What is an RFID? With due apologies, here is a brief explanation!
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. A RFID systems consists of a RFID Tag which can be a tiny electronically programmable devices, and can be as small as a half inch piece of pencil lead. When it passes in the area (up to 100 ft) of a receiver or sensor, it reports back its programmed instructions.
Novel applications include tracking herd animals with RFID tags just under the skin. Wooden pallets can have RFID tags with sensors located in warehouses identifying movement of goods. Wal-Mart is currently evaluating RFID tags even within cases of goods. This should help keep track of inventory and prevent pilferage. RFIDs can be an important component of Supply chain management: for example, emptying a case sends a message to the server that a particular item is used up and more are automatically ordered. Manufactures can track their shipping containers equipped with RFIDs linked through a GPS system.
“Mr Customer, your shipment of “pinatas” is currently three blocks from your warehouse and stuck in traffic. The pinatas will be there in time for the office party.”
Why is our shipment of bananas in a trucking warehouse in Jersey CIty for the last 72 hours? Deliver it pronto!
The RIFDs currently cost between 40-60 cents each. The hope is that if the price can be brought down to 5 cents each, or lower, individual items could carry an RFID tag. This can have tremendous savings opportunities. If you are pre-authorized at a grocery store, just load up the RFID items in your bag and walk-out. As you pass through the sensors, the items are identified, tallied and your credit card charged. No more lines at the checkout aisle.
The same system identifies fast moving items and orders HQ to restock items. Wow!
Whats the downside? No checkout clerks! Imagine similar reverberations throughout the economy.