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RFID: Context Aware and Location – a Brief History & Introduction

March 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm PST

My distant relative - Flight Lieutenant KJP Granger (Royal Air Force) and his DH82A Gipsy Moth - did the forerunner of RFID save him from being shot down?

Some of the best technological advances are made during times of conflict. Sad that it should be so, but the silver lining is that many of the advances are focused on defending, protecting and shielding people. Active RFID, the kind of solution provided by Cisco and AeroScout, in many ways started out that way.

Looking back decades to WWII, radar was already being developed in ernest by the British in the run-up to the second world war. Many countries were developing radar at that time, but most folks agree that Robert Watson Watt, later Sir Robert, was the prime mover-and-shaker.  It took US marketing (in the form of the US Navy) to coin the term RADAR, for radio detection and ranging.

So where does Context Aware Location RFID come in? Well, whilst radar itself was useful, the  British needed to know whether those planes coming over the English Channel were returning Spitfires and allied bombers, or attacking Luftwaffe aircraft. It was the same Watson-Watt that helped produce the ‘Identification friend or foe’ (IFF) system that  used a transponder on the allied aircraft that was ‘excited’ by the radar system and actively sent back a signal to the base saying friend. My own cousin, Flight Lieutenant KJP Granger, Officer Trainer RAF, was grateful for that!

Now fast forward decades to today. The technology for today’s RFID is a little different, but the concept is the same. So let’s keep the aeronautical theme going and talk about Boeing and its use of RFID.      Read More »

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Making Medicine Wireless at Cisco, While Keeping Costs Down

We’ve shown you how wireless can break down borders, making your organization more efficient and agile. Today, I wanted to take a moment and share how we’ve been using our own technology to provide world-class medical care to our employees and their families. In this case study, you’ll see how our on-site medical facility, the LifeConnections Health Center, is using the Cisco Unified Wireless Network with our Context-Aware solution to save $140,000/year while improving care.

Founded in 2008, the LifeConnections Health Center began its life with the Cisco Unified Wireless Network and a suite of mobility services, including wireless patient check-in, Cerner electronic medical records and e-prescribing, while temperature monitoring and asset management remained manual processes. “Our nurses had to keep paper logs of our refrigerator temperatures, checking them twice daily to make sure vaccines and lab samples preserved their efficacy,” says David Lees, Cerner clinic manager. “It was also challenging for us to keep track of our medical devices and equipment.”

To solve these issues, LifeConnections leveraged their existing wireless infrastructure to deploy the Cisco Context-Aware Solution with the AeroScout RFID tracking solution. “With this solution, we were able to easily add the temperature monitoring and asset tracking capabilities we needed into our existing Cisco Unified Wireless Network,” says Uma Desiraju, IT manager. “Leveraging our wireless infrastructure for these new services is enabling us to achieve a nine-month ROI.”

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