Guest Column | April 23, 2009

Mobile RFID: Human Intervention In An Automated World

By Wayne Pau, Principal Consultant for RFID, Sybase

Although RFID is often used as a way to automate and increase the efficiency and accuracy of existing processes, there are usually a handful of exceptions and special cases that have to be dealt through other processes. Perhaps that is why even factory processing lines have diverting arms and stack-off areas. In the real-world not everything works out quite as planned. As we try to divide and sub-divide all of our existing processes into neat and tidy use-cases, inevitably there will be some scenarios that have not been accounted for that contradict the defined norm.

Enter the human element. A factory worker can easily adapt to and solve an unexpected problem like pallet reconstruction that a closed or fully automated system would handle poorly. The RFID industry has long been dominated by fixed RFID readers and mounted antennas; systems that work well within the defined norm but lack the human element. These inflexible readers present an opportunity for the less popular, but ever advancing, mobile RFID handheld readers.