Ho-Ho-Ho. Christmas is just around the corner, and I was recently reminded that I haven’t sent my wish list off to good ole St. Nick yet. So, here goes. And since a shiny new car (with RFID-enabled tires, please) is probably out of the question (even though I’ve been nice), here are a few items to put under the tree that are bound to bring a smile to my face on Christmas morning.
There’s a rumor floating around my house that a sleek new tablet or mobile device is on my wish list. It’s true. Armed with my new device (I’m technology agnostic but I like the brand with the fruit on it) I’d then be able to order gifts online for my family members and choose to have them delivered that day, or opt for pickup up at the nearest retail location. So, I hope the retailer I choose to buy from has a strong omnichannel solution in place!
Of course, I’d like for that mobile device to arrive with embedded RFID, so I can verify that it’s not a cheap knockoff and make it easier to return it should I run into a warranty issue. And having RFID embedded within the tablet would allow my generous gift giver to personalize the tablet with a customized note, and to pre-load the tablet with some nice e-gift cards for my favorite stores.
How about an RFID-enabled driver’s license that functions as a passport? I took a vacation to Mexico this fall, and I really disliked carrying my passport everywhere. The thought of losing it on the sandy beaches of Cabo hung over me like a bad dream. So Santa, make my day and slip an RFID-enabled driver’s license into my stocking! I’d be able to move through border crossings quicker. Since I don’t live in a state that borders Canada or Mexico, I’ll probably have to wait a few more years for this one. Or I could move to Washington or New York. But not California.
I’d love to RFID-enable my house. This would allow me to eliminate the 30 minutes I spend each day looking for my sunglasses, car keys, my (non Google) wallet, and even my (soon to be replaced) iPad with the cracked screen. Hey, it works for retailers, right? I want to spend less time looking for stuff too!
While we’re at it, some RFID-enabled appliances would be great. I spend so much time researching and writing my blog posts for RFID 24-7 that I rarely have time to use the clothes washer. When I do, panic sets in … it’s darks in hot water, and white clothing in cold, right? Ah, I’d love for my RFID-enabled washing machine to interact with the RFID care label on my American Eagle sweater and tell me what to do.
Short of the shiny SUV with RFID-enabled tires (and RFID embedded into the windshield glass for easier servicing at the dealership), I think that’s about it for my wish list. After all, I’ve got shopping to do as well, and time is running out for those special friends and family members, especially with a major snowstorm ready to wallop the Boston area this weekend.
To the healthcare workers on my list (and there is one very special one who will enter the field next year), I hope that you are employed by a cutting-edge healthcare facility that is deploying broad scale RFID solutions. My hope is that you stay safe on the job, always wash your hands, never waste your time searching for medical supplies, and are able to enhance patient safety on a daily basis. Yes, these are all possible today with some of the great RFID solutions on the market.
For those charged with overseeing the folks on Santa’s naughty list, RFID continues to make great strides within prison systems, where RFID-enabled wristbands can track the location of inmates with the goal of improving safety and reducing costs. These solutions allow prison officials to monitor the movement of inmates and keep them out of restricted areas. With more accurate roll call numbers, costly and time consuming prison lockdowns are reduced.
To my friends in retail, I hope that your life gets easier by working in a retail store with inventory accuracy of 99 percent (or higher). After all, you want to spend more time interacting with the customer, not holed up in a dark back room searching for a Size 11 Nike Hyperdunk.
If you’re lucky enough to work at American Apparel, you don’t even have to carry around a handheld scanner anymore thanks to the ceiling-mounted fixed reader solution that the retailer is deploying chain wide. (Although handhelds do have coolness factor to them, and always get the job done). Just try to avoid working the checkout station — that job is probably going away sometime soon.
Finally, I’d be most grateful to see the powerful benefits of RFID put to use to help put a major dent into world hunger. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people suffered from chronic undernourishment in 2012. That’s nearly one-in-eight people on the planet. It’s estimated that poor temperature control and supply chain practices results in $35 billion in perishable food losses globally each year.
Deploying RFID and temperature monitoring sensors can greatly reduce the amount of waste that occurs in the supply chain each year. RFID and cold chain management is gaining great momentum and has incredible potential. Just imagine the benefits of re-routing $35 billion worth of perishable foods to the corners of the world where it is needed most.