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iTECH: Advanced RFID Tracks More Than Location

The legislation would also expand requirements for licensing of wholesale distributors, including mandatory background checks, and would require the secretary to study threats to the domestic prescription-drug supply chain.

Beyond tracking the condition of sensitive cargo, RFID is also being used to handle some routine transactions. For example, RFID is used at border crossings and ports to verify driver credentials. It also is used to collect tolls and roadside safety compliance data. In addition, at some truck stops, RFID is used to control the amount of fuel that is dispensed into fuel tanks.

And in early March, QuikQ Inc., a company based in Franklin, Tenn., that offers RFID-enabled fuel-monitoring systems, announced plans to capture data directly from onboard vehicle systems.

“Fleets can now incorporate bus-data information into the fuel transaction,” QuikQ President Ernie Betancourt said in making the announcement at the Truckload Carriers Association annual meeting in Kissimmee, Fla.

Accessing such data while vehicles are being fueled would “eliminate the need for driver data entry and provide the carrier with additional information related to fuel control,” Betancourt said.

Keith Nalepka, vice president of business development for Hi-G-Tek, said RFID can also be used to guard against theft.

Nalepka said RFID tags can be programmed to sound an alarm when doors are opened or trailers are disconnected from the tractor and if units go outside a predetermined route.

Retailers also continue to expand the use of RFID from tagging boxes and pallets to individual products.

“There’s a lot of conversation between manufacturers and retailers about imbedding tags in garments or on hang tags,” said Patrick Ahern, vice president of National Retail Systems in North Bergen, N.J.

Item-level RFID tagging would give a fashion retailer the ability to divert hot-selling merchandise already loaded in containers or trailers, said Ron Margulis, a spokesman for Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions, an organization that promotes adoption of electronic data exchange among shippers and vendors.

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