Since January this year, there has been debate about when a decade actually begins and ends. For some people, the next decade began on Jan. 1, 2020, and will end on Dec. 31, 2029. For others, it won’t start until Jan. 1, 2021. So, it can be said that there is even debate whether we are living in a new decade of not. We’ll let you decide that one!
What is certain, however, is that there are lots of technological innovations out there in the world of RFID – and regular claims of new developments and improvements – some sounding like minor miracles! These great leaps forward are based on the tried and tested technology that RFID already is – but we thought we’d summarise a few on your behalf.
Drones and RFID
Unloading burden of the super-warehouse inventory system?
Experimenting with drones is not new, but the same problems persist: that the drones (safe to fly within a people- based environment) are often too small and the readers they can currently carry can only read close-range.
The mighty MIT has reported that, “Researchers have developed a system that enables small, safe, aerial drones to read RFID tags from tens of meters away while identifying the tags’ locations. The system could be used in large warehouses to prevent inventory mismatches and locate individual items”. The idea that a small flying object could scan and collect data as easily and effectively as the bumble bee maps out its pollen collection route is irresistible!
The team involved in the research https://bit.ly/31QqidD overcame these problems by meeting the safety concerns with the same small sized-drone but, by deploying them within existing RFID inventory systems – using conventional tags, readers and software. However, RFID systems use radio waves to exchange information between RFID transponders and readers and their behaviour is not always constant in changing conditions in any given environment. This clearly affects the performance of an RFID system. During travel, the radio waves pass through different materials and surfaces, encounter interference from their own reflection and other signals becoming easily absorbed or blocked. The drone itself can also change the property of the tag. However, not to give up, the world-beating Institute of Technology is persevering with this experimentation – drones are, indeed here to stay and we wish the team well!
Opening our eyes up to the world!
One thing we know is that drones are continually throwing up new images that surprise and delight us. They are providing birds-eye views of the world and very useful geological and geographical data! As Time magazine highlights; “An explosion in aerial photography, ranging from commercial uses, like real estate brokers getting eye-catching photos of houses they’re trying to sell, to artistic expression, like taking beautiful images of forests and cities”. https://bit.ly/3bWidsi
RFID and Sensor Tech
Working in-tandem to optimise & innovate intelligent operational processes and logistics
Sensor technology does seem to be ‘coming of age’ – even if it has been around for longer than you think. In fact, The IoT relies on smart sensors to help connect and monitor environmental and other changes around what they are adhered to. The increasing use of smart technology – including RFID – is already transforming how manufacturers work. Future data capture and data management systems will not only store data from an asset but will link it to the fluctuating conditions around. Smart sensors are also bringing more connectivity and analytics to the supply/logistics chain.
RFID and IoT sensor technologies do seem to be a good fit. It is already clear both are common-place and, low-cost passive tags/transponders will make it easier and cost-effective to monitor particular environments accurately. Now, we’re told that the era of 5G is ‘just around the corner’, enabling further advances in Real time and Augmented Reality applications in manufacturing and other industry sector processes. Data derived from sensor technology (particularly passive sensor technology – that is the ability to sense without a battery) will certainly assist in driving its future progress in manufacturing, the service industry and supply chain logistics. Optimisation and management of this technology will, however, require skillful supervision.
IOT and information captured
The IoT enabling the use of big data and cloud computing has already begun to both present both new opportunities and challenges, such as selecting accurate, meaningful data analytics, privacy and security concerns. Sensor technology is a rapidly growing market out in the public domain with every day usage visibly commonplace.
Passive sensor RFID tags transmits data when a reader energises the tag and information regarding, for example, temperature, moisture and voltage levels is sent. Managing perishables, volatile raw materials or safety equipment, as examples, could create more sustained compliance and consistency across many sectors – from health (wearable sensor technology) to the cold chain in multiple, secure mobile environments.
AI, RFID and Robots
Integrated prototypes to develop more intelligent data capture solutions
The world of RFID is responding to huge, global interest in AI and its potential to impact on people, work and society. Consequently, as AI is expected to shape future economic activity, managers must anticipate how to adapt to these enormous changes – able to develop and even transform their businesses or organisations to ensure the skills required will be ready.
Machine Learning develops and improves continuously from performing functions and, from making mistakes creating more intelligent solutions; conventional analytics could soon become defunct!
Humans working alongside robots are another combination benefiting from RFID and sensor technology. Sensors can help robots take their intelligent decisions, allow them to sense objects, environments, or position themselves accurately in the manufacturing work place or service industry such as health care. Medicine is a key sector starting to reap the benefits of intelligent, faster processing of data.
RFID is an important technology for improving management efficiency. Web or Cloud Based systems have the added value of managing operations spread over multiple locations. Now, AI can be complementary to expand the ability to process (rapidly) unusual or infrequently occurring events – that may have been a previous hindrance in automatic data capture.
Smart RFID in retail
In the world of fashion retail, for example, smart RFID tags attached to garments can connect to AI systems checking for re-occurring patterns to help avoid out-of-stocks and unnecessary markdowns. Also reporting when shelves are empty, but more importantly, predicting what might happen next with what will be trending and seasonal sales. https://bit.ly/39VWoaR
What we can offer in added value and future innovation
What we can offer is working alongside you to develop the technical side of Data Capture software and a background Cloud Based Database. This is, in addition, to the required choice of product, encoding of tags you require or supplied to your customer(s) directly. We also provide a bespoke design and print service which could lead you to innovation in your marketing strategy. This is our proven strength which can add value to your goals, strategies, business planning and sales – ongoing or to secure future success.
Testing the waters with RFID technology
If you are considering even wild notions or ideas about deploying RFID technology – testing small-scale is a good way to start. We are always happy to answer initial questions – we can also supply a basic bundle for you to try scenarios out! The qID mini starter kit is an affordable UHF RFID hand-held scanner, communicating via Bluetooth to any smart device; smart-phone, iPad, Notepad, Tablet and more. https://www.rfiddirect.eu/rfid-bundles-to-get-you-started/