An RFID tag in your Nike shoes can win you that marathon

Some non-conventional applications of radio frequency identification or RFID represent the real potential of this technology for businesses and consumers.

Extreme RFID

Apart from lowering costs, IPICO says resilience is the other attractive feature of its RFID products.

"We know we have technology that works well in very difficult applications," said Westwater.

One of these tough applications is tracking produce as it moves through the supply chain - from the grower, to the distribution centre, to the retail outlet, to the store backroom and finally to the front shelf.

"We need to be able to time that tag [at every stage] and must do this in an environment where there's a lot of moisture and water."

IPICO is working on an application that would embed the tag in the tote (that carriers the produce).

"The idea then is the tote becomes the tag. In a six-year contract, there would need to be enough memory on that tag to record functionality over that period."

Rapid readings

Consumer applications of this technology are about, Westwater said.

He cited the example of the IP-X RFID tags being used at London, U.K.-based retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) that enable the store to do inventory in one hour as opposed to seven.

While provided to M&S by global firm Avery Dennison Corp. these tags are based on IPICO technology, he said.

"The technology has nothing to don with Avery Dennison [except that] Avery Dennison bought Paxar - the label manufacturer that we worked with to create that application."

"By the end of 2008, there will be more than 250 million of our designed IPX chips in M and S."

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