Tuesday, April 19, 2005

RFID : No Takeoff Signal At Airports!!

Via(RFID Times)RFID tags may not be seen in airports for baggage tagging – due to high costs.We may see some innovative solutions like luggage tagging traceable through the internet like the one form globalbagtag.com.
Supplychainreview.com writes,The promise of electronic tracking for luggage is still very much a thing of the future as cash strapped airlines are reluctant to invest in the costly technology. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) help so much promise against the nightmare of lost luggage. The RFID chips were to be attached to the bag at check in but the high cost of implementing the system has discouraged all but a handful of airports from installing the detectors and readers needed for the system to function. An UK based company Globalbagtag.com produces a luggage tag that is traceable via the Internet without the need for costly RFID technology. It claims to have a proven "here now" system which can be quickly implemented by the airlines, airports and luggage manufactures. The company says they do not charge airlines or airports to use the system and the do not need any kind of costly equipment to read the globalbagtags, all that is needed is internet access.
My Take: While I have note used this service nor evaluated it, aviation industry is always relete with lot of small company/startups offering specialised solutions - I have seen big airports/airlines trying niche solutions from small players. I am more curious to know about the revenue model of globalbagtag.com and also how many airlines would share information - and what specific advantage that a customer may see by getting the info from globalbagtag site as against finsing it in respective airline/airport site - the case of online common ticket booking may not be the right example to look at. RFID total cost of investment is beginning to show moving slightly downward oflate - Also convenience matters a lot - RFID is almost realtime - not sure about globalbagtag.

Monday, April 11, 2005

RFID Solution For Tracking Marine Containers

The conventional wisdom is RFID solutions are to be used to track small items,frequently used items or items which are parts that need to go into a larger product for optimising movements. Nope - here's a case of RFID technology being deployed for tracking marine containers as these move through ports. Informationweek reports,Marine terminal operator SSA Marine is testing a new cargo-container tracking system to see if it will help the 225-year-old company more accurately and efficiently track shipping containers as they flow through its California ports. Excerpts with edits and comments:
Currently, when cargo containers are unloaded from ships, workers must go to each container to log the container's identification number. The cargo containers are often stacked five high and six lanes wide throughout hundreds of acres of land. Ed DeNike, chief operating officer of SSA terminals at SSA Marine, which had $1.2 billion in annual revenue last year, says 10% to 20% of the container IDs aren't copied correctly, which causes the company to lose track of containers. "We have two or three people working every day to find containers," DeNike says. "You need technology to help automate the process." The company began testing a system that uses active RFID tags on container-handling equipment such as cranes to track their location. An optical character-recognition system installed on the cranes captures an identification number from the side of a cargo container. That ID number and the location of the cargo-handling equipment is wirelessly transmitted to business-intelligence applications, which pinpoint the location and status of each container. The solution should help the terminal keep track of cargo containers and reduce the costly errors that result from lost containers as they move through the port.
My Take: Wireless and RFID is a deadly combination that can help a lot - a powerful solution has to combine good middleware, transactional,buisness intelligence, anlytics and reporting system - the key here would be managing the huge explosion of data that RFID brings within the system for processing and well thought out analytics is needed to bring in best results. Look forward and integrate this RFID enabled feature with customs and port movement system -you have a highly integrated framework in place for the port authorities and the marine operators.

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Monday, April 04, 2005

Electronic Tags For Eggs, Sperm and Embryos!!

(Via Newscientist)Cases of wrong mix and match in IVF treatment have happened in the world in the past. Excerpts from an interesting article:
So white couples have black children , vice versa etc.The UK’s regulatory body, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is considering labelling all embryos, eggs and sperm with barcodes or electronic ID tags.The idea is that an alarm will sound if the wrong eggs and sperm are brought close to one another, for instance, or if a doctor attempts to collect the wrong embryo to implant into a mother-to-be. An independent report commissioned by the UK’s chief medical officer suggested clinics use a system of double-witnessing, which requires an embryologist to ask a colleague to witness and document every procedure in which an error could occur. But with 25 such procedures required for each round of IVF, the system is laborious. And it still leaves room for human error.
Barcoding has been used for more than a decade in the UK’s blood transfusion service, where it has slashed the error rate. Digital cameras built into the IVF clinic’s benches read the barcodes off the bottom of labelled dishes containing eggs. A computer then reads the codes, and sounds an alarm if they do not match with the patient. The electronic tags, known as RFID tags, work in a similar way. They can be placed on the bottom of a dish containing an embryo, and are activated by radio waves which transmit across a clinic’s designated work areas. When activated, RFID tags respond by transmitting a unique ID code. "If the samples don’t match [the patient], or you bring together two things that shouldn’t be in the same work area, the alarms will sound," Troup says.RFID tags are said to be safe for in vitro procedures. The tags only transmit when activated by an external signal. And they work at the low frequency of 13.5 megahertz compared with 900 to 1900 megahertz used by cellphones.

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