Ever since the revolution of RFID began, we have been debating on why is RFID better than barcodes or why are barcodes still a better option. Given a lot of focus on the differences, it is high time to think all the way around. What if RFID and barcode can coexist?
If you wonder whether it would ever make sense, then the answer is “yes, of course!”. RFID and barcode can work together, and that makes complete sense.
Hold your curiosity! Before diving into the main topic, let us start with the basics.
Barcodes and RFIDs are tracking and identification systems that help companies track their assets and store item information. This information is usually printed on tags and retrieved using an external device called a reader or scanner. Additionally, item information can also be stored, accessed, and easily shared via online platforms.
A barcode is a rectangular shaped code with black and white lines of varied thicknesses running parallel. The readers decode them with the help of lasers by measuring reflected light that distinguishes between the lines.
On the other hand, RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification, which uses radio waves to transmit digital data encoded in RFID tags to an RFID reader. The tag contains a sensor attached to an antenna, and each sensor normally contains unique identifiers. This enables the reader to scan more than 100 tags simultaneously, constituting the major advantage of RFID.
There are a lot of differences between these two technologies. However, some features of RFID complement that of barcodes and vice versa, even though they are still known as ‘differences’. These complementary differences are the basis of the fact that Barcode and RFID can work together.
Barcodes are lighter, easier to use, and less expensive than RFID. They also possess higher accuracy irrespective of the product surface when compared to RFID. Meanwhile, RFID is more secure, efficient and can scan more than 100 tags simultaneously since it doesn’t require a direct line of sight. Furthermore, unlike barcodes that do not support the data-write option, RFID has read/write capability that enables data updations. Moreover, RFID makes it convenient to automate the identification process.
Factually, the strongest use case of Auto-ID involves employing both the barcode and RFID technology. By working together, these two technologies can support existing needs by providing the user with additional benefits.
Thus, businesses can use barcodes and RFID together when one or more advantages are duly required.
Looking for some examples of where to use the RFID-barcode technology in a real-world commercial scenario? Here are some:
For the frontend and backend functions of the company:
The frontend and the backend functions of a company vary considerably, with the frontend dealing with customers and products and the backend dealing with inventory processes. Take the example of the pharmaceutical industry, where the front end is a retail store or pharmacy that deals with customers picking up individual items. Since customers pick each item at a different pace and time, barcodes are the best option. Meanwhile, at the backend, RFID allows the quick scan and identification of items regardless of whether stored in a pallet or a medical cabinet.