Consider Long checkout lines at the grocery store…
It is one of the biggest complaints about the shopping experience. Soon, these lines could disappear when the bar code will get replaced by smart labels (RFID) tags. RFID is similar to barcoding in that data from a tag or label are captured by a device that stores the data in a database. RFID tags are intelligent bar codes that can talk to a networked system to track every product that you put in your shopping cart.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a technology that uses radio waves to automatically identify objects, animals, and people. It is the wireless non-contact technology that uses radiofrequency waves to transfer data. Tagging items with RFID tags allows users to automatically and uniquely identify and track inventory and assets.
Though, this is not a new technology and even older than Barcode. RFID has come a long way from its first application of identifying airplanes as friend or foe in World War II, the 1970s.
Within the Electromagnetic Spectrum, there are three primary frequency ranges used for RFID transmissions – Low Frequency, High Frequency, and Ultra-High Frequency.
RFID systems can be susceptible to certain materials and environmental factors that can cause diminished read ranges and affect overall system accuracy. Metal and liquids are the two most common sources of interference for RFID applications, but they can be mitigated with the proper RFID tags, equipment, and planning.
An RFID system consists of a tag, which is made up of a microchip with an antenna, and reader with an antenna. The reader sends out electromagnetic waves. The tag antenna is tuned to receive these waves. While each system will vary in terms of device types and complexity, every RFID system contains at least the following four components:
The simplest system can be comprised of a mobile handheld RFID reader (with an integrated antenna) and RFID tags, while more complex systems are designed using multi-port readers, additional functionality devices (e.g. stack lights), multiple antennas and cables, RFID tags, and complete software setup.
RFID tags have similar applications to barcodes, they are far more advanced. An RFID tag in its most simplistic form is comprised of two parts – an antenna for transmitting and receiving signals, and an RFID chip (or integrated circuit, IC) which stores the tag’s ID and other information. RFID tags are affixed to items in order to track them using an RFID reader and antenna. Depending on the application, RFID tags & cards can cost less than Rs.5 or up to Rs.150 per piece.
An RFID reader is the brain of the RFID system and is necessary for any system to function. Readers, also called interrogators, are devices that transmit and receive radio waves in order to communicate with RFID tags. RFID readers are typically divided into two distinct types – Fixed RFID Readers and Mobile RFID Readers. Fixed readers stay in one location and are typically mounted on walls, on desks, into portals, or other stationary locations.
An integrated RFID reader is a reader with a built-in antenna that typically includes one additional antenna port for the connection of an optional external antenna as well. Integrated readers are usually aesthetically pleasing and designed to be used for indoor applications without high traffic of tagged items.
The brains of any RFID system are RFID controllers. Controllers are used to network multiple RFID interrogators combined and to process the information centrally. In any network, the controller should be an application software or workstation running database. The controller uses the information gathered by the interrogators when new inventory is needed in retail application and alert the suppliers.
What sets a potential RFID application apart from applications that can use other types of systems is the need to uniquely identify individual items quickly and more efficiently where traditional systems fall short. Below are a few applications that are successfully using RFID technology.
1. Item level inventory tracking
2. Logistics & Supply Chain Visibility
3. Attendance Tracking
4. Materials management
6. IT Asset Tracking
8. Library Systems
9. Laundry Management
10. RTLS (Real-Time Location System)
New applications for RFID technology are constantly emerging to solve age-old problems across industries. In the retail industry, every store has inventory which may range into the thousands, even hundreds of thousands of pieces and dollars. Jewelry stores have millions of dollars invested in thousands of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. With RFID jewellery tags, accurately tracking inventory becomes a viable option.
By providing a cheap, efficient, and reliable way to collect and store data, RFID offers limitless possibilities for current and future use. RFID has become and will continue to be more and more desirable for implementing applications at the service of our society and humanity.
Organizations are free to choose any hardware as per their choice, requirement, and surroundings. If you want to increase the profit of your organization, you are just a Call Away from choosing the best suitable RFID Reader and Tags. However, if there is a particular requirement you are searching for, but can’t find, contact us
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