I.D. Systems, Inc. has been awarded a grant from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to integrate RFID (radio frequency identification)-based baggage tracking capability into the company's Wireless Asset Net vehicle security and tracking system. I.D. Systems will develop and prototype a mobile, automated baggage tracking system in which "intelligent" containers and vehicles identify and locate items tagged with EPC (electronic product code)-compliant RFID tags, and communicate that data through I.D. Systems' wireless vehicle management network. To support the RFID integration, I.D. Systems will collaborate with Symbol Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:SBL), a provider of data capture, mobile computing, wireless infrastructure and RFID technology, to provide the EPC-compliant RFID tags and readers.
The proposed system design has three unique elements. First, it will create a new type of container-mounted wireless device that "aggregates" data from a virtually unlimited number of RFID-tagged items, enabling efficient, effective location tracking of both the container itself and its RFID-tagged contents. Second, it will utilize baggage handling vehicles as mobile RFID portals, significantly increasing the area over which RFID tags can be tracked, reducing the number of fixed-position RFID readers required in a facility, and increasing the visibility and security of RFID-tagged items. Third, it leverages I.D. Systems' existing RF (radio frequency) infrastructure to communicate data back to local or wide area networks. The company has such infrastructure deployed in numerous manufacturing, distribution and transportation environments for both government and commercial customers.
"We welcome the confidence that the TSA has expressed in us by funding this innovative project with I.D. Systems, and we look forward to developing a potentially groundbreaking integration of RFID-based technologies," said Jeffrey Jagid, I.D. Systems' chairman and chief executive officer. "Unlike other approaches to RFID tracking, which depend heavily on constant wireless network connectivity and continuous communication with a single control point, our patented system of 'distributed intelligence' will enable autonomous wireless hardware on both vehicles and containers to track RFID-tagged items without regard to immediate network availability. We see this integrated vehicle/container/item-level tracking system as a way to significantly increase asset visibility, not only for homeland security applications like baggage tracking, but also for broad supply chain applications -- from container ports, through distribution centers, all the way to retail stores."
"Baggage and cargo tracking is an ideal application for RFID, and an application that Symbol is intensely focused on," said John Shoemaker, Symbol's vice president RFID Sales. "The integration of Symbol 's RFID solutions into I.D. Systems' existing wireless vehicle management system is an excellent fit, not just for airports and seaports but also for other supply chain environments. This TSA project further demonstrates the successful integration of RFID with other technologies to provide a comprehensive solution for security and baggage handling."