I spotted an article in the RFID Journal on January 29th 2014 by Claire Swedberg that caught my eye. I am always intrigued when I see something has happened that I had talked about as being possible some years ago. In this instance, TECO Group’s home appliances division have begun to incorporate passive ultrahigh frequency RFID tags into their air conditioners. The launch this year follows a 2 year pilot that tracked 600 tagged air conditioners through assembly, distribution and purchase.
What TECO are doing is not only using RFID to track an air conditioner though its assembly and distribution to provide supply chain visibility, but also using the RFID tag to collect data once it has been purchased about how it is operating. Each tag also serves as a 'black box', storing what has happened to the air conditioner to which it is attached, in the event that the unit malfunctions, as well as sharing error code information with maintenance personnel. Technicians can then access the tag's data via an EPC UHF RFID reader in order to identify what is wrong with the air conditioner prior to its disassembly. The RFID tags also act as proof to customer that the appliances are authentic TECO products.
So what we have is a single tag being used not only for internal tracking for supply chain visibility, but also for authentication of the products for customers and finally as a means of collecting data relating to malfunction once installed. I always thought that a single RFID tag could be used for multiple tasks. Now it has happened.