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More Users Signal RFID Intentions

LAS VEGAS -- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), more often associated with retailers and manufacturers, is now attracting attention from a broader range of users. IT managers here for this week's Interop show say they are looking to the technology to track everything from school books and teaching staff to warship parts.

"Some of our logistical staff are looking at it for tracking high-value items such as very expensive replacement parts," explains Commander Greg Reynolds, information systems director at the Royal New Zealand Navy. This, he notes, could range from radar equipment to aircraft parts.

Work being done by other countries may help push this project forward. "We have some common hardware parts with the Australian and the Americans, so that could be a driver for it," he says. "As the technology becomes more affordable and more pervasive, it could be extended to lower-value items such as foodstuffs."

Reynolds, however, acknowledges that data transfer is a major hurdle for the Royal New Zealand Navy, whose patrol area extends from the edge of Australian waters to Antarctica. Additionally, he added, the military has deployments in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Timor. "The biggest challenge would be the passing back of information from remote locations."

It's not just the military that is turning to RFID. Shlomi Harif, director of network systems and support at the Austin Independent School District told Byte and Switch that he is looking at RFID to log the number of hours worked by the organization's 22,000 classroom mentors. "We can put one sensor at the entrances all our mentors use," he says, adding that the RFID chip could be contained within the mentors' ID badges.

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