market, improve productivity, and gain a competitive advantage. We are proud to be working with many award winners and presenters at RFID Journal LIVE! 2012 and years past.  Check 'em out here:

Keonn - Winner of "Coolest Demo" Award at RFID Journal LIVE! 2012

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. - Presenter - Improving Supply Chain Logistics: Using RFID to Speed Up Inventory Management at Disney.  Check out the RFID Journal article on the solution here: RFID Helps Disney Employees Get Into Character

Seeonic - RFID Journal LIVE! 2012 Best in Show finalist

Gerry Weber International - RFID Journal LIVE! 2011 Best RFID Implementation Award

The Disney Family Cancer Center - RFID Journal LIVE! 2010 Most Innovative Use of RFID Award

The RFID Journal Awards recognize companies that have distinguished themselves by their successful use of RFID or introduction of a valuable new RFID product or services. A full list of award winners at RFID Journal LIVE! 2012 can be found here.  A full list of the Coolest Demo Contest participants are listed here.  We know who are favorites are!  How about you?

Google Glass: A Glimpse Into The Internet of Things?

Posted by Ken Lynch on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 @ 04:37 PM

Tags: RFID, Internet of Things, Google, GPS

Google GlassI first saw TV ads for Google Glass while in Orlando for RIFD Journal LIVE! (more about the conference in a future post).  About what you'd exepct from Google - an imaginative glimpse into the future of computing and human interaction.

I have to admit I didn't make the immediate connection between Google's view of the future and the Internet of Things.  But Mark Beccue of ABI Research did, and it is an intersting read - see the full copy of Mark's piece here and let us (and Mark) know what you think.

Google Glass: A Glimpse Into The Internet of Things?

Posted Tue, 10 Apr 2012 11:10:00 EDT by Mark Beccue

Last week, Google announced Project Glass, an ambitious project to feed on-demand, real time data onto eyeglasses The project has produced skepticism and mocking, both of which I think are unjustified. Google is merely nudging us along to an eventuality - the click less, swipe less web interface and the internet of things.

Last year, I wrote a report on mobile augmented reality in which we found that many enterprising companies are seeking to expand the internet to become even more useful than it is today. Visionaries at companies like Google, Intel, Metaio, and DoCoMo believe there will be a day when we can attach data, graphics, audio or video to objects such as buildings, vehicles, machinery or a location. This data could then be accessed using augmented reality technology - either through a smartphone app through which you would see or hear the data as you looked at the object, or eventually through glasses.

While today we are seeing the emergence of smartphone apps and AR, there are lots of challenges before any of this happens for eyewear. Applications would require filters because of information overload - our brains can't handle too much data at one time. One solution in that respect could be you as a consumer choose the apps you would like to run through your eyewear, just as smartphone users choose apps and run them today on their phones. Industrial and military uses of augmented reality eyewear produce significant eye fatigue. And how would eyewear and smartphones peacefully coexist over time? And then there are issues around attaching data to things -- indoor AR today is limited because of GPS, and image recognition requires huge, cross-referenced databases.

But it is easy to see why Google is so interested. Search expands when internet expands, and where search goes, so goeth Google.

I believe Google will showcase Google Glass to promote the technology and look to eyewear and smartphone makers to make eyewear eventually. They will potentially make eyewear (with a partner), but as with Google phone and new Google branded tablet, Google knows the key is to make click less touch less web interface and the internet of things universal.

--end ABI article

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