RFID Tags and Stakeholder Management

Posted by Peter on May 05 2008 | Articles


RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags are now being used in many places around the world, although an article in Telecom Asia magazine about how to ‘kill’ your RFID tag made me think about how to communicate the benefits of this technology to the public.

RFID consists of an inexpensive wireless chip and antenna that can be read up to several metres away. The technology is typically used to track packages in transit or in factory production systems, cutting costs for manufacturers and retailers.

Since 1998, the National Library Board (NLB) in Singapore has been using RFID to tag all its books and automate the borrowing and returning process. More recently, the NLB has installed RFID readers in bookshelves of the library, enabling an operator to find out exactly which books are on the shelves.


The Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system in Singapore also uses ‘active’ RFID technology for the toll system to communicate with vehicles, whilst bus travellers use ‘passive’ RFID tags inside EZ-Link contactless smart cards to pay for their travel.

While the technology does offer some remarkable opportunities, it also raises some concerns with regard to individual privacy and possible espionage. These issues are discussed in more detail in the RFID Gazette, and is particularly relevant now that many countries have already adopted RFID tags into passports.

Telecom Asia makes the point that some consumers do not seem to have learned very much - or don’t like what they are hearing - about the benefits of the RFID technology, even though it has been around for a long time.

In Singapore the benefits of the EZ-Link card are quite obvious to all travelers, as they quickly get on and off the buses and trains but I wonder how the benefits of remotely-readable tagged passports will be communicated to the public?

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