Top Three Tips for Avoiding Lost Luggage: RFID, RFID, RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Fri, Dec 09, 2011 @ 04:10 PM

Tags: RFID, Airplane Parts Tracking, Airlines, Baggage Tagging, ReadWriteWeb

RFID Baggage TrackingA while back, we blogged about airlines using RFID to track parts for inventory control. Now, it looks like more progress is being made in the airline industry around luggage tracking.

ThingMagic partner, Tagsys has developed an RFID-enabled luggage tag, the Permanent Bag Tag being used by Quantus Airways. The “Q Bag Tag,” containing an EPC Gen 2 passive RFID inlay is affixed to each bag. It’s also environment friendly. Each tag can be reused for an unlimited number of times. Here is how it works:

The RFID chip in the tag stores the details of several flights and can be reprogrammed at read points to use all over again on new flights.

After receiving a boarding pass, a passenger puts his RFID-tagged suitcase on the conveyor belt. A reader built into the conveyor reads the tag's unique ID number.

The traveler follows prompts on a touch screen connected to the RFID-enabled conveyor, indicating the type of baggage that he is checking in and how much it weighs.

The system activates the reusable Q Bag Tag and the conveyor belt takes the luggage into the handling system where it is sorted and screened via the RFID system.

Airline baggage handlers are able to see each bag's destination on a video monitor as the luggage passes an RFID reader.

The last two steps are probably the weakest link in a manual process that would inadvertently send your bags to Miami when you are going to Boston. 

The Permanent Bag Tag can also work without an RFID reader. They can be used to display passenger and flight data on a built-in, electronic paper-based screen. Airports that do not have an RFID infrastructure in place, can still use the tags that will display the passenger's name and flight number on the screen for the baggage handlers to see. This isn’t as error free as the full RFID system can be because it still requires an element of manual processing, but it can certainly help make it more efficient.

ReadWriteWeb wrote about RFID-enabled luggage as an example of the Internet of Things back in 2009. Their story focused on the more personal, human element. More specifically, customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Wouldn’t you choose an airline if the odds of your bags arriving in the same city at the same time, were significantly higher?

So, again we learn how RFID can be used to easily re-invent a manual process, making it more efficient and helping to control variable costs. We also see (again) that RFID goes beyond business benefits to the airline, and yields added perks for the consumers that turn their travel into a positive experience. If RFID can be the reason your vacation travel goes off without a hitch, it deserves a special place in our everyday lives.

If you happen to be flying this holiday season, safe travels to you. And if you are flying with an airline that doesn’t use RFID this holiday season, here are some tips for keeping your bags with you, or at least making them easier to retrieve.  Good luck!

100 Uses of RFID in Review

Posted by Ken Lynch on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 @ 04:18 PM

Tags: RFID, Sensors, PSFK, ReadWriteWeb, MIT

100 Uses of RFIDWhen we launched our 100 Uses of RFID program earlier this year, we had an overarching goal of raising awareness of the many different types of wireless identification technologies available today.  Looking beyond traditional uses of ID technologies like radio frequency identification and sensors (RFIDS), we also wanted to explore the growing number of solutions where users are naturally interacting with RFIDS and where the technology is so integrated and transparent that it disappears into its environment.

Executing the program was an exciting challenge.  Through the use of our blog, press releases, YouTube and Twitter, we intended to promote innovative yet real RFID applications each business day for 100 days.  At the beginning, some called us out, wondering if we could sustain the pace we publicized.  ReadWriteWeb challenged our planCan they keep this up 95 more times?  That seems like a rough row to hoe.”  Thankfully, we were able to reach our goal on target and benefited from a follow up RWW article: Looks Like There Really Are 100 Uses for RFID and mention in their Top 10 Internet of Things Developments of 2010 round-up!

The visibility favorable editorial coverage has driven isn’t the only positive outcome.  This program has also led to ongoing dialog about innovative uses of RFID and sensing technology with users, prospective customers, business partners, and several industry and business media outlets.

We hope that the content generated for this program continues to be useful others.  For those of you interested in keeping track or guessing about what your peers are interested in, the most popular topics of the program to date are:

Race Timing with RFID

Enhancing the Patient Experience with RFID

The Next Revolution in Wireless and Mobility

Hospital Inventory Control with UHF RFID

The Batteryless RFID Imperative in Healthcare

RFID – The New Future of Retail

Of course we couldn’t have done it alone.  The ThingMagic team would like to gratefully acknowledge those who made this program possible, including our valued customers and partners for their editorial contributions, and the inspirational sources for several of the uses of RFID noted in our program, including RFID Journal, PSFK, the MIT Media Lab and many others.

And in today’s age of social media, we couldn’t have reached the audience we did without our growing community of blog subscribers and Twitter followers.  A special shout out to @AetherCzar for #WirelessWednesday mentions and @ZebraTechnology, @VeryFieldsRFID, @LPP_PR and @zanderliving for the many re-tweets!

Stay tuned for future programs as we continue to blog on the many uses of RFID.  If you have a unique use of RFID and/or sensor technology, let us know and we’ll consider it for a blog post or future marketing activity!

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