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Common misconceptions about RFID

The various global industrial sectors have witnessed dramatic developments taking place over the past years. Many factors like the industrial revolution, technological advancements, opening of new markets, massive digitisation, etc., have led to the upliftment of different industrial scenarios. While sectors like food and beverages, clothing, home decor and technology dominate the retail industry scenario, sectors such as healthcare, entertainment and education are right behind.

It is important to understand the reality regarding certain problems and misconceptions regarding RFID technology and gather more insights on the necessity and benefits of adopting RFID technology in your business. Moreover, the economic and commercial shift taking place across countries has instigated the majority of the population to rethink their shopping preferences. Furthermore, customers are always looking for a fast and reliable way for meeting their shopping needs. The implementation of RFID technology will serve to make the many business processes digital. This digital transformation is the new trend, and it is here to stay.

Especially in a post-pandemic world, healthcare, retail, hospitality, and various other sectors will be keen on taking advantage of RFID-enabled technological solutions to enhance their business operations. Technowave, being a technology-based novel data capture company, offers pioneering solutions for challenges that a post-covid business world poses. Furthermore, we at Technowave are dedicated to providing you with state-of-the-art RFID technological solutions for tackling your business setbacks. This article seeks to break the misconceptions and drawbacks associated with implementing RFID technology.

Common misconceptions associated with RFID technology

As is the case with any technology, there are certain misconceptions regarding RFID that people carry. Below we will be discussing and busting the myths about some of the most common misconceptions about RFID technology:

RFID is just an identification technology

RFID technology is not just used for identifying and locating assets or other items. The emergence of the Internet Of Things (IoT) paved the way for using RFID technology for numerous purposes rather than simply capturing presence. Some of the use cases are:

Leveraging RFID technology as a data medium by employing specially designed tags incorporating sensors. These tags help to capture sensor data like humidity, moisture, temperature, GPS, etc.

RFID technology helps to procure real-time data from assets located in hazardous areas. Subsequently, this, in turn, facilitates reducing human involvement while dealing with assets in hazardous areas.

Using RFID to brand your product helps to prevent people from coming up with counterfeits of your goods and products.

Barcodes are older than RFID

Another common RFID misconception that people have is that barcode technology is older and was implemented before RFID. Radars used by the American, British, and German military successfully implemented the concept of RFID technology during World War 2. On the contrary, the reason that the first patent regarding barcodes was filed in 1949 proves that RFID is older.

RFID technology kills your privacy

Many people have this misconception that using RFID technology in consumer goods puts an end to their privacy. They think that embedding RFID chips and tags on products like clothes enables the seller to track the consumers everywhere they go. Now, this thought is purely due to lack of knowledge as nowadays there is ‘consumer kill’ software that kills RFID tags immediately after purchase, thereby preventing any form of the tracking once the consumer leaves the store.

Metallic and liquid objects prohibits the use of RFID tags

The fact that liquid objects absorb radio waves and metallic objects reflect radio waves are true. Subsequently, this makes tracking metallic objects or items with high liquid content using passive tags difficult. But these are all stories of the past as nowadays ultra-high frequency (UHF) tags help to overcome these difficulties. Moreover, Technowave provides a wide range of high frequency and ultra-high frequency tags that facilitates smooth functioning even with metallic and liquid objects.

RFID products from different sellers don’t work together

Even though this RFID misconception was true in the earlier days of RFID technology, now it’s not true. Various measures like adhering to industrial standards and integrating inter-operable features like RAIN RFID facilitates seamless integration between different products. Furthermore, a web-based browser or cloud-based solutions facilitate impeccable integrations between hardware like external printers or readers in RFID systems.

RFID technology is only for manufacturing and supply chain circles

RFID technology perfectly suits inventory, warehouse management and retail industries for tracking and updating product locations and other data. But, they also have a wide range of applications in other sectors like:

Healthcare Sector

Maintaining patient records, managing hospital staff and patient beds, tracking and maintaining data on medical equipment, surgical tools, medicines, etc.

Restaurants

Keeping track of kitchen utensils and cutlery, maintaining real-time data like manufacturing date, nutritional information, etc., on spices and condiments.

Offices

Employee management, temperature monitoring of staff, preventing unauthorised vehicle entry, parking, etc.

Ensuring safety standards in various industries

RFID technology can serve as the solution for challenges associated with maintaining safety standards in different industries. RFID helps to inspect and confirm that a piece of equipment has passed the required standard tests without any direct contact. Furthermore, thanks to real-time data, you can verify the different safety checks carried out at various stages of the product life cycle.

Other businesses sectors

Jewellery tracking, implementing yard management systems that prepares schedules for truck drivers to ensure timely delivery and pick-ups, managing employees and activities in the construction business, efficient management of paintings and artefacts in a museum, etc.

How to counter the common drawbacks of RFID technology?

Counter the common drawbacks of RFID technology

Based on a report from the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), there is an approximate strength of 11 billion smartphone users in the world, which is above 60% of the total world population. Now, considering the current pandemic environment, digitisation using RFID technology will serve to be a striking new means of making your business reach out to potential investors and consumers.

Every technology comes with its own set of pros and cons. You have to understand them and gather more insights about the technology before implementing them. Below we will discuss some common RFID problems and drawbacks and how to counter them effectively:

RFID technology is highly expensive

Now, this has to be the most common issue or drawback regarding RFID technology that most people point out. Even though it’s true to some extent, technological developments have made its implementation cheaper compared to a decade ago. Furthermore, the benefits that they bring are indisputable and assures a higher return on investment. Moreover, doing trial runs with RFID systems that you plan to adopt will help you to figure out a cost-effective way of implementing them, thereby facilitating to bring down the initial investment amount.

RFID don’t work if the radio frequency signal is weak

Weak radio frequency signals or RFID dead zones is another RFID issue or problem that people often complain about. However, using multiple RFID readers and multiple-axis or circularly-polarised antennas helps to minimise RFID dead zones and improve signal strength.

RFID tags are prone to Electro-static Discharge (ESD) damage

Electro-Static Discharge usually affects RFID tags affixed on insulating surfaces like plastics. This happens due to friction and occurs when the tag and affixed surface rub against each other, causing a buildup of electrostatic charge. ESD can degrade an RFID device and make it operate inconsistently, and lead to its complete failure within days. However, implementing proactive ESD protection measures like providing a leakage path for safe discharge can counter this drawback. Furthermore, you can even resort to affixing two tags to overcome this RFID issue if the damage becomes too critical.

RFID is prone to unauthorised reading

Another drawback of RFID technology is the unauthorised reading of tags affixed on passports and credit cards. However, resorting to encryption standards such as the NIST Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) helps to tackle this drawback. Furthermore, active RFID tags encrypt data allowing only the designated reader to procure information and thus can eliminate this problem.

Conclusion

Like all other technologies, RFID also has its fair share of drawbacks and misconceptions. However, it’s your duty to understand more about the technology and efficiently implement it according to your requirements. As stated above, the technological boom of the past decades has helped to counter numerous drawbacks and misconceptions regarding RFID. Furthermore, procuring the technology from a trusted and reputed vendor like Technowave after doing the necessary trial runs facilitates the proper and cost-effective implementation of the technology.

Technowave being an innovative data capture solutions provider, can aid you in procuring the technology suited to meet your needs. Furthermore, our strategic alliances with global brands like Datalogic, Zebra technologies, Nordic ID, etc., allows us to provide state-of-the-art and economical solutions for our clients. Moreover, our dedicated employee team and their unparalleled field knowledge make us the right choice for procuring RFID technological solutions.

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