[LINK] RFID in Govt, and in People

Geoff Ramadan gramadan at umd.com.au
Tue Oct 3 13:34:14 AEST 2006

The majority of real time "location based" system are based on ACTIVE tags. Not 
passive tags which have limited range.

Also many systems use the WiFi/IEEE802.11 wireless infrastructure (via special 
access points) to triangulate the location of the active tag. Therefore, you can 
track any tag provided it is with in the WiFi coverage.

The only downside is that the TAG needs a battery and is more expensive than a 
passive tag ($40 to $80)

Geoffrey Ramadan

Howard Lowndes wrote:
> Is this really effective though, given the limited range of most RFID. 
> How are you going to find an autoclave or notebook that is no longer 
> within reasonable range of a reader.
> Geoff Ramadan wrote:
>> Roger
>> 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 notebooks.
>> Regards
>> Geoffrey Ramadan, B.E.(Elec)
>> Chairman, Automatic Data Capture Australia (www.adca.com.au)
>> and
>> 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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