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Mexico EVR deployment on schedule; program will tag 25M vehicles by 2012

03/22/10 | John R. Johnson | email

It's always a good sign when users of RFID technology are willing to share their success stories. That is starting to occur more regularly, as was evidenced at the Alien Technology User & Partner Conference held earlier this month.

Speakers at the Alien conference provided new details about many applications, including the electronic vehicle registration program being rolled out in Mexico, and how Grupo Leche Pascual, a provider of dairy products in Spain, is using RFID to tag cases and pallets of eggs and other products as they enter its production facility.

"There are some applications that we have been involved with for quite some time that we have been unable to speak about in the past," says Victor Vega, director of marketing at Alien. "So it was nice that these companies were able to discuss these applications."

Eric Redman, director of sales and marketing at Neology, provided a sweeping overview of Mexico's electronic vehicle registration program, which has the goal of tagging all 25 million cars in that country by the end of next year. Currently, 12.5 million passive RFID tags are in circulation in that country. Automobile dealers are tagging most vehicles when new and used cars are purchased.

Redman says the main goal behind the program is to increase compliance and provide Mexico with increased revenue from cars that were not registered previously. In Mexico, close to one-third of automobiles are not registered. Redman expects that number to drop to single digits by the time the program is completed.

The Neology solution allows information stored on an RFID windshield tag to be read at tool booths and other areas at speeds up to 100 miles per hour in real time, validated with corresponding data relating to the same vehicle on a government database. The solution also has the ability to include a variety of other sensing devices and technologies that could be used when trying to identify and track a vehicle. When data collected varies from information stored in the government database, an event is triggered that will be followed up on by national or local law enforcement.

Redman says that aside from boosting tax revenues, the solution will play a major role in detecting stolen vehicles as well as increase overall national security.

The government of Brazil is closely monitoring the Mexico program and is expected to roll out its own EVR program later this year or early next year. RFID technology was also proposed in the Philippines, although the program has been halted temporarily do to consumer protests. It is also being researched or implemented in Asia and Singapore.

As for the United States, individual states with the highest number of toll roads are the most likely to roll out EVA in the future, although Redman says that the U.S. is several years behind some other countries in adopting the technology. Georgia, which is converting car pool lane to high occupancy toll lane, has requested RFP's for a Gen 2 EPC tolling system, which could lead to an EVR program as well. States that make heavy use of toll roads, such as New Jersey and Florida, are likely candidates to deploy EVA in the future since as many as 25 percent of cars registered in those states are already equipped with toll tags.

"We have seen activity pick up in that area for a while," says Vega. "The performance of UHF passive tags has improved to the point where it doesn't even make sense to have batteries at this point, and the cost is less. So we're seeing a lot of interest from states and countries that would like to deploy this."

Vega says that the RFID payoff at Grupo Leche Pascual mainly involved being able to track product, therefore improving total supply chain visibility and improving customer service.

"They have found a nice ROI by tagging their entire product portfolio and they are starting to roll it out now," says Vega. "They are able to monitor the entire supply chain. Their biggest pain point was around getting orders correctly. Their motto is to have very close to 100 percent customer satisfaction and RFID has provided them an opportunity to get much closer to that goal."

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