U.S. Government spending on radio frequency identification technology
will increase by 120 percent over the next five years, according
to a recent report by INPUT, a Reston, Va.-based firm that specializes
in information-services analysis and consulting.
“To date, use of RFID in the public sector has been largely
restricted to the Department of Defense, which is successfully using
the technology to improve its supply-chain management process,”
said the report.
Beginning in 2007, however, RFID is expected to experience substantial
growth in civilian agencies “as business cases emerge demonstrating
similar cost benefits in areas outside of the supply-chain process,”
the study noted. For example, the Department of Homeland Security
is adopting RFID in its Free and Secure Trade program, which seeks
to speed up the movement of pre-approved, eligible goods across
the U.S.-Canadian border.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing agencies as they adopt RFID,
the report said, is how to construct an architecture that can handle
substantially increased amounts of data. One issue is how do you
separate out the useful information. According to some estimates,
the report said, 75 percent of all information collected by military
RFID is useless.
In addition, systems architects will have to tie numerous logistics
systems spread throughout the federal government, and figure out
who will need access to the data, how to provide it in a condensed
form and how to protect the information from spies and criminals.