THE EU MEMBER STATES often have a hard time agreeing on stuff, but one thing they are all unanimous about (yes, even Ireland) is the importance of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips. Especially when it comes to the postal service.
By 2013 the EU will supposedly have a fully liberalised postal system, having hopefully abolished all the culturally charming yet archaic and inefficient national monopolies. This means the postal market will soon be overrun with companies promising to get your mail to its destination faster and for less stamp duty than ever. Which is nice, but mo’ postal services, mo’ problems, as they say, and mail could well end up getting very lost. This is where RFID comes into play.
RFID chips have already been tried and tested by postal service in about 50 countries worldwide and, surprise, surprise, have been found to work rather well. Akhilesh Mathur of the UN’s Universal Postal Union (UPU), told Euractive that "as costs drop and tags become smaller, RFID could be used for item-level tracking".
If RFID tracking was actually deployed properly, it would probably mean mail would never get lost ever again, something which sounds far too efficient for EU standards, to be honest, but fingers crossed.
Of course, the idea would only really be plausible if the chips were cheap enough and small enough to make the idea practical in the first place. Apparently both Hitachi and Motorola are currently hard at work trying to cut the chips down to size. Some tech-sperts even believe that new development could lead to such miniscule sizes that the term "smart dust" would actually be more appropriate than “chips”.
But of course another key factor in whether or not RFID could be used to better the efficiency of the postal service is interoperability, which by all measures, still seems a little way off. The European commission swears blue in the face that it’ll have a global RFID standard ready by sometime in 2010, but that probably means 2013 at the earliest. But when it happens, boy are we in for a treat(y). µ
Sweet streams are made of these
'5Guarantee' all but guarantees a 5G iPhone
Firm Kracks down on WiFi flaw
Razring the stakes