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Fwd: Post Office using radio tags to track the mail

I know that there was some discussion about this stuff a few months ago. I
thought the list might be interested in this story. 

 Post Office using radio tags to track the mail

 WASHINGTON (May 19, 1998 3:26 p.m. EDT http://www.nando.net) -- Postal
 Service officials are testing a simple concept for tracking late letters --
 sending tiny radio transmitters through the mail.
 The devices were tested in Houston, San Francisco and northern Virginia and
 now are being tried on a broader basis. They allow postal managers to track
 specific pieces of mail moving through the system.
 "Preliminary reports from our field managers indicate that tracking the mail
 (with radio tags) may be the key to uncovering bottlenecks in our system
 that could consequently improve service in all classes of mail," said
 William Dowling, postal vice president for engineering.
 One early test had postal officials in Houston perplexed.
 They could see that the mail was being moved out regularly at the sorting
 office, yet the transmitter showed an item had been sitting still for 20
 The next day it happened again.
 Finally, Cathy Jones of postal operations support found the problem -- mail
 sitting too long in a staging area on the floor above. It was proof that the
 new radio tag system not only could find bottlenecks for managers to fix,
 but it could do it through walls and floors.
 New York-based I.D. Systems Inc. began developing the tiny transmitters used
 for individual pieces of mail in 1995. Last week, the Postal Service
 announced a contract with Savi Technology of Mountain View, Calif., to
 expand testing of the radio tagging system to include containers of mail.
 The radios are less than one-quarter inch thick and small enough to fit in a
 business-size envelope. After they are mailed, sensors in local and regional
 post offices track them, explained Glenn McDonald, manager of the project.
 The tiny radios are idle most of the time, to save their batteries, he said