Monthly Archives: November 2010

RFID: Remove Before Washing or Wearing

If you’ve been shopping recently, then you’ve undoubtedly noticed the cumbersome squarish tags that have been popping up on the inside of clothing everywhere. These tags are none-other than RFID tags, which many retailers such as American Apparel, are using for inventory tracking within their stores.

The tags state, “remove before washing or wearing,” but they don’t state why. Quite honestly, I don’t always remove the tags… there aren’t always scissors handy, and you can’t simply rip it out for fear of damaging the clothing.

While its possible to destroy an RFID tag by crushing or puncturing it, most RFID tags are able to withstand years of wearing, washing, and drying. Mostly, if you don’t remove the tag, you may set off a store alarm upon your next return, but others are concerned about privacy. To those people, I would advise getting rid of your cell phone. Being tracked by RFID tags in clothing should not be a concern, as stores simply use the technology for inventory purposes.

However, there are still skeptics. What do you think? Is RFID in our clothing the next step toward big brother, or is it simply for inventory purposes. Let us know what you think by commenting here or on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

QR Codes vs. SMS for Charity Donation

When disaster struck Haiti earlier this year, the country needed money quickly, so what better way than with SMS? I used the Verizon service, that allowed me to donate funds to Haiti via text, but now there might be a better way… with QR codes.

In fact, Union Gospel Mission, a grass-roots charity in Vancouver, has recently implemented a QR code campaign to allow people to donate money in order to help those in needs over the holidays.

Union Gospel Mission plans to place the QR codes throughout Vancouver, in places where they will receive high visibility, such as bus stops. By using the Mobio barcode scanning app on the iPhone, Android, or Blackberry, donators can scan the code, which will direct them to a landing page for the charity. Then, they can decide on how much they would like to donate.

With typical SMS systems, donations are usually small pre-set amounts ($5-10), but with a QR system, donors can choose to donate as much as they want, ultimately raising more money for the charity. In addition, since SMS donations are run through the mobile companies, they usually take a portion (30-40%) of the amount donated, something that is undesirable for most charities. In contrast, QR code systems give a much higher percentage of donations to charity and the transactions are immediate.

Overall, I think QR codes are a better way to donate money, the only downfalls are having to enter credit card information, and also they only work for smart phones. Then again, how many people don’t have a smart phone by now?

What do you think, should charities use QR codes to collect donations, or should they stick to SMS in order to cover a broader audience? Let us know by commenting here, or our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Costa Rica Uses RFID to Monitor Voting Ballots

In order to ensure an accurate ballot-collection process, Costa Rican officials have decided to implement RFID technology in order to track and monitor the sacks that carry filled out paper ballots. Sacks from various voting locations will be collected and sent to a central ballot-counting warehouse, so the implementation of an RFID system is hoped to increase both the speed and accuracy of the process for district elections on December 5th.

Previously, ballot bags were manually checked as they were carried into the central warehouse, but as you can imagine, this was a long, tedious process that was vulnerable to errors. Since bags usually arrive in large clusters, the process would often get backed up. Instead, the upcoming election is hoped to go smoother, with the help of a battery-assisted passive (BAP) EPC Gen 2 RFID tag to identify each bag as it arrives. This process will also be implemented to identification badges issued to observers from various political parties who will be entering the warehouse on election night in order to gain visibility on which observers arrived at what time.

Upon arriving to the warehouse, the ballot bags and people will go through a reader portal around the main entrance, so their tags can be read by a Motorola XR480 fixed-position reader with Motorola antennae in order to create a read zone around the entire entrance. Each time a tag is read, software will collect unique identification dated encoded in the tag, in addition to a time stamp. This information will be forwarded to a main database, where each ID is associated with the polling station where the tag was issued.

Read more

New Intermec Barcode Scanner Family: SR61T

Intermec recently released a new industrial tethered barcode scanner family, consisting of the SR61T and the SR61TXR. These barcode scanners are definitely rugged, being able to withstand up to 26 drops from 6.5 feet to concrete and/or steel. Their 2D imagers can easily read linear, stacked, composite and matrix barcode both up close and from as far away as 50 feet… no need to leave the forklift!

In addition, the scanners are eay to use and very ergonomic, featuring omni-directional barcode reading to eliminate the need for proper orientation and thys improving operator efiiciency. In addition, the new line of barcode scanners feautre:

  • USB 2.0 full-speed interface
  • Superior motion tolerance
  • VGA+ resolution image capture
  • Extra-range 2D configuration (SR61TXR)

For more information on the Intermec SR61T family, download the specification sheet.

Fore information on Intermec and their products, learn more here.

QR Codes Are Here To Stay

When I started writing about QR codes over two years ago, I was excited for their possibilities, yet doubted their success in the US. Sure, they were already highly successful in Japan at the time, but could they really catch on, would they really become a household conversation? Two years later, the answer to that is yes.

After seeing countless stories in the news regarding QR codes, and knowing that QR code readers come pre-loaded on many smartphones, I think its safe to say that they are here to stay. I recently came across an excellent post entitled, “101 Uses for Quick Response Codes.” It links to many examples of large-scale QR code implementation, such as Times Square, and also gives potential uses for QR codes.

Among my favorites of proposed ideas are creating a code that could, once scanned, make a phone call or populate an e-mail field. It can be time consuming to copy or type this information, so a QR code that could automate the process would be ideal.

There are countless of other uses and ideas (101 to be exact), check out the post here.
Let us know what your favorite idea from the list is, or if you have your own, let us know by commenting here, or on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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