What is RFID
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a wireless communication method that uses radio waves to identify objects. RFID can in a way be seen as the concept of barcoding in a new digitized format providing the ability to:
- Uniquely identify each and every individual item beyond its product type
- Identify items without the need of direct line-of-sight
- Identify multiple items (up to 1000pcs) simultaneously
- Identify items within a range of between a few centimeters to several meters
An RFID system consist of readers and tags that communicate with each other through means of radio waves. RFID tags are small and require so little power that they don’t need a battery to store information and exchange data with readers. This way it is very easy and cheap to apply tags to all kinds of items that people want to identify or track.
Why Use RFID?
RFID technology is capable of both enhancing and protecting the lives of consumers, and also revolutionize the way of doing business. RFID is a flexible auto-identification technology, that can be used to track and monitor items or people in the physical world automatically and with a high level of accuracy.
RFID tells you what an object is, where it is, and depending on the tags functionality, even its condition. This is why it is integral to the development of the so-called Internet of Things. This so called Internet of Things or IoT is a global web of interconnected objects. The physical world itself will become an information system, automatically sensing what is happening, sharing related data, and responding.
The adoption of RFID is increasing rapidly because it enables to “tag” any item with a low cost tag and then communicate with that tag using a reader. Applications range from “SCM” supply chain management to asset tracking and the authentication of frequently counterfeited pharmaceuticals. Applications are only limited in fact by the imagination of the user.
- Automatic inventory and asset-tracking in healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and business sectors
- E-pedigree; Identifying the source of products, enabling intelligent recall of defective or dangerous items, such as tainted foods, defective toys, and expired or compromised medication
- Localize or identify the whereabouts of patients, employees or valuable assets in healthcare organizations
- Prevent the use and sales of counterfeit products in the supply chain
- Improve the shopping experience for consumers, with fewer out-of-stock items, easier returns and more consumer engagement
- Provide visibility into the supply chain, increase efficiency of the distribution channel and thus reduce business costs
- Realize interactive experiences and enhance digital signage and way-finding systems
- Decrease business revenue losses to theft or inaccurate accounting of goods
- Improve civilian security levels through better cargo monitoring at ports
- Wirelessly lock, unlock and configure electronic devices
- Enable automatic and wireless access control of certain areas or devices
Whatever the application, RFID has the potential to increase efficiency of operations, improve asset visibility and traceability, decrease reliance on manual processes, bring down operational costs, and provide data for intelligent business analytics.