“RFID-Enabled Walkie-Talkies Help Track Remote Workers”

“Intel Unveils RFID System for Retailers”

“RFID to Bring Literacy to Down Syndrome Children”

“In Dunwoody, Ga., Police Use RFID to Open Gates”

The above headlines all appeared in the trade magazine RFID Journal in the year 2015. You only need to read a few of the approximately 250 news stories published in the RFID Journal in 2015 to know that Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology had another banner year; more and more companies have recognized that  RFID gives them a more efficient way to not just keep track of their assets, but to gather critical information about the items that was previously impossible to collect without labor intensive, manual processes.

RFID systems track asset information through small microchips on RFID tags, which are read through radio transmitter-receivers called Readers. During the year, there was news about improvements in how RFID systems tracked and gathered information on consumer goods, furniture, tuxedos, rubber, surgical tools, power poles, transformers, goods delivered by trailers, medical treatments, preschool activity levels, employees, and more.

However, when industry experts look back at 2015, they might not remember it as the year that all these things happened. Instead, they might remember 2015 as the year that millions of football fans learned about RFID and its benefits for the first time. “The NFL recently announced a deal with tech firm Zebra to install RFID data sensors in players’ shoulder pads and in all of the NFL’s arenas,” Forbes magazine reported on Oct. 6, 2015 in the article “How The NFL Is Using Big Data.” “The chips collect detailed location data on each player, and from that data, things like player acceleration and speed can be analyzed.”

The Forbes article and an article in Sports Illustrated entitled “NFL to embed tracking chips in player shoulder pads” emphasize that the information in the chips will help teams as well as  fans. The team’s coaches can better deduce which players are performing better and which offensive plays and defensive strategies work better.

In addition, the information collected through RFID will allow fans to find out how far players traveled on a play via the NFL 2015 Xbox One app. A running back who made twists and turns on a play, running horizontally to evade tacklers, might have only gained 10 yards vertically on a play, but RFID will let you know how far he actually ran. Remarkably, users will have the ability to select individual players to monitor. “The aim of the app is to personalize fans’ viewing experience with custom notifications and now, a new way of analyzing each game,” the Sports Illustrated article explains.

The NFL using RFID technology is one of many RFID developments in 2015. Others include:

* A pilot program that tracks police vehicles and other equipment in an effort to prevent theft and other criminal activity. This article in Connected World Magazine provides details about the program. A 2015 article in the RFID Journal entitled “5 Examples of RFID Asset Tracking” details how law enforcement is just one field where major progress on RFID asset tracking is being made. It lists the others as manufacturing, education, business environments, and healthcare.

* RFID keychains that enable prospective homebuyers to load information about homes into a “personal online dashboard.” A prospective buyer can tap his or her keychain on a scanner within a home to load information on to their dashboard to compare houses and make more informed decisions. This article in Builder magazine has more information.

* RFID-enabled trailers that “shortens the delivery of goods by 30 minutes per stop, while preventing errors,” according to this article in the RFID Journal.

* “RFID-enabled walkie-talkies that help track remote workers,” according to this article.

* An RFID system for retailers installed by Intel that according to this article was “able to provide nearly 100 percent inventory accuracy within a few days of the solution being activated.”

* An RFID system that displays words and plays audio files for children with down syndrome.

* Technology that ensures that police officers responding to emergencies in gated communities can reach the person or people more expeditiously. The officers can enter the community automatically via an RFID tag in their vehicle.