RFID Technology

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Identifying objects, products, animals or people using radio waves and microchip tags. Explanation of RFID Technology.

RFID TechnologyWhat is RFID Technology? Description

RFID is a method to identify objects, products, animals or people using radio waves and microchip tags. This wireless technique relies on storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is an object that can be applied to or incorporated into any object for the purpose of identification using radio waves. Some tags can be read from several meters away.

Most RFID tags contain at least two parts. The first is an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a (RF) signal, and other specialized functions. The second is the antenna to receive and transmit the signal. Chipless RFID is a technology allowing for discrete identification of tags without an integrated circuit, printing tags directly onto objects.

Usage of RFID Technology. Applications

  • Personnel identification, id-cards, passports.
  • Patient identification, safety and medication.
  • Livestock and animal identification and tracking.
  • Cargo and container identification and security.
  • Tracking of high-value assets with real-time location systems.
  • Visibility of supply chain objects through product tracking.
  • Transportation payments.
  • Money cards.
  • Electronic toll collection.
  • Wireless commerce.
  • Various administration usages.

Steps in applying RFID Technology. Process

  1. Assess your numbering options.
  2. Assess management of your RFID readers and devices.
  3. Assess management of your data.
  4. Assess integration of your business applications.
  5. Assess integration with your trading partners.
  6. Assess management of your processes.
  7. Assess your scaling capabilities and management of architecture.

RFID versus Barcode.RFID versus Barcode. Strengths of RFID Technology. Benefits

There are a number of advantages of RFID over the barcode. The tag does not have to be physically scanned or read in any way, so merely being within proximity of a detection unit allows the data to be read. No more creased barcodes. Furthermore, unlike barcodes, RFID tags can be read through desktops and book covers (no line of sight is required). RFID tags can be read in any orientation to the reader/antenna. RFID tags can be read while moving (i.e. while being deposited through a return chute). RFID tags can be read several at a time.

Limitations of RFID Technology. Disadvantages

  • Cost. RFID tags are more expensive than barcodes.
  • No global standard. The frequencies used for RFID in the USA are currently incompatible with those of Europe or Japan.
  • Security and privacy concerns. The illicit tracking of RFID tags poses a risk to both personal location privacy and corporate or military security.
  • Cancer risk. Certain veterinary and toxicology studies indicate that RFID chips may induce malignant tumors.

Book: Patrick J. Sweeney II - RFID For Dummies, 2005 -

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Compare with RFID Technology: CPFR  |  Just-in-time  |  Value Stream Mapping  |  Vendor Managed Inventory  |  Barcode

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