Friday, January 21, 2005

RFID Reaches The Sky

It is well known to people in the industry that the airbus maintenance facility in the changi airport is RFID enabled for quite some time. Now Airbus is taking to RFID to the skies.
Airbus A380 double-decker aircraft,the world's largest and seats 555 passengers, will have passive RFID chips on removable parts such as life vests to help ease maintenance processes.

Informationweek reports,10,000 radio-frequency identification tags will take to the skies, affixed to everything from airline seats to brakes. The tags will contain serial numbers, codes, and maintenance history that should make it easier to track, fix, and replace parts. The jet is equipped with radio-frequency identification chips and was built using Carbon Fibre Manufacturing technologies to reduce aircraft weight, ultrasonic scanning systems, and a combination of other technologies. The benefits of RFID-tagging airplane parts include reducting the time it takes to generate aircraft-inspection reports, which still require a lot of paperwork "RFID could be used to do routine checks before a flight, for example, making sure that a lifejacket is under each seat," Airbus began RFID-tagging its ground equipment and tools four years ago and plans to implement similar RFID technology for maintenance and identification of removable parts on the A400M military transport aircraft.
Singapore Airlines will be the first airline to accept the A380 for commercial service in 2006. The all-cargo version of the aircraft, the A380-800F, will be delivered to FedExin 2008. Boeing has a similar commercial jet project in the works. Last April, Boeing launched the 7E7 Dreamliner program, where time-controlled, limited-lifetime parts, and replaceable units have been identified with RFID "smart labels," consisting of a microchip and an antenna and store maintenance and inspection data. This information is useful in maintaining airplanes because the service history of a part is stored on the RFID label as it goes thorough different stages of its life cycle. From the ground to the sky, RFID is poised to make a revolution - making remarkable change in supply chain efficiencies and in the process transforming performances in time, cost, quality dimensions as more and more implementation begin to demonstrate.. RFID shall be one of the top three technologies that would make a difference to business in the next three to five years..

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

RFID Deployments : 50% May Not Need New Middleware

The latest RFID survey of 669 supply chain and IT executives from
Larstan Business Reports suggest the following:

- Companies that are not well-automated may reap the most dramatic gains by deploying RFID, because they will realize process efficiency, labor savings and accuracy gains that currently are enjoyed by more automated companies already using tracking technologies such as bar coding.
- Even highly automated companies stand to gain in efficiency, labor savings and accuracy from RFID deployment.
- Early RFID technology trials and deployments have confirmed that the amount of data generated by pallet, case and item tracking via RFID tags will be 100 to 1,000 times the volume that companies are faced with when using traditional bar coding systems.
- Interestingly, half feel that their existing systems can already accommodate the anticipated flood of data coming from RFID deployments, which by some measures will be 100 to 1,000 times the amount generated today.
- Two-thirds cite retailer mandates as the reason for their RFID projects.
- 60% believe in RFID's promise of boosting efficiency and reducing labor.
- Half believe that RFID standards and consequent interoperability are critical to a successful supply chain transformation; in the transportation and logistics vertical, this feeling was held even more strongly, at 69%.
- 90% argue that a foreseeable "timely and substantial" return-on-investment is necessary before embarking on RFID deployments.
- The first take-away from this report seems to be that the need for middleware has been overstated. Whether this is true remains to be seen, and will probably only be determined when considerably more implementations graduate from simple slap-and-ship to more integrated and comprehensive systems.
- The second observation is that while suppliers do believe in RFID's latent abilities,they would like wait for the resuts to be demonstrated.Despite retailers' and vendors' efforts to sell a larger and longer-term vision, many suppliers still insist that a quantifiable, near-term ROI is absoultely needed to make investments in the technology.
This is an important survey result - disctinct from the "Expert Talks" or the "Organisational Diktats" that we hear about RFID deployments. The full report is available here .

Monday, January 03, 2005

Nokia And RFID Advances : 2-IN-1 GSM + RFID Solutions

It is a dream situation when RFID is deployed using mobile technology -For two reasons principal reasons amongst many:
A. Due to Ubiquity of the mobile - we recently wrote,mobile phone users constitute 25% of world's population and Mobile Revolution Is Next Only To The Internet Revolution.
B.Due to the ease with which RFID can be deployed - If RFID can piggyback on mobile technology, the ease of deployment becomes relatively easy.
AME Info recently reported Nokia Field Force Solution - one touch to connect field teams and assets to a company's back office systems. Nokia has introduced the Nokia Field Force Solution based on RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. The solution allows for easy management of tasks and service team workflow in the field. The Nokia Field Force Solution consists of the J2EE based software product, the Nokia Local Interactions Server and client software, which work together with the earlier announced Nokia Mobile RFID kit for the Nokia 5140 phone and the Nokia NFC shell for the Nokia 3220 phone, and RFID tags. Nokia calls this 2-IN-1 technology combining GSM and RFID.

The Nokia Field Force Solution is designed specifically for industry sectors such as security, services, utilities, health care, and government branches to increase the efficiency of field personnel. Application examples include repair, maintenance, asset management, time, attendance, meter reading and work completion reporting. The Solution enables real-time, two-way interaction between the client software, Nokia Local Interactions Server and a company's existing back-office systems, such as work scheduling, task management or information databases. A unique benefit of this solution is that it allows both the sending of information on location, work time or task status from the field to the office and the receiving of information, such as service instructions or work assignments on the field. Simply touching the RFID tag placed on objects - such as billboards, meters or other equipment - with the Nokia RFID enabled phone start the information exchange. The data is then sent as text message or GPRS data as real-time exchange with the Nokia Local Interactions Server and the company's systems.After a successful pilot project, Falck Security in Finland has decided to deploy the Nokia Field Force Solution in their security services. "By implementing the solution, we significantly improve communication to and from our security guards on the road and offer our customers greater visibility of our service performance," says Clas Nyström, Guarding Director at Falck Security Finland. "Previously, our security guards had to carry two devices with them, now they only need one for real-time data capture and transfer - the Nokia 5140 mobile phone with the RFID Reader shell." Falck Finland Oy belongs to Group 4 Securicor, which is the global leader of security operations with 340,000 employees worldwide. This not only signifies advances for mobile and RFID technologies, but for Nokia, the marketleader as well, considering that it was seen to be losing edge.

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