Technology is constantly adapting and upgrading. Some gadgets get lost in the stream of updates, but radio frequency identification (RFID) is here for the long haul. Companies and people are using RFID technology in these interesting ways to make life easier and more fun.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
You might not think of beer brands when you picture the future of technology, but Budweiser is always looking to innovate. In 2013, the company was ahead of its time by creating RFID-chipped Buddy Cups. When someone cheered and tapped their glass to another Buddy Cup, the chips would instantly make the two people friends on Facebook.
Food delivery apps and subscription websites make life more enjoyable. It would be challenging to ship food and accidentally let it spoil with RFID technology. The chipped shipping systems ensure every order remains at the right temperature to stay safe to eat, even when traveling across the country.
Many businesses offer free public Wi-Fi, which can pose a security risk for users. The only other option is to provide a username and password. Instead of dealing with lines of customers waiting for login information, businesses can attach an RFID chip to a sign inside the front door.
People can tap their phones on the chipped poster or sign to instantly get the login information on their screens. It takes less than a second, so there’s never a line or a disgruntled customer.
Dealing with dollar bills and coins at a toll booth is a hassle. RFID chips in toll membership strips allow machines to scan your car as it passes through automatically. You’ll get a bill in the mail and save some time.
RFID transponders also help truckers. You might enjoy fast deliveries because shipping companies alert toll booths to their truck’s arrival by transmitting its location with radio waves. Everyone involved in shipping stays safe while customers get to enjoy more timely deliveries.
Events like the New York Marathon have thousands of participants. Have you ever wondered how they keep track of everyone’s time? Runners can tie an RFID tag to their shoes before starting the race. When they pass predetermined milestones, the tag alerts the system tracking runners so everyone gets accurate mile times.
When someone brings a new pet to the veterinarian, the vet often offers to chip the dog or cat. If the animal gets lost, any vet can scan between their shoulder blades to access their owner’s name, address, and phone number. The invaluable technology is only possible with RFID microchips.
Making in-store purchases with your phone can save the day. If you forget your wallet in the car, you still have everything you need at the register. The RFID readers in smartphones make things like Apple Pay possible. The chip connects with your preferred bank account or card, then taps the RFID scanner in the payment terminal. You’ll never have to leave your skincare products on the shelf after accidentally leaving your debit card at home.
You’ve likely seen the giant soda machines with the big screen above the pour spout. They’re popular in fast-food restaurants and movie theaters because people can customize their sodas on the go. When you tap on the screen to mix root beer with cherry soda, RFID systems within the machine coordinate valves for the various sodas while charging your card.
People can easily steal things from changing rooms, but not with RFID chips. Retail store employees put these chips inside tags on their clothes, which only come off with a specific removal device. Otherwise, the chip sets off the store’s front door alarm. Shoplifting costs stores $24-40 billion annually — RFID technology keeps prices low, so brands don’t have to increase price tag totals to compensate for the loss.
Wristbands are an easy way to keep track of people. Concerts often give them out to attendees after they pass through ticket booths. The bands might light up and have a logo on them, but inside is an RFID chip that makes your experience more enjoyable.
The venue hosting the concert keeps track of where everyone is standing or sitting. When people migrate to a particular vendor during a show, the venue operators can radio for other nearby vendors to prepare for the crowd. Everyone gets served faster because the food or beverage service workers know when people are heading their way.
Tracking wristbands can also make concerts more secure. If things get out of hand on the floor, security can use the RFID chips to understand which people were part of the instigating event. However, this only happens if the venue operators work with a security team to attach IDs to each wristband before the concert.
RFID technology chips and microchips help people every day. These are just a few of the most interesting uses you might have yet to consider. As this technology becomes more common, life will get more accessible and enjoyable.
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