Learn from RFID

This is new to me.


It’s an article on the history of RFID – that’s Radio Frequency Identification Device – it is the ‘standard’ on how you wirelessly read a serial number of a small tag.

Fifteen years ago, one of the first major initiatives in the Internet of Things took place. In 1999, the Auto-ID Center was formed at MIT; it later became the Auto-ID Labs, a global consortium of researchers and practitioners. The goal of both organizations was to research and help implement radio-frequency identification devices (better known by their acronym, RFID). That same year also marked the first recorded use of the Internet of Things (IoT) term by an Auto-ID co-director. (While the concept of connected things goes back at least two decades, to our knowledge it was Kevin Ashton, a co-founder of the MIT Auto-ID Center, who first used the appealing IoT term in 1999.) RFID was arguably the first major IoT technology of any scale. While not all RFID devices are connected to the Internet, from the beginning the technology involved a networked collection of sensors that monitored physical devices.

Turns out that RFID is really important as it was at that time – with that technology – that the term IoT first got used.

I found it really an interesting read because it highlights beautifully where were have come from as far as tech and getting along and where we need to be.

However, that standard-setting process was difficult and time-consuming. It took 15 years to develop and implement this one standard, an electronic product code called EPCGlobal. This is our worry about the Internet of Things. If it takes that long to develop similar standards for other processes and industries where the IoT is relevant, the progress of this technology will be set back considerably.

So we can look at getting RFID off the ground and see very solid parallels with IoT and see that the struggle is going to be real.
We need standards and we need them much much faster than the 15 years it took us last time.

They sum it up really nicely here;

Even if we learn from the positive steps of RFID and avoid the negative lessons, nothing with the IoT will be accomplished overnight. It will inevitably involve collaboration and adoption across complex ecosystems, and an array of technology and organizational changes within every participant. But if we learn from the IoT’s early history, we can make the progress faster and make many companies’ uses of the IoT more successful.

I feel really powerless about making any sort of contribution to all of this.
I’m just some hacker in a back room that is tinkering with a bit of everything.
I can see the issues, they are real to me, but can not make any meaningful statements about any of it. It’s like trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant that is on full blast.

Most days I use RFID. I have a tag in my Smart Car. After work, I get in the car, wave my phone over the tag and a script that I wrote sends a text message to Freddy’s phone via SMS that tells her I am on my way home and please don’t forget to shut Mal dog door so he does not run onto the street when I open the garage door.

I had no idea of the history of that tag and its value for the future of IoT.