Clearit.ca's Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates
Radio Frequency Identification technology, or RFID technology, has seen an increase in use in recent years, especially around ports of entry across the border of Canada.
On average the border between Canada and U.S. sees roughly 400,000 travelers, as well as $2.5 billion in trade commodities, a day. By implementing RFID technology across specific points along the border, Canada has been able to streamline, secure, and increase efficiency during the crossing process.
What is RFID technology?
At its most basic form, RFID technology uses radio frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data. That data is then used to quickly identify and track tags attached to objects; all of this is done without sorting through a travelers personal information.
Documents and objects that use RFID-tags will be scanned automatically, once a traveler enters the RFID designated lane at the border crossing. Similar to a barcode scanner, RFID scanners will read the tag or smart label, collect the data and store it within a private database.
What makes this technology unique is its ability to read the tags and labels without being in a direct line of sight. The scanner can pick up the tag, for example, as soon as a traveler enters the RFID lane, streamlining the entire crossing process.
Rather than manually entering a travelers documentation, the RFID scanner will pick up the necessary data from their secure database. The information will appear on-screen and help the border officer determine any risk.
Why is it useful?
The technology has been an instant success in for the Canada Border Services Agency, and that’s because it has been able to better secure the border, while making it more efficient.
Currently being used at border crossings in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario, RFID’s act as the first border precaution before being sent to the border officer on duty. The technology helps officers determine the risk level attached to objects or travelers upon entry. RFID-enabled documents and objects don’t add any costs, either.
The use of RFID technology also extends beyond border purposes, as the technology can be used for a number of reason, especially shipping companies.
Advantages of RFID technology include:
- Manage stock and inventory with precision
- Flawlessly track assets
- Boost supply chain management
- Increase counterfeit measures
Shippers and transport carriers can implement RFID tags into their documents and cargo in order to seamlessly track their shipments. An RFID tag also holds much more data than a regular barcode tag.
So, while barcodes are still generally useful, many shippers are switching to RFID because the barcode is slowly becoming an outdated model. With the shipping, warehouse and supply chain industry rapidly changing, companies will need to adapt in order to keep up with faster, more efficient processes.