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An Intr odu cti on to RF ID

RFID technology promises a world of networked &

interconnected objects. Everything from tires to toothbrushes
might soon be in “communication range”, heralding a new
era; one in which today’s internet (of computers) will give
way to the “INTERNET OF THINGS”. And the possibility of
“things communicating with other things”.

The potential application areas are mind-boggling. However,

two broad trends are certain:
o The current smart card technology will be replaced by
“contact-less smart cards”. This in turn will usher in the
“Internet of people”.
o Bar-codes will give way to the RF-tag (electronic bar-
code). This in turn will enable articles to be sensed in

The context-sensitive information (who, what, where &

when), along with their logical inter-relationships (who was
with what at time X), which RFID makes available,
unleashes a range of possibilities, and range new generation
real-time applications – in all walks of life.

Global standards have been formulated, and now, there no

stops to the rapid adoption of RFID:
o ISO 15693 – The standard for contact-less smart card
o EPC Global – for implementation of globally visible
supply chains, and tracking an item, at the unit level
(say on the retail shelf).

A. Context sensitive healthcare from Sofscript

Context-sensitive healthcare is defined as “the ability of
systems, applications, devices, persons and clinical spaces
to automatically initiate actions, or be controlled, based real-
time events, or relevant circumstances”. Pre-determined
responses are possible without active human intervention.

Context-sensitive systems can measurably improve

healthcare safety and accuracy and dramatically increase
financial and operational performance of the “total healthcare
system” – with benefits to all stakeholders.

To deploy such applications, the requirements are:

o Positive identification of persons and things
o Real-time Location Identification
o Time-stamp of “events”

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology enables a

variety of context-sensitive applications such as:
o Automated Billing & Record Keeping
o Automated Patient Safety Monitoring
o Automated Medication Safety and & Documentation
o Automated Medical Device Control & Asset Tracking
o Real-time Inventory Management of critical items
o Automated Hospital Administration, Access Control &
Security Management.

The range of possibilities are mind-boggling, each with it’s

level of sophistication, technological complexity and cost-
benefit ratios.

Sofscript has deep domain knowledge and the technical

expertise to deliver “complete” context-sensitive (RFID)
healthcare solutions.

Here are some reasons why hospitals must consider RFID:

 Reduce medical errors, with accurate data.
The Institute of Medicine has estimated 98,000
deaths per year in the US, on this count. Improper
data the cause of surgical errors, 1 in 25 times. Many
of these errors are attributable to “errors during
manual data entry”.

Because RFID enables automated sensing, the

incidence of errors of manual intervention may be
largely prevented.

 An improvement in Patient care.

• Personalized services
Every in-patient can be identified (by his wrist
band) and this identity is linked to patient data.
Which in turn make “personalized” service –
diagnosis, medical procedures, drug
administration, diet, billing, and other
procedures possible.

• Reduced cycle times

Currently, large proportion of staff time is lost in
“searching” - for patient records, pathology
sample, X-Ray. Once the RFID (identification) is
integrated with the Hospital Information System,
a sharp increase in staff productivity is possible.

 Better return on capital employed.

• Critical inventory such as stents, will be closely
• Expensive assets will be available at the right
place & time.

 Security and Hospital Administration will improve.

Despite access to the “public”, the hospital must
remain a highly secure. Manual security systems are
not capable of “enforcing” security. But RFID can
provide a robust and automated security system,

B. RFID in Logistics & Supply Chain Management.

Logistics RFID-enabled solution Potential Benefits


Receiving  Electronic ASN available  Accuracy and

 Incoming “container” could speed of
be soft tagged – for e.g. receiving
contains waybill. Verify with operations
ASN. improved.
 Dock door readers  Receipt updates
automatically read RFID can be made in
tags attached to pallets, MINUTES. In
cases. High value items manual
can be individually tagged. operations, it
can take 2-3
days, on
average. A

Pre-  As per customer  “Slap & ship”

packaging specifications. RFID labels, to
 Provide “slap & ship” meet
service. compliance
 Put into RF-tagged put- mandates.
away bins  EXPORTERS

Put-away  Forklift and locations (cells)  Put-away

are fitted with RFID accuracy
readers. improves to
 Put-away containers are nearly 100%-
“soft” tracked – i.e. based The items are
on container id, its contents always
can be derived e.g. “100 available at the
9inch bolts are put-away on intended
shelf S.101”. locations.
 A wi-fi link for Estimated 3-5%
communication between shrinkage is
interacting devices is set- eliminated by
up – a put-away list sent to RFID.
a forklift reader.  Real-time
reduces “cycle
count” costs by

Order-  Customer’s order-fill  System-wide

filling instructions are converted visibility
to pick-lists (and pick- improves fill-
paths), after verifying for rate, e.g. items
availability of parts and any for order in the
other criteria e.g. dealer receiving dock.
credit level, etc. RFID Enabled,
 Dealer-wise “dispatch visibility has
containers” (again soft enabled
tracking enabled) are companies
created – i.e. container –id achieve 95%
is associated with details facing / on-line
such as customer address, fill rate, and
packing list details, etc. 98% system fill
 The picking
time is reduced
from hours to

Dispatch  The correct dispatch  Track & Trace

containers are loaded on service can be
the correct vehicle. The offered to
waybill can be soft-tracked customers.
to the dispatch container.  Dispatch errors
eliminated. 2-
5% error rate
made virtually

C. RFID in Retail Environment.

 Real-time visibility of inventory, across the supply chain.

Real data and Analytics – will drive merchandising,
promotion, product placement, replenishment and
planning decisions
Best Practice Enabler Comments

Pricing ,  RFID enabled High value players,

Product “smart shelf” serious – jewelry,
Placement  Following the watches, ready-made
and Promotion shopping cart garments
aligned with

Flexible buy- • RFID tags for  In pharmaceuticals –

back. Retailers authentication anti-counterfeiting
give space mandatory.
more willingly.  Pro-active
information re: expiry

Sales  Accurate POS  TLOG data shared

incentives data from through web-services
based on sell- retailer

Single stage  Pull-based,  3PL companies will

monitoring of single point for have to provide this
Continuous replenishment service
Replenishmen • Automatic  Track& Trace, GPS,
t System Triggers RFID…
• Smart shelf  Stocks of SKU <epc>
again! at Locations
 Demand <reader1, ….n> are
fulfilled by a <s1….sn>.
• Stock
across all
• Cross

Best Practice Enabler Comments

Reduction in  Speed up  B2B and B2C

replenishment receiving exchanges are
lead times process at all proving their value.
stages: Web services
• ASN standards define
• Web-services templates,
(like EDI, but workflows, etc.
XML based) • ebXML
• Automatic • ROSETTANET
update of • ODETTE
inventory • HL-7
(RFID reads)

Reduce Lot  Reduce

size. Increase ordering (and
replenishment receiving)
frequency and costs
product • Automati
variety. c
• Web-

Manage LTL  Accurate and 3 PL must come up to

cost effectively speedy Hub & steam
operations by
3 PL
• Milk-runs
• Cross