The International Post Corporation’s (IPC) radio-frequency identification (RFID) services team has developed a miniature physical demo setup with Lego blocks to demonstrate the benefits of RFID data in postal operations in real time.
Behind the Lego cubes and pictures, the construction hides a set of five short-range RFID readers and antennas capturing and registering the movements of tags attached to specific Lego objects, like a sprinter van, pallet boxes, postal bags and e-commerce packets. As in the real postal pipeline, moving these Lego objects throughout the scenes (i.e. making them go from one postal facility to another as part of their trip in the postal flow) results in a set of events, logs and reads on a monitoring screen. This demonstrates how the data can be used for tracking postal objects, asset management or registration of presence. Using this visual and hands-on approach, the demo display is expected to create an immediate understanding of how the movement of postal objects connected to RFID technology results in data that adds value to its organization.
The RFID Services team presented this demo display for the first time to the RFID experts participating in the RFID Receptacle Tracking User Group which met on September 27; the team demo-ed the RFID item tracking, RFID receptacle tracking, sprinter solution and pallet box stock management during a 20-minute demonstration.
To explain the benefits and possibilities for postal users of these RFID-based services, IPC’s RFID Services team has tried several approaches with flowcharts, process maps, pictures, on-site visits and drawings. However, the company has since concluded that an image can make more of an impact than a thousand words, so seeing the process and having the capability to touch and move parts of the building blocks of RFID-based services ensures everybody is engaged with the process.
This demo is designed to enable non-RFID experts to fully grasp the potential of RFID technology for tracking services and other RFID-based solutions like asset management or fleet management. Demo participants can become familiar with the added flexibility of the RFID-based services at IPC, viewing a miniature postal pipeline with five clear scenes. These scenes include an e-seller warehouse, a post office/sorting center, an outbound office of exchange, an inbound office of exchange and a delivery office/parcel locker. Pictures and scenery of Lego cubes are intended to make it more tangible and clear how the service works and what these services can offer for a participating post in terms of enriched RFID data.