Group takes up RFID technology

Monday, October 17, 2005

If you've ever driven through the toll tag lane instead of having to stop and drop coins in a bucket on a toll road, or if you've been given a wristband at a sporting event so you can leave the stadium or arena and reenter without paying again, you've used Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, technology.

The scope of applications in today's world for Radio Frequency Identification is enormous. It is so big , in fact, that the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge -- a technology think tank at the University of North Texas -- has established an 80 member, multi-disciplinary research group to focus on how the emerging technology of RFID will impact the ways we live and do business.

RFID uses radio signals or electromagnetic energy to identify objects. In addition to being used in toll tags and wristbands for sporting events, it has applications in ticketing for soccer matches, hospital or nursing home patient tracking, child safety in theme parks, keyless entry and contactless payment cards.

The UNT group -- comprised of faculty and administrative experts and graduate students -- meets once a month to exchange information about ongoing projects and to discuss new ideas for area business and industry leaders.

Members represent UNT's College of Business Administration, School of Library and Information Sciences, College of Engineering, School of Community Service, School of Visual Arts, School of Merchandising and Hospitality Management and UNT Libraries, as well as campus areas of transportation and security, healthcare, facilities, and information technology.

"We've been using radar technology for years to identify very large objects like airplanes and ships, but modern applications for RFID can be used to recognize practically anything," says Dr. Chang Koh, associate professor of information technology and decision sciences and one of three organizers of the UNT group. The group's other organizers are Dr. Stephen Swartz, assistant professor of marketing and logistics, and Dr. Hai Deng, assistant professor of e lectrical engineering.

Koh explains the current RFID technology can be used to store and process data.

"A small label or tag with a processing chip and antenna imprinted can be attached to any object," he says.

The UNT group will take a very important step on Oct. 25–26, when it co-sponsors an RFID Institute with the National Information Standards Organization. This program will be the first of its kind to explore the many issues related to the advancement of RFID technology.

The program will address standards issues about encoding and privacy concerns in the information industry among publishers, booksellers, corporate knowledge centers and libraries. Institute presenters will include industry leaders from RFID companies, software and hardware giants, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (and other consumer privacy protection advocates), EPC Global and many others.

The global importance of the North Texas region's RFID technology was confirmed earlier this year when the Third Annual RFID World -- one of the premier events for the RFID industry -- was held in Dallas in March. The RFID World will be returning to Dallas for the 2006 event scheduled Feb. 27 through March 1.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108