RFID: No great benefits

Tasmanian shell fish marketing company Tasea which trialled RFID technology for its fresh cargo last year is grateful to be in a business where privacy is not an issue.

While RFID tagging for music, clothing and CDs is likely to create some privacy issues, there are industries where it is of no concern.

In fact, Tasea’s IT manager Geoffrey Dunlop said the trial was successful but other than better visibility of cargo, there are no benefits of the technology.

“If a company had automatic readers and freight companies had readers on trucks, RFID can tell where the tags are but if you don’t have the reading infrastructure in place, it’s no different to any other technology,” Dunlop said.

“RFID will only pose problems for freight companies with something to hide. I know of one company that is not maintaining their fridges so they wouldn’t want RFID.

“Companies are moving towards more transparent transport methods,” he said. “RFID is a good way for legitimate distributors to protect their reputation.

"Tagging individual units, for example clothing, is unnecessary unless you have a theft problem. Society’s not ready for prices on tags and this is being done with barcodes anyway.”

Dunlop said he doesn’t know of really much benefit of RFID other than tracking asset visibility. “For example, during the trial we discovered a problem with one shipment where a batch of oysters, while on a boat across the Bass Straight, was 40 degrees on the outside.”

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