Australian Irony: IBM Kills RFID Demo Due To Excessive Interference

Written by Evan Schuman
October 16th, 2006

“Can you hear me now, Mate? You can’t? IBM must be testing RFID again.” Alas, the Australian Tennis Open has little love for Big Blue and neither do Australian Vodafone users. Seems that IBM was preparing a major demonstration, to show that RFID is now accurate, reliable and can function without causing interference. Unfortunately, IBM had to pull the plug on the demo because …. well …. it was causing too much interference.

According to this wonderful story in Australian IT, IBM killed its RFID demo after the radio technology blocked signals from a nearby Vodafone mobile phone tower. “The incident confirmed long-running concerns that the readers used to scan radio frequency identification tags could disrupt towers in Vodafone’s mobile phone network because of overlaps in the frequencies used by the two systems,” the story said. “It also prompted claims that possible interference from RFID readers was slowing the uptake of the technology in Australian supply chains, although there is no evidence that the problem has disrupted any radio frequency identification projects.”

The story quoted IBM spokeswoman Leah Sneddon as saying that as was well because the interefering piece of equipment–an RFID scanner–was a “piece of non-IBM equipment.” I’m glad she straightened that out. For a moment there, I thought this might undercut RFID arguments about equipment interference.


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