In a bid to encourage the local development of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, the Telecommunications Research and Industrial Development Institute (TRIDI) of the National Telecommunications Commission is funding a Bt3.8-million pilot project at the convenience-store chain 108Shops. The pilot project started early last year and finished at the end of last month. TRIDI provided the Bt3.8 million in funds to the King Mongkut Institute at Lat Krabang University to develop software and systems for the internal logistics of the SUN108 company.
The private company IE Technology provided hardware, including RFID tags and readers.
Visit Hirankitti, head of the Intelligent Communication and Transportation, Department at the institute, said the programme consisted of two main parts: RFID tag and reader implementation in SUN108′s warehouses, and active RFID tag and global positioning system (GPS) implementation in the company’s trucks.
RFID implementation in crates kept track of the flow of empty crates when they were returned from its 700 outlets to the warehouse. The system cut losses, which were running at around 25 per cent of total crates. It also served basic logistics functions on the products in the crates. Meanwhile, the RFID implementation in trucks helped the company to more efficiently manage its logistics.
The tags replaced bar codes. They contained product details such as the name of the item, its lot number, the item quantity and details of their destination.
“We implemented passive RFID tags in 2,000 crates and tag readers at 10 stations at the warehouse, with three types of readers: a desktop reader, a hand-held reader and a stacked reader,” said Visit.
The pilot project was part of TRIDI’s strategy to encourage the local development of telecommunication devices. TRIDI director Supot Tiarawut said that under TRIDI’s four key focus areas – broadband access technology, short-range communications technology, optical communications technology such as fibre-to-home, and next-generation network (NGN) technology – only two had completed the first pilot project. These are NGN and short-range communication technology. “RFID is an important area that we are interested in,” said Supot. “It has good growth potential.”
According to a report from the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre, the total market value of RFID-related industry last year was worth around Bt1.8 billion. This year the industry is expected to grow around 26 per cent. Supot said that TRIDI had a total budget of Bt200 million this year, of which around Bt30 million would be spent on pilot projects like the RFID project at SUN108.
“We hope to have a lot more pilot projects across the four key focus areas in the near future,” said Supot