Tags Keep Tabs On Data
An Auckland-based company is adapting electronic radio frequency (RF) technology so it can be integrated into information systems to boost business performance.
"So often, data important to management decisions is not in a form that is easily accessible," says the director of Electronic ID Tag Systems Ltd, Bob Williamson. "That means decisions are often made with imperfect knowledge."
Funding from Technology New Zealand has enabled the company to further develop use of the RF technology, with businesses as diverse as commercial laundries, orchards and industrial plants among those benefiting.
During research and development work at one orchard, RF tags - which have a unique identifying number - were added to apple bins and a data file was created that led to a quality profile of the orchard.
"The orchard involved was surveyed with differential global positioning satellites to develop digital maps of individual tree locations, allowing the orchardist to readily access more complete information," Mr Williamson says.
Using read-write tags, Electronic ID Tag Systems is also writing software that enables the low-cost chips to become transportable data storage units. For example, a tag fixed to a piece of equipment can store information such as the owner, date of first use, when a warranty expires, details and dates of each subsequent service, and fault history.
The same data is also stored in a central database, for uses such as statistical reporting. "Nothing can be more user-friendly than having historical details immediately a fault has occurred, or being able to advise your customer about a warranty expiry date, even if the item was bought in another store," Mr Williamson says.
The tags are ideal for asset tracking and product authenticity because each has a unique identifying number stored at the source of manufacture.
The tags can be fixed in many ways, for example by being moulded into plastic or fibreglass items, encapsulated in resin labels, or simply applied under a paper label.
Contact: * Bob Williamson, Electronic ID Tag Systems Limited Ph:(09) 443-1319. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org * Tony Hadfield, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, (04) 917-7800 or 025 454-095. Website: www.technz.co.nz