Photos: Tracking people with VoIP and RFID

Photos: Tracking people with VoIP and RFID

Summary: IBM has opened an RFID facility in Dublin specialising in asset management. Some of the applications on show include a VoIP-enabled RFID device that could supersede the pager, so we went to take a look

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

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  • One application for the device would be in hospitals, where the doctor, nurse or surgeon who is nearest to an incident could be alerted by a message transmitted to that individual's tag. The request could be in the form of a short voice-alert or a text message.

  • Together with Magicomm and Nokia, IBM has created a digital pen and paper system to allow users to transmit written documents via a mobile phone or upload the information into a laptop. The pen has a unique ID in a similar fashion to an RFID tag. Data is time-stamped so updates of forms can be detected.

    The digital pen has a built-in digital camera, an image-processing unit and a Bluetooth radio receiver. By writing over the special patterned paper, which consists of millions of tiny dots, it is possible to identify the exact location of the pen and deduce the words being written. The image processor then uploads all the resulting information into the pen's memory which can store several fully written pages.

  • The magic pen is already being used by organisations such as the Dorset Police force to reduce the amount of time spent filling in forms manually. Previously a paper-based form was filled out at the scene and then the information was entered into a PC back at the station. Now the information can be uploaded into the network automatically.

Topic: Emerging Tech

Andrew Donoghue

About Andrew Donoghue

"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

Hunter S. Thompson

Andrew Donoghue is a freelance technology and business journalist with over ten years on leading titles such as Computing, SC Magazine, BusinessGreen and

Specialising in sustainable IT and technology in the developing world, he has reported and volunteered on African aid projects, as well as working with charitable organisations such as the UN Foundation and Computer Aid.

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