RFID and NFC
JRI faces multiple problems that can be resolved with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and NFC card payments. RFID technology consists of three main components: a chip, a reader, and a database. RFID works through a series of steps. First, the RFID reader sends energy to the RFID chip that is placed within or on the exterior of any type of device. The RFID chip receives the energy from the reader, and transmits information to it. The reader can process this information and send it to a database (Bonsor& Felon, 2017). The chips will be placed onto devices that need to be used for tracking purposes such as rental equipment, golf clubs, and tennis rackets. This source of information will be transformed into data through the RFID reader and tracked in a database in order to determine how long someone used the object and where it is. Then, when the guest pays, they will have their accounts automatically charged without having someone input that information. RFID differentiates itself from barcodes in many ways. Traditionally, almost every object in a store is tagged with a barcode that must be scanned one by one by a clerk at the checkout. RFID chips will still be placed on object like the barcodes, but there will be no need for them to be scanned on by one because the RFID readers can detect them within a roughly 20-foot range (Bonsor& Felon, 2017). Suppose that guests wanted to purchase an assortment of items on the JRI resort. They would simply grab what they want, walk out and make their payment with the NFC card (will be explained later). This will overall reduce the bottlenecks of checkout lines by a significant margin.
The way this will influence the business process is that the important resources of JRI will be managed more efficiently using crucial information. Guests at JRI will also have an RFID chip on their NFC card that will allow them to enter and exit certain facilities without having to put their card up to the door. The reason this process works is because the RFID chip will contain all the ID of the customer such as their age and their name. Activities use information to determine how inputs transfer into outputs, and in this case, the input will be the identification of the customer and the output will be the ability for the information system to grant them access or not. As mentioned before, the most crucial information in this system will be all the data of the specific object the RFID chip is attached to just like a barcode. Facilities at JRI will need to be updated to accommodate this technology for one important reason: checkpoints. When a customer has their items they want and want to leave the store, there needs to be checkpoints that customers walk through that will indicate that they want to purchase the item and pay for it with their NFC card. The readers need to be placed in strategic positions depending on the product, but in general, they would be in the same place a traditional barcode scanner would be. And finally, the resources of the company will be positively influenced because the suppliers of products to the resort will have more accurate tracking systems and they will know when they need to restock their inventories. Less workers will be required to check out items too which will alleviate labor costs of the business.
The second component of my alternative is the NFC card reader. The way this information system would work is this: before customers arrive at the resort, they will go to the website of JRI and sign up for an NFC card. They will enter relevant information like their name, credit card number, and email address. When they arrive at the resort, they will receive an NFC card that has their picture identification and will be used to make payments; the charges will be deducted from their credit card account accordingly. The benefit of this system is that the card will also contain a username and password that will be used to log into various computers that will be spread out through the resort so that they can log on to preorder meals, book golf games, and much more. Any purchases they make at these computers will automatically be charged to their account because it already includes their login information that is tied to their accounts. The NFC purposes of the card will serve to facilitate payments because items will already have an RFID chip and customers will simply have to grab their items, walk past the checkout checkpoint, then they cap their card at an NFC terminal and all leave. A benefit of the NFC payment method is also that the existing payment terminals at JRI will only need to be updated for roughly $150 dollars each and there would be no additional fees that the guests would have to pay (5). And since they already leave their phones when they check in, this feature must be embedded onto a card, like Tim Horton’s cards that are used across Canada.
The business process would be impacted by the NFC card payment because of its impact on how the business works. The activities of the customer would be the purchases of different items at the resort. Rather than carry both and ID and credit card, they would simply be able to use their NFC card that would already contain all their relevant information that must be submitted before they come to the resort. Therefore, the NFC card would convert the identification and payment information into a payment transaction, and because the items already have RFID chips embedded in them, shipping invoices would automatically be made and sent to the supplier for more products (and resources).Â For the customer however, they will mostly be impacted by the fact that tapping their card at any payment terminal will automatically connect their identification and credit card info to the purchase to that they can receive items in return. This transaction also impacts the information aspect of the business process too. The final two business processes that are impacted by the NFC payment are the resources of JRI which include the workers, customers, and cash. The workers will not need any additional training for this system because it is already like the existing “tap to pay” transactions that exist on traditional payment systems, and the customers will be familiar with the system too. The other resources that JRI will no longer need to be concerned with is credit cards and identification because it will be combined onto the NFC. The structures within the business process that will need to be updated will be, as mentioned before, the payment terminals. This is overall a small compromise to make in return for the benefits of a tap to pay transaction that will improve the overall experience of the customer and speed up the transactions.
Advantages and Disadvantages of RFID and NFC system
The benefits of the RFID system are that it has multiple functions such as the ability to track items and provide meaningful information to the owners of JRI. Knowing where items are, how long they have been checked out and used, and being able to transfer that information into orders is a huge benefit to the organization. The other advantage of passive RFID technology is that the RFID tags can be attached on the outside of objects or inside them (Bonsor& Felon, 2017). Most of the major downsides of RFID technology are concerns about privacy and security. Also, to implement RFID, there would need to be coordinated efforts by the management at JRI to transition from barcodes to RFID tags on items; the doors would have to be updated to detect RFID tags as well. The constraints of RFID are that the only cost-effective solution is through the passive technology that can only be activated if it is somewhat close to an RFID terminal. If management wanted to track the range of certain items within the distance of the entire resort, they would need to make significant investment that would not be worth the overall cost.
The main advantages of the NFC system are the ease of payments that are provided with the “tap to pay” system. Customers can simply approach the payment terminal and tap their cards and go about their day without any delays. Compared to RFID, NFC does have some security advantages because it works within a much shorter range and the user data cannot be accessed by someone else without them being pretty much in contact with the card. The benefit of the username and password system of the NFC card is basically that guests at JRI will be able to plan their evenings. They can preorder meals, book a table, book a tee time to golf, and do much more. The disadvantages and constraints of NFC payments are that they are not hands free and work within a close range. Guests will also need to carry a car wherever they go and take it out of their pocket when they make purchases. Also, usernames and passwords can be stolen. If someone happens to drop their card, another guest could simply use it to make purchases either through the computer or the NFC payment systems.
Cost / Benefit Analysis
According to RFID Journal (n.d.), RFID tag costs range from 7 to 15 cents and the readers cost $500 to $2000 dollars. Comparing the cost to the benefit for the customer, this system overall provides a clear advantage over traditional barcodes. The ability for guests to not wait in line and walk through a checkpoint with their items without waiting for them to be scanned is worth the extra implementation costs of this new system. The information that management will receive about the location of their items too will provide meaningful rewards for their investments. There would also be costs for the business to set up computers around the resort. The price of desktop computers varies significantly, but JRI could buy around thirty computers to start with for $1000 dollars per unit and place them strategically around the resort. Comparing the costs to the benefits, it’s clear that the quick payment method of NFC cards will be a huge value to JRI and the customers. Even families that bring their kids to the resort can easily show them how to use their card, or add another card to their parents account, which they be given permission to use for small purchases. A user-friendly and familiar system will contribute to the profitability and user experience. And finally, the benefit of the username and password system that is implemented on the NFC card will provide value to customers that like to plan and do not like to wait.
Bonsor, K. & Fenlon, W. (November 5, 2017). How RFID Works [Web]. Retrieved from http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/high-tech-gadgets/rfid1.htm
RFID Journal (n.d.) RFID Frequently Asked Question [Web]. Retrieved from https://www.rfidjournal.com/faq/show?86
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