Thursday, January 19, 2006

Real World RFID Application in Production Now

Last year at Software University, IBM used bar code scanners at each training session as a way of taking attendance. As we entered each classroom, we would have to let someone shot an optical scanner at the bar code printed on the badge we had to wear around our necks. While I suppose a manager who suspected an employee of spending all day in the casino and skipping class could have eventually found out how many classes the employee's badge was scanned at, I think the real purpose was to track which classes and which types of classes were most popular. It was also a way to compare pre-registration attendance with the number of people who actually showed up.

This year, there were no optical scanners at the classrooms. Instead, we were each issued a name tag like badge we were to wear around our neck. Behind each name tag was an RFID. IBM hired a subcontractor to errect RFID receivers at doorways. Entrances to classrooms, the Solution Village, and the dining areas. Dining areas were not part of last year's optical scanning so I suppose this gathered data on how many people rushed to eat immediately after class and how many trickled in later after taking phone calls and checking email.

RFID at the breakfast dining area at the MGM Grand. I guess this is a way to answer how many people got up to eat vs. how many were out too late gambling the night before. This would be useful I suppose for planning how many meals to buy next year.

If you peal of the name tag to expose the RFID chip and antenna, this is what it looks like.

This is a zoom on the RFID chip and the connection to the antenna elements.

A close up of the antenna used at entrances.

RFID receiving antennas were also hidden inside these lighted signs at the entrances.

RFID antennas were also at the entrance to each class or event where employees were supposed to pre-register.

Copyright © 2005 by Philip Hartman - All Rights Reserved

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.

No comments: