RFID tags are becoming so ubiquitous in our society that the average person probably encounters them daily without realizing it. Did you go to the bookstore today? The book you purchased was probably inventoried using RFID technology. Have you traveled overseas recently? The government tracks travel data using RFID chips in passports. Have you ever had trouble finding a lost pet? Maybe you should consider having an RFID tag implanted in Fluffy to help track her next time she gets lost!By providing a cheap, efficient, and reliable way to collect and store data, RFID offers limitless possibilities for current and future use. The list below highlights just a few of the myriad uses of RFID technology:
- Product Tracking – RFID tags are increasingly used as a cost-effective way to track inventory and as a substitute for barcodes. For instance, bookstores such as Barnes & Noble use RFID to identify books to be removed from shelves and returned to publishing houses.
- Toll Road Payments – Highway toll payment systems, such as E-Z Pass in the eastern states, uses RFID technology to electronically collect tolls from passing cars. Instead of stopping at the toll booth, cars pass directly through in the E-Z Pass lane and the toll is automatically deducted from a pre-paid card.
- Passports – A number of countries, including Japan, the United States, Norway, and Spain incorporate RFID tags into passports to store information (such as a photograph) about the passport holder and to track visitors entering and exiting the country.
- Identification – RFID chips can be implanted into animals and people to track their movements, provide access to secure locations, or help find lost pets.
- Libraries – Libraries use RFID tags in books and other materials to track circulation and inventory, store product information (such as titles and authors), and to provide security from theft. Because RFID tags can be scanned without physically touching the item, checking books in and out, plus doing laborious tasks such as shelf inventory, can be accomplished quickly and efficiently using RFID technology.
- Shipping – Large shipments of materials, such as retail goods, often utilize RFID tags to identify location, contents, and movement of goods. Wal-mart is one of the largest consumers of this technology to assist in tracking shipments of merchandise.
- Other uses – RFID tags are employed in numerous other ways, including implantation in Saguaro cacti to discourage black-market traders, placement in car tires to transmit road condition information to the onboard computer, and placement around cities (such as Tokyo) to transmit tourist information to visitor cell phones.