As the name suggests, RFID is an identification system. It uses a small chip implanted in a tag. The chip can record and store data, such as a serial number, price, or purchase record. The tag can be attached to all kinds of things: merchandise, shipping containers, vehicles, even pets or collars intended for livestock. An electronic reader can then use radio signals to read or track an identification tag.
For example, a warehouse worker can use a handheld RFID reader to check inventory. The data on the optically read labels may be only digits, but once scanned, the digits can be compared to a database, and the employee will know exactly what they have in inventory.
RFID technology was created during WWII to identify friendly aircraft, but it was only recently that its use was commercialized - and its popularity has grown tremendously. You have probably already had the opportunity to be confronted with many products identified by RFID .
It could be :
Automotive keys with an anti-theft chip, which requires a valid code to start your vehicle;
Electronic toll plazas that can automatically read transponders installed in frequent user vehicles (these are already in use on Highway 407 in Toronto); and
A Speedpass (TM) key fob , which automatically debits your bank account or credit card when you refuel yourself .
It is important for consumers to know about RFID , especially because it is the technology used by the electronic product code system or EPC ( Electronic Product Code ). The EPC replaces bar codes, these bar and parallel spaces that are on products and price tags, which are read at the cash register of a store.
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