Lessons learned: Active RFID

The Warner Robins Air Logistics Center learned a few things in implementing its RFID system.

The technology must support the business process. 'It is up to us to help find a solution,' said Margaret Padgett, the IT division's business and resource development chief. 'But we have to know where [users] are coming from. Ask the people who work there.'

Although standards are being developed for passive RFID technology, there are no active RFID standards. When a tag or reader is selected, the project probably will be tied to the same vendor for the rest of its equipment and management software, so consider the vendor's overall ability to support the program.

'Don't think of RFID as a replacement for your legacy systems,' said Cynthia Gunter, Automated ID Technology program manager. 'Your legacy systems have valuable data that is useful for your business process.'

For real-time visibility, active RFID tags are the way to go. But make sure your tracking needs justify the higher cost of an active system.

See the bigger picture. With an RFID system integrated and operational, you can use it to support other parts of your mission, or open it to other department needs.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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