RFID: A look into the future

Posted by admin on Nov 30, 2009 in ICM 501a, Module 7: Future of Interactive Communication |


Technology, currently, is continuously changing. Throughout the last decade, the vast majority of people were competing to get the latest technology they could afford; on the other hand, what seems top-notch technology seven years ago, for example, is out-of-date in today’s world. Countless inventions and innovations are simply dying, for instance, CDs, fax machines, and even desktop computers. Moreover, other people are trying to predict the future of technology. Professor Alex Halavais, in his lecture on the media futures, “The future“, mentioned that it is really important to predict the future of technology, specifically the future of interactive communication technology. In addition, He indicated that one of the ways to predict the future is by creating a scan for the future. He also stated that one of the most important technologies is “RFID” that is strongly nominated to be evolved in the future. In this post, I am going to discuss two major points: the first one is the potential utilizations of RFID technology in the future, and second one is the challenges of using RFID technology in the future.

Potential utilizations of RFID

According to Wikipedia, RFID “is the use of an object (typically referred to as RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves”. In addition, Simon Morton, in his interview with BBC New “Barcelona clubbers get chipped‘, stated that “implanting microchips that emit a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) into animals has been common practice in many countries around the world”. When I put this possibility in mind and imagine the future of RFID  active tags, I can simply infer that, in the future, I will not be carrying my ID with me, or when I travel, I don’t have to have my passport with me, because it is all in a small microchip inserted in a part of my body. Imagine when you go to the bank, for example, there is no need of any identification. Or, even the possibility of storing all your important data in one of your arms. Furthermore, when I think about the “mobile-enabled culture” that Howard Rheingold, in his book “Smart mobs“, described it, I think of RFID as a possible technology to be developed that might become next generation of mobile devices. Perhaps,  a microchip that has the ability to send and receive text messages and voice calls. This microchip gets its signal from a satellite and has a voice recognition system that converts the voice to text and sends it, without the need to type the letters, for example. Whatever the use of RFID technology in the future, I am pretty sure that it will be extraordinary.


Challenges of using RFID

Furthermore, there are certain challenges of using RFID technology in the future. The range of RFID microchips is the main challenge, as Howard Rheingold, in his book “Smart mobs“, indicated that “RFID tag” is ”an inexpensive microchip with short-range radio broadcast capability”. In addition, if RFID microchips used in the future, privacy concerns might be the second challenge. People who have the RFID microchips injected in their body that contain all important data about them will be terrified from unauthorized access to their private data. In addition, governmental and commercial data collection will be a major issue in the future, since the use of RFID microchips will make the data collection processes a piece of cake.



I have mentioned that there are major inventions and innovations that are basically on its last legs. Everyone is wondering “what comes after the digital revolution” (Neil Gershenfeld, 2006). In addition, I have indicated that there are certain technologies, such as RFID, that might be the possible coming revolution. RFID might be used in different ways, such as passport, credit card, or even as in integrated cell phone. However, there are several disadvantages of using RFID technology in the future. For example, the cost, range, and privacy concerns are the main challenges of using RFID technology in the future. After all, I believe that RFID technology is a strong candidate to be a major medium of communication in the future.

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