Potential uses for RFID are endless

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:28 pm

Businesses are just beginning to scratch the surface of the possible uses for RFID technology, according to William DeKruif, executive vice president of RFTechnologies, Brookfield.
RFT has provided security systems for hospitals and senior citizens since its first product, the Wandering Monitor System, was marketed in 1987. Most of RFT’s systems are for monitoring and security purposes.
Glenn Jonas, president of RFT, said the systems RFT develops use active RFID technology.
According to DeKruif, active tags can read at a farther distance than passive tags – up to 650 feet in the case of RFT’s systems. Active tags cost $15 to $18 each and require a comprehensive software solution.
Passive tags cost around $1 each and are typically thrown out after use.
Because active tags are reusable and rely on battery power, they can hold complex information and actually communicate with a reader instead of only sending a signal, DeKruif said.
"With active tags you can have a record on how equipment flows through a facility for efficiency purposes or to monitor and deter theft," DeKruif said. "Active tags can work on a wide range of frequencies and are all about being able to do something from a distance."
RFT has implemented active RFID technology to create products such as infant security systems for hospital nurseries, resident monitoring systems for senior citizen housing, an alert system for immobile patients in hospitals and a location security system.
The location security system, called Pin Point, instantly identifies and locates a person or object wearing an RFID tag within the secured area.
"The next evolution of RFID will involve a reader that can extract information from an RFID tag for asset management," Jonas said. "For instance, if placed on an IV pump, the tag will be able to send information in regards to whether the pump is on, what kind of fluid is inside the bag and how much fluid is left."
Jonas, an RFID veteran who started RFT in the 1980s, said universal adoption of RFID tags will happen, but the evolution of a new technology always takes time.
Jonas said companies may expect to see results right away, but the return on investment will come when the cost of processes are cut.

April 2, 2004 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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