Transferring applied RFID technology to industry

Jo Kam

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The Technology Transfer Office introduced the latest developments in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology at a forum entitled “RFID: New technological driver for the coming decades” on 12 January at the Multimedia Conference Room at City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

Approximately 100 professionals from industry heard Professor (Chair) Edward Yung Kai-ning, Director of CityU's Wireless Communications Research Centre, discuss the existing and potential applications of RFID.

In his talk, Professor Yung discussed the history of RFID, from Hollerith cards to magnetic strips, bar-codes, the latest smart cards plus the evolution of different systems dating back to those first used in World War II.

Professor Yung continued by introducing CityU’s achievement in this area, comparing the difference between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ RFID. “We provided the system for ‘E-way’, the electronic identity check a few years ago, facilitating traffic flow through immigration channels at the Lowu border crossing,” he said.

The research team led by Professor Yung is now using the Run Run Shaw Library at CityU as the test site for the ‘active’ RFID system. With this system, a library as large as even the US Library of Congress should not lose books in the future.

The RFID system is especially suitable for logistics and supply chain management. A large number of parcels and packages are processed everyday and the reputation of the service depends on on-time deliveries. Swift and reliable package recognition and sorting, as well as tracking of the exact location and status of every single item, are both required.

At the end of the presentation, Professor Yung revealed potential RFID applications in logistics management, the service industry, government and health. “Hong Kong brings a unique driving force to the development this system: Hong Kong people welcome hi-technology,” he said.

In the second half of the forum, Professor Yung demonstrated how to apply RFID to locate each package’s position in the warehouse in real-time. He showed how GPS and GPRS worked and how each package can be located globally in real-time.

Many logistic firms are adopting RFID technologies in their supply chain in order to meet upcoming market demand.

The Technology Transfer Office organizes frequent forums to help disseminate mature CityU technologies to local industry for the advancement of Hong Kong and the region. Some of the participants are members of the CityU Business & Industrial Club, which comes under the Technology Transfer Office.

Mr Wong Hon-yee, Director of the Office, encouraged participants to support this Club. It maintains a close working relationship with the business and industrial sectors, and facilitates the exchange of ideas between CityU researchers and industry.

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