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RFID plays a key role in temperature monitoring

RFID as a technology has evolved over the years and is available in chips and patches, which communicate with a stronger read-rate, says CEO, TrackIT Solutions

| | Nov 20, 2018 | 10:37 am
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Dubai, UAE, 20 November 2018: The application of RFID technology to the supply and cold chain industry is a well-established concept. Soma Sekhar, CEO, TrackIT Solutions, dated the use and commercialisation of RFID tags back to the year 1999. “Since then,” he said, “there has been considerable development made to RFID as a technology.” Today, RFID tags can be printed as patches and are also available as chips, which communicate with the user at a stronger read-rate, he added.

Elaborating on RFID and its application to temperature control in transporting blood bags for transfusion, Sekhar highlighted that the tag can be put onto the blood bag, which can then be set to a high frequency. “The tags are connected to a temperature-monitoring machine or a data logger which is located either in the vehicle or at the hospital,” he said. The data logger, he said, records temperature, while enabling the user to track any sudden changes. “In certain cases, if the temperature exceeds the permissible limit, a mobile phone application can be used to alert the user, who can then alert the person in the vehicle,” he said. However, today, there is a demand for real-time temperature monitoring and communication, where adjustments can be made in an automated fashion, he added.

Pointing to yet another important aspect, he highlighted how using smartphones enabled with Near-Field Communication (NFC) can benefit RFID in its tracking process. The high-frequency tags, he said, have memory and the embedded temperature-sensors and data can be read using an NFC-enabled smartphone. “NFC simply enhances the process of machine identification,” he said. Elaborating on the workings of the RFID system, Sekhar added, “Active RFID tags and Bluetooth-enabled tags have their own battery systems.” The Active RFID, he said, will send an alert to the control centre, which can be applied even to temperature-sensitive drugs or the food supply chain. “The mobile phone,” Sekhar asserted, “might soon replace the reader and there will come a time where controlling temperature will be an automated process.” Highlighting a major roadblock to the adoption of such technology, Sekhar pointed to cost as a major factor. “It is affordable when RFID is used from an ownership point of view because the consumer will benefit in the long-term,” said Sekhar. However, he added, the cost of RFID varies and is largely dependent on the kind of encapsulation, certification and requirement of the application.

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