RFID successes highlighted at Mobile & Wireless World
Some IT managers note problems but say the technology offers benefits
Computerworld - ORLANDO -- Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology has had an important impact on safety and security, as well as product sales and inventory management, at BP PLC, Ford Motor Co. and other businesses, officials at the companies said this week -- although IT managers said the technology still has obstacles to overcome.
Curt Smith, director of application technologies at BP, formerly British Petroleum, listed several new RFID applications at the London-based company, including a rollout in its early stages that will eventually track the location of 3,000 workers at BP's Cherry Point oil refinery in Washington. Active RFID tags at the refinery will be especially useful in an emergency to discover who is missing and has not reported to a safety zone, he said.
Smith described the Location Aware Safety System (LASS) here at Mobile & Wireless World (MWW), which is sponsored by Computerworld.
About 50 workers are being tracked in the early stages of the project, which has been under development for two years and is expected to cost less than $1 million, Smith said in an interview. Workers initially had privacy concerns about the technology but were relieved to learn their whereabouts after work would be protected. "They all see the value of the RFID for their safety. It's amazing how strong they are taking to it," said Smith.
The timing of the Cherry Point project is ideal, since BP had a refinery disaster about a year ago in Texas City, Texas, in which 15 people died and dozens were injured, Smith said. Tracking technology would be helpful in saving lives in such cases, he said.
BP is also seeing a 15% increase in retail sales of five-quart motor oil containers shipping with passive RFID tags. The containers are sold exclusively at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. retail outlets in Texas and several nearby states, Smith said. The improved sales come from BP's ability to accurately track that shipments actually arrive at a store, as well as its ability to ensure that the products are in stock on the sales floor during promotions instead of on a loading dock or in transit, Smith said.
"The Wal-Mart and BP sales example demonstrates the value of RFID as a tool for effective management and auditing performance," said Dan Taylor, an analyst at Mobile Enterprise Alliance in Wakefield, Mass. "RFID helps close the feedback loop" that business supply chains need.
Taylor pointed to a range of RFID examples that indicate that the technology is taking off, with implementations moving into the area of safety in addition to inventory-tracking. "RFID is coming along," he said. "Some of the examples are pretty amazing."
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts