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March 6th, 2007
There are a lot of people excited about RFID tags. You know, Radio Frequency Identification tags, the small tags that transmit radio waves to enable the tracking of items. Manufacturers are turning to RFID to improve supply chain visibility. Wal-Mart hopes to have RFID tags on every shipment to their warehouses. A hospital in New Orleans is using them to track medical equipment. Several airlines have been testing them for luggage tracking -- from Air France-KLM to Delta and United, and now airports in Hong Kong and Las Vegas. And whether you're concerned about the time it takes to find a life-saving device in a hospital or walking out of an airport with all your luggage, the benefits of RFID are obvious. Things don't get lost!
So, if it's such a good idea, what's the hold up with making RFID mainstream? Size, accuracy and cost -- not necessarily in that order. RFID costs have dropped from about $1 apiece to about twenty cents. But that's not enough, is it? By addressing the other two issues -- size and accuracy -- nanotechnology can help solve the price problem. How low can it go? The market is looking at under 1 cent apiece. Possible? Absolutely!
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