RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification.
An RFID device serves the same purpose as a barcode or a magnetic strip on the
back of a credit card. It uses radio frequency waves to wirelessly transfer
data between itself and a RFID label or a tag attached to an object in order to
identify, read and track an asset. A main advantage of using RFID devices is
that it does not need to be scanned directly or positioned precisely relative
to the scanner. The RFID tag or the label must be within the range of the
reader, which range from 10cm to 100m in order to be read. This technology
allows several items to be scanned and enables fast identification of a
RFID technology was once limited to
tracking cattle. But in today’s world it is used to track consumer products
worldwide. Many manufactures used this technology to track the location of each
product they make, from the time it’s made until it’s pulled off the shelf and
to into shopping carts. Apart for the retail merchandise, RFID technology is
also used to track vehicles, highway toll pass cards, airline passengers,
Patients and pets.
This technology uses a special tag or a
label to be placed on the products. These tags are intelligent barcodes that
can communicate to the reader over a networked system to track products. At a
basic level each RFID tag works the same way. It consists of integrated circuit
and an antenna. The integrated circuit store and process information while the
antenna is used to receive and transmit a signal to the RFID reader. These tags
also have a protective material that holds the pieces together and protects it
from various environment conditions. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes
are either passive or active. Passive tags are the most common as they are
smaller and less expensive to implement. They have powered by the RFID reader
in order to transmit data. Active tags have an on board power supply such as a
battery thereby enabling them to transmit data over a greater distance. Using
power from its internal battery or power taken from the RFID reader, the tag
sends radio waves back to the reader. The reader picks up the tag’s radio waves
and interprets the frequencies as data. RFID labels incorporate both RFID and
barcode technology. They are made with adhesive label embedded with an RFID tag
inlay and they may also feature a barcode or other printed information. These
can be printed using a desktop label printer with RFID reader/ encoder.
Technology can be used in many industries to perform tasks like
- Inventory management
- Asset tracking
- Person and animal tracking
- Travel documents
- Barcode and security tags
- Healthcare data management
- Supply chain Management etc.
tags and barcode both carry information about products. However there are
important differences between these two technologies.
readers need a direct line of sight to the printed barcode.
Tags do not require a direct line of sight to read the tags.
range of barcode is typically 1 meter
can pull information up to 100 meters
to the fact that a direct line of sight is required, reading barcodes is much
can integrate or read tags much faster. Read rates of forty or more tags per
second are possible
have no read/write capability. You cannot add information written on a
tags can be read/write devices. The RFID reader can communicate with the tag
and alter information.
are typically less expensive than RFID tags.
tags are more expensive than barcodes.
technology is not as popular as barcodes even though it has been available for
more than 50 years. One reason that it has taken so long for this technology to
come into common use is the lack of standards to implement RFID in industries.
Also far too many businesses currently use UPC scanners. Businesses that
currently use barcode technology are good candidates for upgrading to a system
that uses RFID or a combination of the two. RIFD tags are an improvement over
barcodes because the RIFD tags have read/write capabilities. Data stored in
RFID tags can be changed, updated and locked. RFID tags can hold much more data
about an item than a barcode. Also they are not prone to the damages that may
incur to barcode labels such as ripping and smearing.
time goes on we'll definitely see more products tagged with RFIDs and an
increased focus on seamless wireless transactions. RFID solutions enable you to
advance your business to a new level of efficiency by providing greater
visibility into your inventory as it moves across the supply chain. With real
time tracking information you will always know where your critical assets are.