[LINK] RFID in Govt, and in People

Geoff Ramadan gramadan at umd.com.au
Tue Oct 3 11:13:36 AEST 2006


Most RFID inquiries our industry get (including us) are crap.

Most people have no real understanding of RFID and their applications, and even 
less understanding of the limitations, including Government Departments.

We generally find that solutions to customer issues can be found in other 
technology means, including barcoding or process changes.

I can quote you one example where a Government department wanted to RFID tag 
documents, thinking that they could wave a magic wand and locate them. What they 
really needed was a process change, as their work practices were extremely 
sloppy with no accountability.

However, there is a growing interest and applications in "non-human" asset 
management as indicated in the article.

There is a strong trend towards active RFID tags for "location based tracking" 
of assets. Hospitals and Mining being an excellent example of this type of 
applications. The assets are expensive (eg. Medical devices) which are very 
mobile and need to be located efficiently, therefore gaining better utilisation 
and lowering capital costs, while improving services.

In Government departments I suspect there is an interest in asset tracking of 


Geoffrey Ramadan, B.E.(Elec)
Chairman, Automatic Data Capture Australia (www.adca.com.au)
Managing Director, Unique Micro Design (www.umd.com.au)

Roger Clarke wrote:
> SMH/Age Next Section
> 3 October 2006
> Not so smart
> Almost a third of Australian government agencies have set aside money 
> for RFID-related projects, despite knowing little about the technology, 
> a new survey has found.
> RFID is the short-range wireless technology used in 'contactless' 
> smartcards and e-passports.
> Consultants Booz Allen Hamilton interviewed people in 28 Canberra-based 
> government departments.  Fewer than 10% had a good understanding of RFID 
> standards, although money had been allocated for RFID projects.  
> Three-quarters of respondents plan to investigate or use RFID within the 
> next three years.
> [The local Booz site, which uses the suitably sceptical domain-name 
> 'bah', doesn't seem to provide any information on the matter:
> http://www.bah.com.au/Whats_New/press_releases.htm
> [If anyone has any knowledge about what BAH thinks the 21 departments 
> think they plan on doing with RFID, a posting to the list, or an 
> off-list note to me, would be appreciated.  There are a few potential 
> applications, e.g. in Defence Materiel;  but most agencies don't 
> actually do the kinds of physical things any more that RFID is 
> potentially useful for]
> __________________________________________________________________________
> In addition, the part of the Oz IT Section that operates purely as a 
> relay for Media Releases (IT Business) has a breathless piece on RFID 
> today.
> Fast track for radio tags
> Ben Woodhead
> Australian IT Section
> OCTOBER 03, 2006
> http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,20500547%5E15302%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html 
> AUSTRALIAN businesses are attaching radio frequency identification tags 
> to sheep, trains, heavy mining equipment and nurses as they take 
> advantage of the technology's ability to track assets and people.
> ...
> [The report is completely lacking in scepticism.  That the reporter is 
> prepared to have his name on it is a testament to how little 
> self-respect many journos have these days.  Although I'd better allow 
> for the possibility that 'Woodhead' is a pseudonym, intended to convey 
> that the reporter thinks the same about this kind of rubbish as the rest 
> of us do.
> [Especially noticeable is the equivalent treatment of people and 
> things.  There's no distinction at all drawn between tracking and 
> controlling gamblers, nurses and prisoners and doing the same thing to 
> sheep, cattle, and mining and hospital equipment]

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