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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the cons of RFID technology?

    While RFID technology is a pioneer in asset tracking and maintenance, it has some fundamental issues. The basics in RFID cons relate to the interception of data being very convenient in the technology. Anybody with an RFID scanner can read the RFID tags and obtain priceless information. To prevent this, data encryption is the only solution. Then, the scanning range of the RFID readers can be small. Even though boosters and radio transponders can increase the reading range, it is still not significant. This can affect the efficacy of the technology. Moreover, the expenditure to evolve the technology is very high. This is because there is an absence of standardization within RFID solutions. Entities create their customisable version of the RFID solutions to suit their needs. This restricts its applicability across industries. 

    One of the lingering issues has been its vulnerability to hacking and data theft. Since, RFID works on broadcasting signals, the chances of hacking increase. This risk can exemplify in the case of payment systems that use RFID technology. Furthermore, the risk of cloning the RFID chips is another problem with the technology. Anyone with a handheld reader and a fundamental transponder can clone the chip and customise and encroach upon its data. Besides, the considerations of the implantable RFID chips in humans have sparked numerous ethical debates. Lastly, due to incessant innovation in the internet of things domain, novel technologies are fast catching up. As a serious RFID cons, this poses a considerable threat to the survival of RFID as asset management.

     

  • Does RFID interfere with Wi-Fi?

    RFID depends on wireless broadcasting of signals transmission tags and scanners. So, the Wi-Fi interference in RFID is liable to prevent it from operating effectively. Predominantly, Wi-Fi can pose two issues. First, it can obstruct the data transmission resulting in breaks in the data received. Second, Wi-Fi can interpret the RFID signal in a different manner resulting in misappropriation of the data.  Particularly, Wi-Fi interference can be lethal on the RFID tags with an ultra-high frequency range. This is because Wi-Fi can yield more influence on its higher frequency range. Nevertheless, the semi-passive and passive RFID tags are less susceptible to this threat.  Cross interference is also probable between RFID gadgets and the wireless personal area network like Bluetooth. This happens when there is a sharing of the adjacent or common frequency bands. 

    Active tags that utilise Wi-Fi IEE802.11 standards can experience operational issues alongside a Wi-Fi network containing the same specifications. Moreover, laboratory experiments have displayed that Wi-Fi interference in RFID is possible if both possess common electro-magnetic signatures. This can result in losing of the data in the RFID tag.  Correct installation of RFID is crucial in preventing any Wi-Fi interference. There must be a potent review of the Wi-Fi channels and IP addresses.  Carrying out pilot installation and dual trials to monitor Wi-Fi interference is the key. This can help in ensuring the best practices and specifications to pursue in RFID maintenance. Regular checks in the data receiving computer module can further keep a tab on Wi-Fi interference. 

  • What are the benefits of using RFID in retail?

    As a replacement of the barcode system, RFID is more effective in imparting robust visibility and accountability to retailers in numerous ways. RFID in retail possesses a much higher level of accuracy in counting inventory. This has far reaching implications in the retail segment. The supply chain is the backbone of the retail sector. With super convenience and pinpoint accuracy within the stock counts, retail managers can maintain a constant vigil on their supply chains. Moreover, the breath neck speed of the RFID enabled inventory control elevates the process efficiency. This way, retailers can decrease their labour intensity within the operational functions. This can in turn enhance shipping precision, replenishment alerts and facilitate data for superior insights. Ultimately, the RFID technology unleashes better service standards leading to more customer satisfaction. 

    Indeed, RFID is the pioneer when it comes to facilitating data. This permits retailers to leverage their stores and products. Analytics and quality data ensure that retail merchandises are always in the correct place. Besides, it helps the management to estimate scenarios for the future in a more controlled and accurate fashion. The RFID insights, in this regard, impart KPI-based tracking of performance, actionable suggestions and compliance regulations. Additionally, the ability of RFID to merge the physical and online operations induces an omnichannel marketing potential for retailers. This results in increased products availability and spending lesser time on labour intensive operations. RFID-enabled points of sales within the retail stores encourages a fast check-out times for the customers. To sum up, RFID in retail is a sure-shot way to boost productivity and attain competitive advantage. 

  • How do you fix RFID tags?

    RFID is a very dependable technology in asset tracking and maintenance. But as with all electronic frameworks, it also has certain limitations. Poor fixing of the RFDI tags is the most common reason in them going kaput. The first and foremost thing to take care in fixing RFID tags is the surface. Attaching the RFID tags on the wrong type of surface may result in their poor performance. This implies that a tag that suits a metallic surface cannot operate well from a non-metallic surface. Moreover, twisting, folding or bending the RFID tags can snap the signal link between the tag and the antenna. Always ensure that the tag sits straight on the surface horizontally or vertically. Besides, one must consider that fixing the tags properly to the surfaces is crucial to its performance. Using the wrong rivet, screw or adhesive may result in their detachment from the surfaces. 

    Also, the right orientation and location of the RFID tags will determine whether the antenna can decipher their signals optimally. Powerful electro-magnetic domains and strong Wi-Fi areas may interfere with the signals emanating from the RFID tags. In such situations, the readers are unable to decipher and present the appropriate data. For example, in a construction facility, the efficiency of tags is limited when near to electrical motors and dynamos.  Therefore, the location of the RFID tags must be in recommended environments. Finally, the workforce must recognise the significance of RFID in boosting operations. This can go a long way in fixing RFID tags. 

  • Can an iPhone scan RFID tags?

    The subject of iPhones scanning RFID tags has received a boost. The newer iPhones come with an embedded version-5 technology of New Field Communications (NFC). This technology can read micro-chips and RFID tags. Earlier, the NFC technology was not compatible with the different frequency ranges of the RFID tags. Now, the designers have developed the version-5 technology of NFC in the iPhones to also read data more than 10 cms away. Besides, the signal specifications of both RFID tags and the NFC-5 are similar. RFID tags operate on the basis of ISO/IEC 15693 standard protocols. It is the same protocol that is there in the NFC-5 in iPhones. Thus, the new iPhone does not require any additional contactless interface to communicate with an RFID tag. Additionally, Apple has incorporated a signal carrier frequency of 13.56 MHz in the NFC-5 within the iPhones. This is the same frequency of the signals in the RFID tags. 

    As a result of this development, asset tracking and maintenance become more convenient even on-the-move. Particularly, at the points of transit when quick tracking is required, the iPhone can be very useful. Industries across genres from manufacturing to retail can obtain access to RFID tags with their iPhones. The novel technology opens up newer ways of handling products. Inevitably, this will result in superior provisioning of information with convenient tracking possible in the supply chain. Moreover, logging and initiation for payments transactions will get a boost iPhones scanning RFID tags. Therefore, this sharp amalgamation of the NFC technology with RFID can powerfully promote more innovations in the internet of things (IoT). 

  • How much information can an RFID tag hold?

    Typically, the user memory of the RFID tag stores the data.  The capacity of the RFID tag is at the discretion of the vendor, type and application. Normally, it will contain 4 kb data. In the beginning, tags used to contain only that much memory as required to store the serial number. The basic tags of the license plates have only 96 bits storage capacity. These tags are inexpensive and can also accompany the packaged products in the market. With changing requirements, consumers have started demanding more storage potential of the RFID tags. For example, the airline industry uses a high memory passive tag that can store data up to 8 kb. Generally the passive RFID tag can have a memory capacity between 64 and 1 kb.

    At present, some ultra-high frequency passive tags possess a capacity to store data up to 128 kb. The reading range of the active tags is longer and a costlier than the passive tags. They can track assets within a larger area. So, companies customise their storage ability as per the requirements of their customers. A distinct advantage of the storage capacity of the RFID tags is that they are reliable. This implies that their memory is robust similar to flash memory devices. They can retain data seamlessly for 30 years. Besides, with proper programming, they are stable in their functions. You can also keep your data safe in the RFID tags with access passwords to prevent any unauthorized access. Numerous studies and experiments

  • Can you read multiple tags at once using RFID?

    Fundamentally, a RFID reader can read only a solitary RFID tag at a time. This means that even if more than one tag is transmitting signals, the reader can decipher only one among them. However, some unique algorithms of anti-collisions have made it possible for the reader to communicate to tags in quick succession. This may appear like the reader is communicating with more than one tag because the process happens very briskly. The technical detail of this process is significant. The low frequency passive RFID tag operates at 433 MHz It is 915 MHz for the high frequency and 2.45 MHz for the ultra-high frequency passive tags. The active tags operate at 5.6 GHz. A low frequency RFID tag can transmit less data in a course of time. 

    The passive low frequency tag operating between 125 and 134 KHz would take more time for 100 RFID tags to communicate. The high frequency tags, on the other hand, can communicate with the reader slightly faster. The ultra-high frequency tags operating at a frequency of about 900 MHz will communicate with the reader even faster. The tags have a random number that decreases with each inventory round. The tag that has the number 0 reacts first to the RFID reader. It appears from this that the reader can communicate with multiple tags but only one after the other. Also, within a dense field scenario, the tags need to be in close range to facilitate unhindered communication with the reader. 

  • Can you read RFID tags through glass?

    Digitalization is taking hold. Industrial identification is no different. The number of materials containing chips is increasing. An important part of this process is the data carrier. In order to meet varying requirements and adhere to varying surfaces, labels are needed. RFID scanners that operate behind glass work well. It can read RFID chips embedded in transparent surfaces. There are many possible applications for this RFID scanner. Installing it at the backend surface of a glass platform will yield excellent results. Additionally, they can be put on glass cases and automobile windscreens.  The uniqueness of this scanner lies in the fact that it can read through glass. 

    The range of an RFID scanner behind glass varies. It depends upon the nature of your requirement as well as the area and the number of RFID tags present. A larger scanner has a greater range of transmission. RFID systems communicate via radio waves. Therefore, RFID tags need to be in the scanner’s reading range.  Using it for processing and safeguarding products is an important part of warehouse logistics. Having a radio transponder at the facility will increase its readability distance. As soon as it is configured with the scanner’s settings, it will begin scanning at a distance flawlessly. The system works by making frequent queries of service data.  Furthermore, it can serve as a vigilance system for building and office security. In construction, glass is commonly used, which makes this RFID scanner very useful for tracking assets and maintaining them.

  • Can you use RFID technology around water and metal?

    It can be tricky to mount and embed RFID tags in metal. Antennas placed on metal surfaces interfere with RFID readers due to the reflection of energy from them. In this case, power and information cannot be delivered to the tag. Certain RFID tags, however, will work on metal surfaces. RFID technology companies have developed patented technologies that make it possible for RFID to operate on metal surfaces. RFID equipment that is compatible with metal will not interfere with your data. Hard conditions can affect metal surfaces. Due to this, companies tailor RFID tags to handle harsh conditions. Concrete blocks protect these tags from impacts, extreme temperatures, and moisture. It is possible to attach the concrete tags to metal surfaces in the most versatile way. There are many ways to affix, such as rivets, screws, and adhesives. 

     In the presence of water, RFID technology as well as all other radio technologies is unsuitable. There is no natural conductivity in water. It becomes a partial conductor when salts are dissolved. Underwater communication with radio waves is, therefore, difficult. Still, studies have shown that underwater radio transmission is possible. It depends mainly on two factors. First is the water conductivity; the second is the radio wave frequency. You cannot tinker with the first one but it is possible to modify the radio frequency. In underwater applications, RFID technology can be used in two ways. There are two types of systems, the one operating at 13.56 MHz and the other operating at 125-134 kHz. It is possible to deploy these two solutions to establish an RFID system that operates within an underwater environment.

  • Are RFID tags waterproof?

    An RFID tag can be embedded into or attached to products since it is thin, durable, and small. As a result, they are not much susceptible to water damage.  Specific tags are made to resist water damage. The degree of water resistance of these tags varies with application.  Some tags that are washable can track clothes in the laundry. The case of most of these waterproof tags is soft rubber, making them water- and detergent-resistant. These tags are very flexible. Besides, they have the ability to withstand extreme pressure and successive washing cycles. Garments, clothing, textiles and associated industries can benefit from the unique design and material of these water-resistant tags. 

    Moreover, certain pressure and water-resistant tags can help within the applications of deep-sea. Off-shore oil drilling installations find them quite handy. Additionally, the waterproof tags pose powerful resistance to dust, temperature pressure and shock. For durability, casings around aerials and microchips of these tags are important. The body of the tags have a coating of polymer for resistance durability in water. The polymer consists of cotton, polyester, double-layered polyimide laminated film, PPS+ epoxy and PVC. The back surface possesses hot-melt adhesive for extra flexibility, resistance and softness. Depending on the frequency, the reading range can vary from short to medium reaching up to 20 cm. Alternatively, a longer reading range is also possible up to 5 m. It is significant to note that only the low and high-frequency waterproof tags can emit signals effectively. The tags’ reading range in water setting also varies.

  • What do you mean by long range RFID tags?

    RFID tags that use ultra-wideband signals (UWB) are known as long-range RFID tags. Large warehouses can greatly improve safety and productivity using the long-range active RFID tracking. They tags transmit signals within UWB frequency ranges. The radio frequency spectrum in this range has a high bandwidth, which makes it ideal for high-speed communications. However, it requires very little energy for transmission. Additionally, it poses less of a threat of interfering with radio communications and cell phones. These tags are capable of transmitting large amounts of data quickly thanks to their ultra-wideband signals. In addition, it is resistant to signal interference and jamming. Also, it is reliable even under hostile and busy conditions.

    It is the ability of the UWB to spread out within a large area that makes these long-range RFID tags extremely effective. Having a way to keep track of everyone and the work that they are doing at all times is important for companies with large facilities. An active long-range RFID tag is the best way to do this. Anchoring of the active RFID anchors or readers happens throughout the facility within a mesh network. Activated RFID readers continuously scan for signals from the long-range RFID tags on the employees and equipment. By placing RFID readers around your facility, your tags can send out signals over a large area. The readers pick these signals. With this, you can track the movement of your assets as well as your workforce. It can also help in the creation of activity and usage reports, analytics and spaghetti diagrams for scenario planning.

  • Can you transfer data from RFID tags using Wi-Fi?

    It is possible to transfer data from RFID tags with Wi-Fi. But only the active tags are capable of such a communication. The active RFID tag can transmit signals to a reader. Thereupon, the reader sends the location data into the cloud. Systems that utilise the active RFID can also leverage upon the WiFi for the purpose of data backhaul. But in most cases, this is not necessary. This is due to the fact that that the active tag has a limited infrastructure. You can only set up a smaller area or function that needs the location of the asset and observe before a bigger deployment. Transference of data from the RFID tags through the Wi-Fi has a greater mobility. Hence, it can be very handy for asset locations even on the transit.

    To operate such a tag, a small Wi-Fi radio is necessary. This device transmits the data using the Wi-Fi to several access points within the area or, the premises. Then, these access points utilise the differences in signal strength and time to arrive at the location of a particular asset. Finally, it sends this information to the cloud.  Once the data is in the cloud, any applicable software can retrieve it on mobile devices. Setting up the RFID tag with Wi-Fi is also convenient as it does not require any extra embedded hardware. Additionally, encoding the Wi-Fi infrastructure with data encryption can also enable utmost safety of the assets information. 

  • Can you transfer data from RFID tags using bluetooth?

    Without RFID readers, at present, it is only hypothetically possible to encode the RFID tags utilising Bluetooth. Notwithstanding the fact that such transference of data is possible, it will incur cost. This is because, currently, computers and mobile devices use a transceiver that is unable to perceive the modulations of the RFID tags. To make the tags compatible to the modulations of the transceiver, an induction loop will be necessary. Alternatively, Bluetooth RFID readers can enable the transmission of data by reading the RFID tag to a Bluetooth-enabled gadget. Thus, it is possible to connect Bluetooth technology to the readers to pair them with a tablet, smartphone, or handheld reading device. In this way, you’ll be able to collect and analyze the data in a scalable fashion. Bluetooth readers allow data transfer via Bluetooth in many different ways. 

     

    Typically, the Bluetooth RFID readers are handheld gadgets. For this reason, they come with batteries to eliminate the need for cables.  There are readers with options to conserve battery and extend usage time. Some of these can also facilitate continuous operations for about 20 hours. Each module has a built-in antenna. Furthermore, some of them can connect via USB to mobile devices. They can also scan the barcodes and locate them with GPS. Besides LEDs, they also sound an alarm to let the user know when the reading is complete. These devices are also lightweight and compact, allowing for one-handed operation and carrying. In addition to LCD touchscreens, these devices have IC/SD, audio output and keypads. Overall, they are sleek, compatible and easy to use.

  • What is the use of RFID in schools?

    Besides asset management, the RFID in schools can record data and information about the students and the staffs alike. The student information system must manually enter each update without an automated RFID solution. Embedding the student ID with an RFID tag can be an innovative way to track the whereabouts of each student. By placing the RFID antennas at strategic locations, asset management, students and staff tracking will be seamless. RFID technology will generate the location data and communicate instantly with the centralised information system in the schools. This can be a great way to ensure discipline among the students. 

    Normally, schools have a large number of tangible as well as intangible assets. RFID can instantly increase the visibility of these assets facilitating quick access to them. Besides, it can help in inventory of the assets and in turn, aid in their able maintenance. Also, RFID solutions can enhance the library experience for all library users in addition to taking attendance of students. Embedding RFID tags in the books will make the transaction of library books very convenient. Moreover, RFID tracking for the restricted areas within the school premises can induce safety, security and discipline. RFIDs on the school buses can be a very efficient way to track the safe return of the students to their homes. Additionally, school canteens can benefit a lot with the technology. Payments can be done digitally and quickly while ensuring that there is no rush there at any point of time. In short, RFID can be great way to ensure superior outcomes for both the students and the school management.

  • How can we track vehicles using RFID?

    RFID tracking of vehicles can not only locate them precisely but also prompt to deny or allow them access. This can render an enhanced security to a parking lot or a building. Based on requirements, it is necessary to determine correctly the location for RFID set up on the vehicle. It will also be important to determine the angle at which the tag obtains the best reading rates. 

    Smart vehicle tracking and checking framework can eliminate the troubles of the manual system prevalent in most domains. It can also eliminate the wastage of time that takes place in a manual tracking process. Also, RFID embedded vehicles can in no way escape checks. 

     

    By placing the RF detectors at regular intervals on the roads, tracking of vehicles can be a smooth process. The RF detector consists of the set of the RFID reader with the antenna. Contemporary readers can track an RFID tag that is even 100 m away.  When the vehicle is within the area of the RFID detection, the reader will read the RFID tag. It will do this by scanning the RFID tag on the vehicle. The data from the tag goes to the computing module. The computing module can then validate the ID of the vehicle along with all its records and certificate validations.  Upon the detection of any invalid or misplaced facts about the vehicle, the framework will duly notify the department. This automated vehicle checking framework can make drivers more accountable. Consequently, it can lead to responsible driving and fewer accidents on the road.

  • How can RFID help to boost omnichannel retailing?

    An Omnichannel retail operation takes into account both the in-shop retailing experience as well as the online buying for consumers. When simultaneous retail transactions are taking place both physically and online, the retail management needs to be extremely vigilant. All the operational parameters have to function optimally. RFID technology lets you view sales data in real-time. It will notify everyone within your company as soon as the transaction occurs. You can improve customer satisfaction by anticipating the needs of your customers and responding to their requests as quickly as possible. When all employees comply with the RFID framework, a smoother and more efficient retail experience follows. Your customers enjoy a positive experience no matter whether they buy online or in person.

     

    The omnichannel retailing is about maintaining a uniform presence across the physical and online platforms with uniform products and service. You instantly transfer data across all platforms when you scan the RFID tag of a product. Retail inventory management and management decision-making can benefit from this information. Keeping your fulfilment centre informed of current inventory information is critical for keeping your fulfilment team on top of things. Moreover, this will acquaint your customer with the products that are currently in stock. Furthermore, RFID systems help you to establish a quality benchmark across the platforms. The uniform process provides a standardized workflow, saving both money and time. Thus, incorporating the handheld RFID scanning devices for day to day retail operations will distribute the outcomes across your retail organisation.

  • What is the use of RFID in road transportation?

    As part of the RFID framework for road transportation, there are RFID tags on the vehicles and the roads. The RFID tags are capable of gathering a lot of information about lane positions and driving patterns of vehicles. Also, it will provide information about traffic conditions on the road and estimated vehicle distances. Furthermore, RFID can alert traffic control when traffic signs and lights don’t work. Patrol systems and traffic cameras do not always provide optimal surveillance. An RFID reader collects and transmits information from the unmanned patrolling system to an on-board patrolling device (OBP). Traffic control officers observe the OBP for actions. Based on the information received, the OBP determines whether there was any driving violation. The OBP can prompt violations such as not stopping at checkpoints, speeding and passing and/or turning violations on the road.

    Additionally, the RFID tags will inform drivers about lane regulations, speed limits, traffic directions and other such events. As a system that can support driverless vehicles, the RFID system on Roads is quite useful.  With RFID tags, you can program, scale, deploy, and redeploy tags in a variety of ways. The system can thus, assist with systems like access regulation, parking, traffic signs and navigation. navigation, traffic signs, parking, access control, and distance estimation. Also, the ability of RFID to estimate distances can be crucial for drivers who often drive on the faster lanes. The use of RFID can help drivers maintain a safe distance from passing vehicles in real-time. Surely, the RFID technology can revolutionise the future of road transportation.

  • How RFID tags are used in Airports?

    A new set of possibilities opens up when it comes to RFID in the airline industry. RF wireless signals can pass through, behind, under, inside and around objects to access the RFID tag. This technology can also facilitate instant data transfers. This makes the data assessment and decision-making quicker. Moreover, it can quicken airline operations within its baggage and cargo handling and ground service areas. In addition, RFID tags attached to the badges of airline personnel can help tighten security. It can improve airline control operations in a myriad of ways. For example, the technology can aid in a comprehensive inspection of even the life vests under the seats. RFID for airlines can also prompt when the oxygen generators are nearing their expiry dates. Alternatively, it can send signals to inform about the correct seals on the catering vents and medical kits. 

    The RFID in ticketing and boarding can ease the regular ruckus at the security gates in the airports worldwide. The engineering and maintenance functions rely on serial numbers. These items provide a way for them to track installations at particular locations inside the aircraft. RFID can correctly, conveniently and quickly detect the serial number. This eliminates the possibility of any human error. The air traffic controller can keep a regular vigil on the in-aircraft assets through such RFID tracking. This way, the RFID tags can pre-empt decisions in this regard thereby contributing hugely to aircraft safety. Apart from the security and passenger safety perspective, this also contributes to the efficient maintenance of the aircraft.

  • Can you implant an RFID chip in humans?

    In 1998, British scientist Kevin Warwick became the first human to be implanted with an RFID microchip. A chip implanted in him emitted signals. A computer could then track Warwick’s movements throughout the University’s offices and halls.  With just a touch of a button, he controlled lights, heaters, doors and other such devices. You might be able to store a lot of information with an RFID chip inside you in the future.  At security checkpoints, you may be able to transmit information about your identity. It can also make using public transportation more convenient. Besides, it can reduce long lines for you at the supermarket. Also, within a situation of a medical emergency, doctors will know every bit of your medical data simply by scanning the chip.

     

    Evidently, we haven’t reached that point yet. There is no way to store more than one unique ID using near-field communication (NFC) technology, the more sophisticated form of RFID. This implies that the implanted chip can prompt only a solitary action at a time. RFID implants are not temporary tattoos, so before you order, there are a few things to consider. It is difficult to remove. This remains the most concerning issue regarding these chips. Who will implant it? What are the health risks? Is there a way to get rid of it? Several major questions surrounding this technology remain unanswered. Overall, the technology looks promising. A safe conclusion can be that more R&D and innovative endeavours will lend promising dimensions to the chips to benefit mankind.

  • Can you install an RFID scanner in glass?

    The digital revolution is advancing. The same goes for industrial identification. Chips now appear in an increasing number of materials. A data carrier plays a crucial role in this process. There is a need for labels that can adhere to different surfaces and can meet varying requirements. A unique RFID scanner for glass surfaces operates well from behind the glass. It is capable of reading RFID chips within transparent surfaces. This RFID scanner has a wide range of possible applications. You can put it on the back surface of glass windows 6 mm thick. You can also attach it to windscreens, sunroofs, DVD cases and transparent plastic surfaces. Its reading ability through the glass is what makes this scanner unique. The distinctive feature of this RFID scanner is its ability to read through the glass. 

    RFID scanners behind glass have variable transmitting ranges. Larger scanners have a greater transmission range. RFID technology utilises radio waves for communication. Thus, the RFID tags should be within the reading spectrum of the scanner.  It is a useful tool within warehouse logistics to process and safeguard products. To increase its readability distance, a radio transponder can be a good addition to the facility. Setting it up with the configurations of the scanner will start reading at distances seamlessly. It works on the principle of querying service data within set intervals.  It can also act as a vigilance framework in buildings and offices. Since glass is common in construction, this RFID scanner can be of great significance in asset tracking and maintenance.

  • How does RFID technology work?

    RFID stands for Radio-frequency Identification, a technology in which digital data is encoded in radiofrequency radiations. RFID is utilized in many sectors, including inventory management, Healthcare, transportation, etc. RFID uses three components.

    1. An RFID tag or label
    2. RFID Reader
    3. RFID Antenna

    An RFID tag consists of an integrated circuit and transmitter antenna which emits radiofrequency waves of a particular frequency. These radiations consist of the data which are intended to be transferred. The RFID reader consists of a receiver and an integrated circuit. This receiver, called the RFID antenna, accepts the radio waves transmitted from the tag, and the integrated circuit decodes the data from the waves. The RFID reader is integrated into a database through a computer system. The data decoded from the waves are stored in the database for processing.

    The components used in an RFID tag differ from the type of tags used. Tags are of two types active and passive tags. Active RFID tags consist of an internal battery for powering the tag. The waves are also transmitted utilizing the power from this battery. In comparison, a passive RFID tag does not have a battery. Instead, it uses the energy from the reader and only activates when it is near the reader.

  • Is an RFID tag the same as a fast tag?

    FASTag is one of the applications of RFID technology in the transportation sector. It is a flagship initiative of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) developed for toll collection at national highways across India. The implementation of FASTag helped the authorities to reduce the long waiting time vehicles have to face in toll booths. It also made toll collection more systematic using RFID as FASTag.

    FASTag is a sticker consisting of an RFID tag/label glued to the windscreen of vehicles. FASTag uses a passive RFID tag; these tags do not have their battery. The tag gets activated only when the beam from the reader strikes the tag. The FASTag RFID readers at Toll plazas read the radio signals from these tags and authenticate the vehicles for smooth passage at Highways. Since the FASTag is linked with an account precharged with money, the desired toll amount is deducted automatically. This process is done within seconds without even stopping the vehicle in the toll booth or the toll operator getting in contact with the tag. All these tasks are easily automated using the advantage of RFID.

  • Can I use my mobile phone to read RFID?

    If you want to use the phone as your RFID card, you must ensure that your phone comes with a built-in NFC (Near Field Communication) device. The good news is all modern-day smartphones have NFC readers built-in.

    NFC has evolved from RFID technology. It enables digital payments through phones. NFC allows phones, tablets, computers to share data with any other NFC-enabled device in the vicinity. The NFC works within a distance of 4 inches, and the RFID reader can read up to a distance of 2 meters. There are certain restrictions on the type of tags a smartphone can read. NFC-enabled devices can read-only NFC tags and passive high-frequency RFID tags. An external reader should be integrated with the mobile device to read other types of tags or long-range tags. The use of NFC helps companies and businesses to utilize many advantages of RFID without investing in external readers. They can be used for contactless authentication for secure access control as well as for multi-factor authentication. An NFC-enabled device can act as a trusted device for authenticating transactions and an extra level of security for accessing secure data.

    Devices without NFC enabled can also read RFID tags, but the RFID tags should be equipped with BlueTooth or WIFI to make it possible.

  • Is RFID yard Management useful?

    The RFID yard management system has rapidly evolved in recent days. It is a real-time tool that helps businesses to easily manage their warehouses by automating stock counting, tracking, and management. Using an efficient yard management system offers the visibility of real-time information, helps to track products, and reduces losses caused due to misplacement or theft. Warehouses have thousands of assets or inventories shipped from one location to another. RFID tags glued to the assets help the inventory managers track the movement of assets from the warehouse to the distribution networks. Definitely, RFID yard management is useful as it eliminates manual labor and ensures efficiency in yard management.

    Advantages of RFID Yard Management System:

    • Increases accuracy: Due to the lack of human intervention in all the processes, there are minimal errors in the data recorded.
    • Boost efficiency: Due to the automation of all the time-consuming processes, the efficiency of the overall system will be increased.
    • Efficient management of labor force: Use of RFID helps businesses to analyze employee behavior and to reduce the wastage of time.
    • Improving workplace safety: RFID helps to identify potential threats to workplace safety and also redirects the warehouse workflow to reduce workplace accidents.

    The RFID yard management operates in 3 steps:

    1. All assets are tagged with RFID labels
    2. RFID Readers installed at strategic locations like Gates, Entrance, Exit Points scan these tags
    3. Asset movement tracking enables both the sender and receiver to track the exact location of the asset during transit.
  • What are the problems associated with RFID?

    Various disadvantages of RFID do prevail. Important ones are:

    1. A Universal Standard for RFID is Not Yet Agreed Upon: Across the world, different organizations employ different RFID standards, causing inconvenience to end-users.
    2. Disrupting RFID Signals is easy as it relies on electromagnetic waves: Disruption causes inconvenience to customers at retail stores. Also, In hospitals and military areas, they can prove disastrous.
    3. RFID Reader Collision: Signals from multiple readers can overlap in a particular area. Thus tags may fail to respond correctly to multiple queries.
    4. RFID Tag Collision: When multiple RFID tags exist in a small area, tag collisions are common. But mechanisms to make one tag respond at a time can be implemented easily.
    5. RFID Security and Ethical issues: RFIDs with unique serial numbers can be used to steal credit card information, causing security issues; RFIDs can be read from a long distance using powerful antennas, resulting in privacy issues; Also, RFID tags can be read without you noticing it. All these issues bring in security, privacy, and ethical problems.

    Cost: RFID tags are costly when compared with similar technologies. This investment that should be made to implement RFID is high. But the return for this investment is high, which nullifies the cost.

  • What are RFID tags?

    RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. RFID tags utilize Radiofrequency technology. In simple words, Radio waves transmit data from RFID tags to RFID readers and then to computer software to store it in a database on a host computer. An RFID tag consists of a transmitter that emits radio frequency waves. These waves consist of the data which is decoded by the antenna present in the RFID reader. 

    RFID tags act as a portable data storage medium that has the capability to transfer data wirelessly. They are used in a wide variety of applications in different sectors. 

    RFID tags are of two types: Active tags and Passive tags. An active RFID tag uses battery-powered sensors to emit continuous radiofrequency waves. They are used in applications that require continuous emission of waves such as asset tracking, tolling, etc. Active RFID tags also support a much longer scanning range. A passive RFID tag does not have a battery source; hence they use power from the reader. They are used more commonly in file tracking, access control, race timings, etc. Passive RFID tags are cheaper when compared to their active counterparts. Though RFID tags are predominantly used for tracking merchandise, they are also used to track vehicles, pets, and patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • What are the main differences between active and passive RFID tags?

    Two Types of RFID tags are Active and Passive Tags. Active tags are also called battery-operated RFID tags. They have an onboard battery for the power supply. Whereas the passive tags do not have an internal battery power source; instead, they rely on electromagnetic energy transmitted by RFID readers.

    Active RFID tags operate with only two frequency bands: 433 MHz or 915 MHz. The Passive RFID tags transmit information using three frequency bands: 125 to 134 kHz (Low Frequency), 13.56 MHz (High Frequency), and Near Field Communication (NFC) with 865 to 960 MHz (Ultra High Frequency). Active tags are expensive compared to passive tags. Passive tags are easy to embed, whereas active tags are bulkier, and embedding is difficult. Active tags have a lifespan of 3-5 years, whereas passive tags have an indefinite life span. Passive RFID tags have a range of about 15 meters, whereas active RFID tags support up to 150 meters. Passive RFID tags are mainly used in industries like Healthcare, manufacturing, retail, etc., whereas Active tags are used in oil, gas, construction, mining, etc.

  • What is the readability range of an active RFID tag?

    The readability range of RFID tags is determined based on two factors:

    1. The frequency of operation – Since RFID uses electromagnetic waves for the transfer of data, the range of the RFID tags is related to the frequency of the waves radiated. The higher the frequency of the wave, the shorter will be the range of the tag and vise-versa
    2. The Type of Antenna used – Different RFID tags equips antennas made of different materials. Each material has its own characteristics and transmits different frequencies with different ranges.

    Here is a snapshot of the readability range of RFID based on these two parameters:

    Low Frequency (LF) RFID tags – It has a frequency range of 125 kHz to 134 kHz, this type of tags uses Induction Coil on a Ferrite Core antenna for transmission; It has a range of about 3 to 5 feet.

    High-Frequency RFID tags – High-frequency RFID tags radiate waves with a frequency of 13.56 MHz; they use antennas made up of induction coil with 3 to 9 turns. High-frequency RFID tags have a range of 1 to 5 feet.

    Very High-Frequency RFID tags – These tags operate in the 433MHz frequency, which has a range of 1 to 1000 feet.

    Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) RFID tags – UHF RFID tags operate in a frequency range of 860-960 MHz and have a range of 1 to 30 feet.

    Microwave Frequency RFID tags – They operate in the frequency range of 2.4 to 5.4 GHz and have a range of 1-300 feet.

  • What are the uses of RFID readers?

    RFID card readers are devices that receive electromagnetic radiation from an RFID tag and decode the information from them. RFID cards readers are widely used in industries where RFID tags are used in the form of cards. These are some of the Important ones are:

    • Asset/Inventory Tracking
    • Location Tracking
    • Container Tracking
    • Access Control
    • Animal Tagging
    • Inventory Control
    • Car Immobilizer
    • Container Rail Car
    • Auto Toll Roads
    • Pallet Level Tracking
    • Race Timing
    • Attendee Tracking
    • Tool Tracking
    • Self-serve Kiosks
    • Library systems
    • Real-time Location Systems (RTLS)
  • Can I update my existing barcode systems to an RFID system?

    Barcode Vs. RFID dilemma often haunts you. Many of you have the misconception that barcodes are synonyms to RFID. But it is not so. You can always upgrade from paper/polyester-based barcodes to RFID labels. Here are important upgrades you have to consider while moving a barcode system to an RFID system:

    1. Change Labels to RFID Smart Labels comprising embedded IC and Antenna.
    2. Upgrade Barcode Printers to RFID printers by purchasing an RFID upgrade kit.
    3. Upgrade Handheld Barcode scanners to RFID version by using RFID snap-on attachments.

    Upgrade the Software by installing RFID Middleware which acts as a bridge between RFID readers and Enterprise applications

  • Is RFID prone to hacking?

    RFID is also susceptible to hacking. RFID is prone to common types of intrusions like reverse engineering attacks, power analysis, eavesdropping & replay, sniffing, denial of service attacks, cloning & spoofing, and viruses.

    Reverse engineering can be used to learn about RFID tags and readers. Hackers can dismantle the chip to gain access to the data from IC. Having said this, hackers need an in-depth understanding of protocols to carry out reverse-engineering attacks. 

    A power analysis attack is launched by monitoring the power consumption levels of the RFID tags. Eavesdropping is launched by an unauthorized RFID reader listening to the signals from the tags. Eavesdropping requires a complete understanding of the underlying protocols. In Sniffing, an interceptor reads the signals transmitted between legitimate tags and readers and manipulates them and retransmits them. Denial of Service attacks is launched by physical means by jamming the setup through interference, radio signal blocking or disabling RFID tags. Cloning and Spoofing work in tandem. With cloning, the pre-existing tag data is duplicated, and the same data is employed to gain access to secured items through spoofing. Though current RFID tags do not have sufficient memory for viruses to reside in the future, RFID tags are vulnerable to virus attacks.

    The important point is that though RFID is susceptible to hacking, it needs expansive domain knowledge and complex devices. Though RFID is prone to hacking, unlike other electronic devices, it is more secure. Moreover, future attacks on RFID systems can be mitigated through encryption techniques, chip-coating, authentication, and filtering methods.

  • How can RFID be implemented in a warehouse?

    RFID Warehouse Inventory Management through. It is implemented in a warehouse using the following infrastructure:

    1. Handheld computers
    2. Fixed scanners
    3. Mobile readers
    4. Tags
    5. Antennas

    The working of RFID warehouse inventory management has three simple steps:

    1. Firstly, RFID chips are embedded in the Inventory products.
    2. Further, the moving inventory packages are tracked by RFID scanners installed at strategic places.
    3. The combination of RFID chips and scanners help in tracking, monitoring and supplying assets efficiently in the supply chain. 

    Thus, the cost of involving manual labour to track goods is eliminated, and also the accuracy of the inventory management process is enhanced. With the advent of an improvised sensitivity RFID system, the tags installed deep within carton boxes can also be tracked and programmed instantly with a unique product code. Importantly such RFID tags can be tracked from a conveyor moving at 500 and 600 feet per minute. Also, the system can precisely track the quantity and type of equipment present within the containers. If an extra item is present or is missing from the container boxes, it can immediately be detected with the RFID based inventory management system.  

    RFID tags needn’t be in the line of sight and are not blocked by metals or water, enabling the RFID inventory system to be robust than barcode-based systems. These systems enable verifying the goods without having to open the container boxes. Automated tracking ensures better customer satisfaction. The inventory visibility in the supply chain is enhanced with the RFID system. Improved longevity and minimal damage to the inventory. Threat vulnerabilities are minimized, and invoice processing hurdles are mitigated.

  • What is the average cost of an RFID reader?

    Here is a simple cost analysis of RFID readers and RFID tags

    RFID Tags are available in three bands:

    Basic passive RFID: 10 Cents per unit (USD), it is suitable for paper, non-metal or liquid assets  

    Metal passive RFID: $1.50 per unit (USD) suitable for metal assets like servers installed in IT data centres.

    Active RFID: $15-$20 per unit (USD), suitable for automated inventory management systems as it has a 100% read rate. They are referred to as powered tags emitting their signals every 30 seconds duration.  

    RFID tag Readers are available in various price ranges. the price range of different types of readers:

    Fixed Reader

    $1500 (USD)

    Power Supply and Cable

    $100

    2X antenna

    $300

    2X antenna cable

    $200

    Total

    $2000

    Hand-Held Reader

    $2500- $4000 (USD)

    Hand-Held Reader SLED

    $1500- $2000

    Charging appartus

    $300

    Another Cost Estimation Figures for RFID readers

    1. Low-frequency RFID readers that can be embedded in other devices cost around $100.
    2. Fully functional standalone modules of low-frequency RFID readers cost $750.
    3. High-Frequency Reader modules are in the range of $ 200 to $300.
    4. Fully functional standalone modules of high-frequency RFID readers typically cost $500.

    The Return On Investment (ROI) of RFID infrastructure is determined based on the type of applications you have in hand. A simple rule of thumb is: 

    • For real-time data and costly labour, applications choose active RFID equipment
    • To use non-real-time data with cheap labour, use passive RFID equipment.
  • Do Amazon and Walmart use RFID technology?

    Often you have questions such as which are the companies that use RFID technologyRFID is already a proven technology in the retail sector. As the demand for self-checkout counters is increasing for providing a better customer experience at retail outlets. As customers are unwilling to spend unproductive time at long queues at checkout counters, Self-checkout kiosks with RFID technology are gaining popularity. So, major retail players like Amazon and Walmart are increasingly adopting RFID technology. 

    The Research and Development team has developed Amazon RFID tags in their Amazon Go products to give a better customer experience through self-checkout methods. The Amazon Go works similar to Anti-Theft RFID tags at Clothes outlets. The only difference is at clothing outlets, RFID tags raise the alarm when a stolen cloth passes through the sensor, and in the case of Amazon GO, an item is added to the cart when scanned by the sensor.

    Though Walmart started using RFID technology in 2003, it took a major stride in the year 2010 by tracking all its inventories through RFID technology. Currently, Walmart tracks even the shop floor through RFID technology. As a result, Walmart is one of the retail chains to quickly recognize customers’ dissatisfaction with inaccurate stock numbers and boost its RFID technology infrastructure to provide enhanced supply chain visibility. 

    The journey of Walmart in adopting RFID technology had many challenges like:

    1. Bottlenecks in RFID tag purchasing
    2. Challenge of acceptable read rates
    3. Problems with poor quality adhesives
    4. High Tag costs

    Today Walmart has a well-structured RFID technology infrastructure enabling its retail services.

  • What are the advantages of using RFID tags?

    Often you have questions like What are RFID and its advantages? RFID offers a wide array of advantages. Salient ones are listed here:

    1. Automation of entire inventory tracking is possible.
    2. RFID tags can be scanned in the absence of line-of-sight.
    3. RFID tags enable asset tracking and human resource tracking and thus ensures better supply chain management.
    4. Assets or inventory can be cross-referenced. This helps to assign status to the assets as missing, found, or relocated.
    5. Passive UHF RFID technology can read from a distance of 20 feet to 40 feet, and active tags can be detected from 100 feet.
    6. RFID tags can uniquely identify each asset or inventory.
    7. RFID tags available within a range can be easily detected and compared with the data in the database.
    8. RFID tags help to minimize human intervention in asset management.
    9. Item-by-item scanning is not needed with RFID as multiple scans are supported.
    10. The human error factor is mitigated as the process is automated.
    11. Paper-based documentation and recording are eliminated.
    12. RFID enables manufacturers to manage inventory of future supply chains, planning, or equipment.
    13. A Majority of RFID tags have both READ and WRITE capabilities.
    14. RFID readers can read multiple tags simultaneously and offers increase efficiency.

    Overall, RFID technology as a whole offers a wide array of benefits in Inventory management and asset tracking, Save time and money with automation, improved data accuracy and availability, enhanced health and safety, better production control, enhanced quality and traceability. However, one limitation is few metals and liquids can interfere with Radio Frequency and hinder RFID operations.

  • How does RFID asset tracking work?

    Asset Tracking System has transformed the way Manufacturing, Healthcare, Logistics, and Retail sectors operate. The RFID asset tracking has enabled all these sectors to realize full potential as the go-to technology. Asset management involves managing various types like stock, tools, IT devices, vehicles, or even employees. 

    RFID asset tracking in its simple form works in these steps by putting RFID tags and RFID readers to action:

    • RFID tags are embedded with the asset information like name, condition, amount, and location
    • Next, the tags are attached to assets emitting radio waves continuously. 
    • Furthermore, these radio waves are captured and stored in a sophisticated asset tracking system with the help of RFID readers. 
    • Thus, RFID tags and readers together facilitate autonomous tracking and management of assets in a warehouse.
    • Importantly, in an asset tracking system, unique digital asset profiles are linked with physical tags.
    • Connecting digital asset profiles to physical counterparts enable customized control over asset management operations.

    Two types of RFID asset tracking systems are commonly in use: 

    1. Handheld RFID reader-based system

    These systems provide features like fast auditing, hiding tags, and distance scanning methods. 

          2. Fixed RFID asset management system

    Supports complete automation of your existing asset tracking systems.  

    RFID asset management automates the entire process of tracking and monitoring inventory. It brings to the table various advantages. Salient ones are:

    • Simultaneous multiple asset tracking 
    • Minimizing or eliminating human intervention
    • Real-time data collection
    • Enhanced inventory accuracy

    A simple answer to the question: How does RFID asset tracking work? Is: “the symphony of RFID tags and RFID readers make this possible.”

  • How does RFID location tracking work?

    Active tags and Passive tags are the two types of RFID tags. These two tags have different use cases or applications. 

    The passive tags are predominantly used in common applications like employee identity cards, retail inventory security, payment terminals and animal tracking. 

    The Passive RFID works by using high-power readers that communicate low-frequency high power RF signals to battery-free tags. Moreover, the antenna embedded in the tag is stimulated by the signal originating from the readers. Passive tags are inexpensive and are available for $010 to $0.50 each.

    Active tags are battery operated that broadcast their identity to various access points or readers. The access points transfer the location of each tagged device to the gateway. Moreover, the active tags have a wider range; they can communicate to a distance of 100 meters range. Thus, active RFID systems have the potential to be scalable up to a range of 10,000 square feet. Active tags are a little expensive and are available for $5-$15 each. The battery embedded in active tags has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. The active tags are not rugged and usable in hostile conditions, but the passive tags can withstand any conditions.

    RFID location tracking is implemented using Active RFID tags. Active tags are embedded with the battery, and they continuously advertise their identity to various access points or readers. Further, the access points transfer the information about the location of each tagged item to the gateways. 

    So, if you have a question, can RFID track location? The answer is yes.

  • Do RFID chips contain GPS?

    No, RFID chips on their own do not contain GPS. 

    RFID chips comprise an Integrated Circuit, Antenna and Battery (In case of Active tags). The RFID transponder receives signals from a reader on the earth and sends them back to that reader. An active RFID technology employs a UHF band on the RF spectrum (operational at 433 MHz to 900 MHz). They range 100 meters and are used in various applications like auto manufacturing, IT asset management, and remote monitoring.

    On the other hand, GPS or Global Positioning System comprise a signal processor to receive low power signals from satellites and calculate positioning. Currently, GPS chips can receive signals from 4 or more of 27 GPS satellites revolving around the earth. A GPS device calculates its position using the time taken for the signals to travel from each of the four satellites. Two types of GPS are Cellular GPS and Satellite GPS.

    Here is a comparative table on features of RFID, Cellular GPS and Satellite GPS

    Characteristics

    RFID

    Cellular GPS

    Satellite GPS

    Range of Communication

    Short-range

    Long-range

    Very long range

    Power supply

    Battery operated

    Battery Operated

    Battery Operated

    Per Tag Cost

    $5 to $15

    Typically $100

    Typically $300

    Tag size

    Dependent on application

    Medium-sized

    Large Sized

    Best Applicability

    Within a Building or Area

    A geographical area located within cellular networks

    Tracking transoceanic shipments of high-value assets 

    Industrial Applications

    Healthcare, IT infrastructure, Manufacturing, Construction etc.

    Oil and gas industry, tracking mobile assets

    Oil and gas industry, Freights 

    Having said this, RFID and GPS are different technologies that can be combined for various applications. As a result, many manufacturers are coming up with RFID GPS tracking chips to leverage the features of both technologies.

  • Is RFID harmful to the environment?

    The use of use and throw plastics, and their effects on the environment are widely discussed, and many countries have banned on use and throw of plastic materials. The discussion amongst environmentalists is to ensure the use of only recyclable plastics. The use of RFID as technology and its impact on the environment has to be viewed from two perspectives:

    1. The RFID radiations and its impact on living creatures

    Researchers have found that RFID radiations are absorbed by human cells, predominantly made of water molecules. The rate at which human cells absorb these radiations is known as the specific absorption rate (SAR). In addition, UHF reader systems are known to create RF energy absorptions that can impact the human body when present in high densities or close proximities.

    2. The Plastic material used in manufacturing RFID tags  

    RFID technology uses tags that are made of a type of plastic called polyethene terephthalate or PET. This plastic is recyclable. Also, the metal antenna present within the tags is recyclable.

    Even though RFID tags are made of components that can cause harm to the environment, using systematic recycling strategies of sorting out such recyclable components can ensure RFID technology is not harmful to the environment. Thus, RFID recycling is an important issue to be given importance by all RFID technology users from sustainability.

    In a nutshell, RFID technology as a whole and the RFID tags made of plastic have to be used judiciously. Moreover, it has to be recycled systematically to ensure environmental hazards are nullified.

  • How can hospitals use RFID to keep track of patients?

    Hospitals and the Healthcare industry have embraced RFID technology due to the need to manage a plethora of applications, inventory, and procedures. 

    RFID technology has a wide array of applications in the healthcare industry. 

    1. A prominent application is tracking and monitoring patients.
    2. The RFID tag is girded around the wrist of the patients and has various applications like:
      1. Tracking patient name, medical record, allergies
      2. The history of patients available in the RFID tags helps doctors to prepare for surgery.
      3. Patients having memory problems can be easily traced in the hospital premises if they are lost.
    3. Equipment tracking and vehicle tracking are important at hospitals, and this can be effectively managed by RFID based tracking system.
    4. Medicine and Pharmaceutical tracking
    5. Surgical tools tracking
    6. Large equipment/Asset tracking
    7. Laundry tracking
    8. Ensuring better security systems 

    In a nutshell to make sure patient workflow is organized so that admission, treatment, surgery and post-operative procedures are streamlined through RFID systems in hospitals. RFID enables a comprehensive three-dimensional approach to patient tracking, maintenance of historical data, equipment tracking, and medicinal monitoring is accomplished. Most importantly, healthcare assets are expensive, and it is an absolute need for the management to systematically monitor expensive surgical equipment and other assets. RFID technology can simplify healthcare asset management and ensures quality; the hassle-free process is in place.  

    So, RFID patient tracking is one of the important applications of RFID technology in the healthcare industry, along with asset tracking, surgical instruments tracking, laundry tracking, pharma tracking etc.

  • Will companies use RFID technology to track what customers buy?

    Leaving behind Bluetooth & barcoding, RFID technology has more features to help companies perceive customers and buying trends. The biggest benefit in this regard which a company gets is from the programmable RFID tags. It is common to see customers check various items even if they do not buy them eventually. The sensors in these tags transmit information about the number of times customers have touched the products. Most importantly, it also renders data about the waiting time of the customers near them. These two pieces of information can help organisations immensely in tracking what customers prefer and eventually buy. Therefore, it will be an understatement to proclaim that RFID can help businesses grasp consumer behaviour better. 

    Globally, there has been an increasing trend towards the adoption of RFID. Many companies now have recognised their importance. They have seen the immense cost benefits of RFID in their business planning. They realise that even after spending millions on primary & secondary consumer researches, the results are not satisfactory.  Instead, just tagging their products with RFID can fetch them valuable first-hand data about the way customers behave. This will aid companies to fast track and prioritize their inventory related to certain products that are high in demand. Moreover, all this will happen in real-time implying immediate data conversion for companies to work with. Also, the data that is imparted is highly customer-centric. Ultimately, it is high time that companies realise the innumerable benefits and switch over to the novel RFID technology.

  • Will inventory control improve my business?

    Contemporary organisations realise that a precise assessment of their inventory is crucial to their eventual profit margin. It has a direct bearing on the pricing model of the organisation. Robust inventory control can enhance almost all the business functions and possess innumerable advantages for the organisation. Firstly, it aids in forward-planning to help the company operate within the budget. Based on the market trends and consumer behaviour, companies can plan the availability of their products. Here, planning assesses the inventory data and can foresee inventory reordering. Secondly, it increases customer satisfaction and services. This is because when customers enquire, the manufacturer can identify the availabilities quickly. In turn, customers get a superior impression of the service that they are getting leading to more business.  

    Most importantly, potent inventory management can regulate operational and business expenses thus, increasing the profit margin. Precision in inventory control will inevitably eliminate errors within the supply chain. This can lead to companies adjusting costs for further gains. Besides, it is a very significant indicator in measuring business efforts. The number of stocks, in the inventory, can prompt marketing decisions by indicating which products require more marketing endeavours. Finally, inventory control can aid in elevating the overall efficiency of the manufacturer. Employees will have ample time in spending on a more productive issue rather than on stock management. Signals and warnings will help them know the stock levels at any given point in time. Hence, it is quite cognitive for modern companies to switch to automated inventory management.

  • Is RFID used in hospitals?

    The paradigm of medical care has everything to gain from employing RFID medical solutions within their facilities. In this regard, it will be naive to ignore their immense contribution to clinical functions in a systematic manner. The RFID band on the patient’s wrist can automate the recording of all the relevant patient information. Besides efficient tracking of the patient, the band can help doctors know the cyclical development of the patient’s medical condition. This can prompt better diagnosis and ultimately superior outcomes for the patients. Moreover, the clinical responsive characteristics of RFID have a bearing on the care that patients get. The RFID tags on the medical gadgets can help in a timely dispensation of medical care & medicines.

    The second aspect is asset management that is critical to hospitals and medical facilities. In this domain, RFID helps in rendering a structured methodology of disposal, monitoring, maintenance and operations of the assets. RFID tags transmit valuable data about the performance metrics of these assets, operating performance, risks and expenses. Most importantly, they will play a centre stage in the life cycle management of the assets. Also, RFID for asset tracking and tagging will help in the maintenance of stocks and inventory. Particularly, in the current Covid induced pandemic, RFID can precisely inform stock availabilities of vaccines and essential drugs. Automation in this way can help medical facilities. RFID medical solutions can provide significant analytics data right from check-in to check-out. This applies both to the patients and the medical devices & assets that hospitals employ.

  • Why is it necessary to tag kitchen equipment?

    The food service, distribution and manufacturing industries are constantly grappling with high inventories. The regulations of the multiple food safety policies and acts add to their woes. After considering the various best practices in vogue, tagging the kitchen equipment seems the most rewarding solution globally. Tags for the equipment can streamline operations, organise maintenance management as well as ensure customer safety. Apart from this, there are numerous benefits. First, frequent cleaning of kitchen equipment is necessary and as such, a routine procedure across establishments. Tags can stay permanent on the equipment during the cleaning processes. They will not wear away or, vanish with frequent sanitizations & cleaning procedures. Second, a factory or, a warehouse facility must be presentable and clean always. Tags render that highly professional and decorative look for the equipment.

    Tags are also quite effective in tracking the cache of kitchen equipment for inventory and maintenance purposes. This is particularly helpful in establishments that follow strict deadlines in these routine procedures. Also, an establishment with a multi-site facility will immensely gain from this application. It can enjoy the bird’s eye view that it can get from the RFID tagging of its kitchen devices. Furthermore, the food segment possesses a huge supply chain that consists of numerous locations & entities. They, along with the distribution warehouses, can employ customised asset tags on their equipment. Apart from tracking & inventory, this will precisely transmit information about the hazard, safety and protocols. Thus, tagging the kitchen equipment can also help in adhering to the food administration policies and regulations.

  • Can small businesses implement RFID technology?

    RFID can result in greater scalability and market sustainability for both small and large businesses. Based on their business volumes, small entities can particularly gain from the different frequency levels available in the RFID frameworks. The high frequency ranging between 300 MHz & 960 MHz is ideal for large businesses. RFID for small businesses can employ the low frequency ranges between 30 kHz & 500 kHz. Smaller companies with limited resources can regulate their assets & resources allocation more fruitfully with these devices. It can help in estimating costs for the disposal, maintenance and acquiring of assets. Besides, the small enterprises will benefit from better outcomes in their maintenance cycles & asset management. This will, in turn, influence the way they price their products in the market for better profit margins.

    Also, manual tracking can be fraught with human errors. Here, RFID can eliminate the human intervention aspect and automate the supply chain. Furthermore, smaller companies face stiff competition in the market. In this regard, RFID tags ^ readers can be especially beneficial. They can render real-time information about both the customers and the assets of the company. Smaller businesses can analyse this data to process their business strategies as well as for scenario planning. Besides, the RFID system can endorse an accountability culture by tracking the actions of the workforce. Also, it will eliminate labour-intensive operations by automating routine procedures within the company. Therefore, it is pragmatic to assume that RFID for small businesses can promote their sustainable competitive advantage.

  • Is Technowave the right place to buy RFID technology?

    With innovation at its core and a customer-centric mindset, Technowave is the best platform to acquire RFID technology. The company’s state-of-the-art R&D almost entirely devotes its RFID designs as per the needs of contemporary businesses. The range of RFID tags, chips, scanners and readers from Technowave increase the operational efficiency and visibility of assets. The proactive protection and the efficient data dispensation of the company’s devices enhance business productivity. With this, companies can maintain cost-effective conformity to industry & government regulations. Besides, they will help improve the overhaul, repair & maintenance processes thereby reducing capital expenditure. By almost eliminating labour-intensive processes, Technowave RFID solutions will also increase workforce productivity. With automatic inventory management, they will also save a load of time & money resulting in greater business gains.

    Most importantly, Technowave’s RFID technology solutions require minimal monitoring. The company’s multiple tags facilitate unified reading implying that they can be recorded at a single time. The specialized R&D of the company has taken extra care in loading the RFID with delicate sensors. These possess the potential to expedite real-time data on product replenishments and data logging. Also, the technology applied by the company has made their RFID devices extremely accurate for ultimate visibility. The error-free reading of these gadgets from the company will eliminate all forms of manual errors. They can facilitate seamless data management for assets or, stocks, particularly the costly business assets. This way, companies can collate information and quickly plan. Finally, Technowave’s RFID technology suits all businesses whether they are large or, small.

  • What is the readability range of a passive RFID tag?

    A passive RFID tag is available in low, high & ultra-high frequencies. The low-frequency passive tags (125 kHz – 134.3 kHz) have a 1 foot or, 30cms readability distance. A larger tag in the same range can read over a distance of 2 metres. The high-frequency passive tags (13 MHz – 20 MHz) possess readability across 4 feet or, 1.5 metres. Also, using a multi or, a single port reader in this range with custom antennas can extend the readability distance. The best part is that with a single watt output power in the RFID, the readability distance can extend even further. The passive tags with ultra-high frequency (860 MHZ – 960 MHz) can read over a distance of up to 16 metres. Moreover, 4-watt power output on these tags can extend the readability distance by another 5 metres.

    The identification of the passive RFID tag technology is facilitated by the wave or, the frequency that they utilise. The maximum readability distance that they can achieve depends upon a host of factors. First, the reader settings of the system with the operating frequency have a bearing on the readability. Second, the IP rating, size, polarization, centre frequency and antenna type affect the readability. Third, the orientation to the antenna along with the material & thickness of the tag surface also influences the readability. Fourth, the passive RFID solution environment is critical for a turnkey solution to readability. Finally, the attachment mechanism in the form of screw, tape or, adhesive will persuade the readability length greatly.

  • How do museums benefit from RFID?

    RFID offers enchanting and often simple interfaces across digital installations and people. RFID tags for museums improve the visitor’s experience. Besides, they can prevent thefts and monitor artworks optimally. Moreover, the technology can enable robust inventory control and safeguard the treasured possessions of the museums from damages. This will render an automated updating of seller information, storage credentials and price-related information of the art pieces. Additionally, tagging the craftwork and the artefacts in the museum will enable efficient tracking. Also, moving the museum artwork and pieces is indeed cumbersome and poses a risk of damage to them. RFID tags can minimize this possibility by effective tracking and disseminating real-time information about them. This will immensely unload the museum employees from labour-intensive work. They can, instead focus their attention on museum beautification and servicing the visitors efficiently. 

    The modern RFID sensors and the tracking devices have an extended readability distance. Firstly, this can help in detecting the number of visitors to each artwork. This, in turn, will help the museum to prioritize the location and maintenance of its possessions. Secondly, this can immediately prompt any incidence of touching by the visitors. It will inevitably eliminate any chance of damage to the cherished museum assets.  Thirdly, with the RFID solution, the museum can seamlessly induct any new piece of artwork or, painting. Finally, the RFID tags for museums can facilitate up-to-date record keeping. With this, the museum authority will save a lot of time from the cumbersome manual data entry. To sum up, museums will enhance all the aspects of their operations.

  • What is the lifespan of an active RFID tag?

    An active RFID tag can convey its power requirement with a battery. It will then run persistently until the battery runs out. This implies a limited life expectancy duration. It is somewhere in the range of one and three years. The active tags are conjoined to commercial items to follow them through the retail inventory network and the supply chain. RFID labels just need to work while items are in this network, till the point of sales in the outlets. This way, their limited life expectancy duration is perfectly satisfactory. The life expectancy of the active tags relies upon two principal factors – the battery in them and how regularly the tags communicate signals. A few batteries can keep going for a year, while bigger batteries will linger for up to even 10 years. 

    Moreover, users can configure the active tags to communicate their signals one time each second or when 60 minutes. This implies that the appropriate response truly relies upon what sort of battery is utilized. Unlike the passive tags, a dry climate with mid-level temperatures can keep the active tags operational for long. Still, most dealers put a life expectancy of around 10 years on their labels. This is because numerous environmental factors and humidity may influence their readability potential and thus the lifespan. The RFID readers send data to the semi-active tags. The radiation from the reader activates the tag. Upon sending the data again, the semi-active tag automatically switches off its power thus further extending its lifespan. This way, the semi-active tag is even better than the active RFID tag.

  • How do RFID readers work?

    The RFID reader acts as the neuron of the entire RFID framework. It is also known as the interrogator. It receives and transmits the radio waves to facilitate communication with the RFID tags. The reader is classified into two distinct categories- the fixed readers & the mobile readers. The former remains stagnant in a solitary location. The location can be a stationary surface, walls, portals or, desks. The fixed reader has a distinctive subset in the form of an integrated reader. It has an antenna with the facility to conjoin an additional antenna. It is aesthetically pleasing within indoor locations that do not typically have high traffic. Users configure the port of the fixed reader to send & receive data to and from the RFID tags. They are useful in smaller locations.

    The mobile readers, on the other hand, are handheld gadgets. This permits flexibility in reading the RFID tags. This also allows the reader to communicate freely at all locations with a smart device or, a computer. These readers can use an auxiliary or, a Bluetooth connection to facilitate signal transmission. The computing device is more efficient in transmitting signals in contrast to that of the Bluetooth connections. It is ideal for large warehouses to use mobile readers with the computing device.  They can also possess an onboard computer known as a mobile computing device. The efficiency of the RFID reader depends on the reading range, environmental conditions and network speed. It also relies upon the reading range, the number of tags and how quickly the tags move through the reading zones.

  • Why is RFID attached to clothes?

    RFID is attached to the clothes to reduce the time gap between the process of manufacturing and retailing, to improve efficiency, and to manage inventory. There have been many cases of theft, misplacement, and mismanagement in the garment industry, due to which these industries face huge losses. Earlier, barcodes were used to track clothes. But, there are some issues that barcodes cannot solve. Thus, to remove these deficiencies in the clothing sector, many clothing chains are employing RFID tags on their clothes to ensure proper tracking of every movement of clothes. 

    There are four sectors on which the clothing sector is divided – manufacturing, shipping, distribution, and retailing. In every sector, RFID adds value in tracing items and managing the stock of items. This technology can provide a unique identification number for even a single piece of cloth. In this way, each and every item can be tracked easily. The technology proves to be beneficial from check-in to check-out in warehouses and retail stores. An RFID reader can read tags affixed on different clothes at once, which consequently saves time and money. RFID technology in the clothing sector helps in sorting and displaying clothes in the store. Besides, it helps the seller to manage the stock of items more efficiently. This method also updates the prices of items automatically. By using RFID technology, a seller is able to refill the stock of items that are selling at a fast rate. In conclusion, RFID not only reduces human labour but also avoids manual errors.

  • How can I choose the best RFID tag supplier?

    While choosing the best RFID tag supplier, you have to consider some essential factors. The very first one is the reputation of the supplier. Conduct a background check of the available suppliers and validate it with the customer reviews. Also, make sure to do your own research to get an idea of the RFID market trends. The next thing you ought to consider is cost. It’s ideal to consider the supplier who offers affordable costs. In addition, you should consider the type and quality of the RFID tags you intend to implement for your business.

    The versatility of products with the suppliers is the next thing you need to examine. In other words, a supplier must have a range of all types of RFID tags, RFID readers, RFID printers, etc. A one-shop solution will make your work easy because you will need not only RFID tags but also other related products. Also, check whether the supplier provides immediate and quality customer service. The last but not least factor that you should consider is the delivery process of the supplier. When you have made a decision to use the RFID system in your organisation, you do not want to delay the installation of RFID technology for any reason. For this, you need a supplier who can do fast delivery of RFID tags so that your work doesn’t suffer.

  • Is an RFID reader portable?

    Yes, there are RFID readers that are portable. These readers are called handheld or portable readers. Moreover, a portable RFID reader can be used as a fixed reader also.

    An RFID reader is a device that identifies the object and collects the data that is stored in an RFID tag. It uses radioactive waves to activate the tag affixed to a particular item. These readers scan the information on the basis of its range. These RFID readers provide LF, HF, or UHF frequencies and can read different types of RFID tags depending on the environment. These are battery-powered devices that allow system users to read and modify RFID tags after scanning. The Portable readers have an antenna inside them, and the antenna makes the reader portable. The readers come with many options. There is a range of rechargeable readers, keyboards emulated readers, Bluetooth enabled readers, etc. These readers usually include a keyboard to allow immediate updates of the tags. The handheld reader is wirelessly connected to the system.

    Due to its portability, the reader is very convenient to use and can be used anywhere. The biggest advantage of using them is that we can get close to tagged items and scan them accurately. Some other important benefits are a quick collection of data and locating misplaced items. These readers can be easily used in supply chain management, inventory management, logistics, asset management, etc.  Most importantly, portable RFID readers allow mobile workers to track assets in the field, manage store inventory, or track documents in the office.

  • What is contactless payment using RFID?

    Contactless payment is doing transactions without any type of physical contact between a card and a payment terminal. This is done by Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. Besides cards, an RFID card function can also be embedded in other things like mobile phones, keys, watches, etc. There is a chip inside the RFID card that emits radio waves. An antenna is installed in the plastic to ensure the connection with the contactless reader. By using these, payment is made only by waving or tapping the RFID card. There is no need to insert a card inside a payment terminal.  Moreover, contactless payment using RFID is neither a pin-based nor an OTP-based payment system. Therefore in many countries, the number of transactions using RFID is kept limited to ascertain the security.

    When a payment is made with a contactless payment RFID card, it is waved in a range of payment terminals or card readers. The card reader transmits radio waves into the card. Then, the card gets activated and receives an encryption key. After that, the card decrypts the encryption key and authorises further transactions. Then, the card reader sends the information about the initiation of payment to the card, and the card in return sends payment details. Meanwhile, it also generates a transaction document and approves it with a private key. Afterwards, the card sends it to the card reader, and the card reader sends a receipt to the card. In this way, the payment gets completed, and this whole process happens so fast that we don’t even realise it.

  • What is a UHF RFID reader?

    A reader that uses ultra-high frequency between the range of 840 MHz and 960 MHz is known as a UHF RFID reader. An RFID reader identifies the tags that are affixed to objects. It emits radio waves through the antenna used inside an RFID tag. The radio waves then activate the tag, and the tag generates a unique identification number. Afterwards, the reader collects the data from the tag and transmits the data into the system to get meaningful information about the object. This whole process works on the principle of Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). A UHF RFID reader is one of the types of RFID reader. Ultra-high frequency is supported by ISO/IEC 18000-6:2010 that provides the air interface for the frequency.

    In other words, the size of radio waves in the reader is large, and these can communicate with its components rapidly. The UHF RFID reader empowers to read multiple tags at once and also with a very high speed. It is because of the fast data transfer process of the UHF RFID reader. The reading range of this type of reader is more in comparison to readers with low frequencies. There is a high range of variety available for UHF RFID readers. The readers may be fixed or portable based on need. These are also available on the basis of range, i.e., short, medium, and long-range. The UHF readers are very beneficial in vehicle management and parking management.

  • Are the RFID readers waterproof?

    Yes, the RFID readers are waterproof. There are many options and designs of RFID readers available that are water-resistant. The applications of RFID have extended widely. Thus, RFID tags are often used outside the premises. To read the tags that are used outside the premises, a reader must be waterproof so that it can work properly and doesn’t get damaged. An RFID reader is an important component of RFID technology in any application. It helps to transmit radio waves to an antenna in the tags and reads the data from the tags. That is why it is very important to always keep the RFID reader working properly. The housing of the readers provides high resistance to aggressive liquids, reliable performance, and reading stability through fluctuating temperatures.

    Waterproof readers are able to function in harsh conditions. These are durable and easy to use. There are numerous advantages of using a waterproof reader:

    • It helps in access control reading in many applications such as access control of doors, gates, checkpoints, etc.
    • It helps to increase the productivity of the sales representatives in mobile field sales by analysing the real-time behaviour of customers.
    • It helps an organisation to track mobile workers to enforce the job processes and ensure qualitative work. 
    • It can work in any type of weather condition without any obstacle.
    • It helps to track shipping consignments to avoid unwanted and delayed movements. 
    • It adds value to portable RFID readers.
    • By using a waterproof RFID reader, there is no difficulty in transmitting radio waves in a harsh environment.
  • What is an agile RFID reader?

    RFID technology transmits data through radio waves that have a different range of frequencies. The frequency may be low, high, or ultra-high. In maximum cases, compatible components are designed for a particular frequency. For example, to read tags operating on a particular frequency, the same range of readers is designed to ensure compatibility. But, there is also a reader available that can read tags working on every type of frequency. This reader is called an agile RFID reader. This avoids miscommunication between an antenna inside a tag and the reader.

    The agile RFID readers are designed to operate in every type of frequencies. Thus, these readers help to increase efficiency and accuracy. The readers are flexible, multi-protocol, and multi-frequency readers that can simultaneously identify tags in the different frequency ranges. In other words, It does its function by going beyond the fixed limits of a normal RFID reader. These can integrate with the antennas with better connectivity. There are many advantages of using an agile reader, such as high range, low power requirement, adaptability to different frequencies, integration with various types of components, ability to read tags from different manufacturers, etc. Most importantly, the readers use complex data and signal processing infrastructure and also support advanced software. These can be used in the field where there is a need to affix tags that operate in varied frequencies such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare, supply chain management, inventory tracking, manufacturing tracking, retail management, etc. Nowadays, maximum RFID readers are designed for multi-protocol and multi-tag readings.

  • What is inside an RFID tag?

    An RFID tag is mainly made up of three main constituents that are microchip, antenna, and substrate. The first constituent microchip is an Integrated Circuit (IC) designed and made by a semiconductor manufacturer. An Integrated Circuit (IC) consists of a logic unit and a memory where data is stored. It is a type of microprocessor and also requires power to operate. There are two types of tags – active tags and passive tags. In the case of active tags, IC takes power from the battery that is inside the tag, and in the case of passive, it takes power from radio waves generated from an RFID reader. It is the IC in the tag that helps to modulate/demodulate radio waves and to encode/decode digital data communication between a tag and a reader. The memory in an IC is divided into sectors, and these sectors may be read-only, write-only-one-time, or write-many-times type.

    The next component antenna occupies maximum space in a tag and is connected to an IC. An antenna in an RFID tag receives the radio waves from the reader so that it can transmit these to the IC. If the tag is active, it transmits the signals, and if it is passive, the antenna reflects the signals and passes them to the IC to activate. In making an antenna, strips of aluminium, copper, or silver are used. The last but not the least component is the substrate that keeps all other components of a tag together. Antennas are affixed or deposited on a substrate, and antennas are then attached to the IC. The materials used for making the substrate are polymer, PVC, plastic, paper, etc.

  • What is the scanning time of an RFID tag?

    The scanning time of an RFID tag is equal to the blink of our eyes. It is true that an RFID tag is scanned within a few seconds by using an RFID reader. Although it happens within seconds in front of us, there is a process behind it. RFID technology works on the application of Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) and uses electromagnetic fields to transmit information. There are three main components of the RFID technology- RFID tag, RFID reader, and system on which information is used. The first component RFID tag consists of an Integrated circuit (IC), antenna, and substrate that holds all its parts together. Inside a tag, an antenna is attached to the IC. The antenna receives or reflects radio waves from the RFID reader, and then it sends those waves to IC so that it can generate its power. The IC decodes the data and provides a unique identifier to the object. In this way, the reader reads the data from the tag by using radio waves and then sends it to the integrated database to get meaningful information.

    This whole process happens without our sight while reading the tags, and the process hardly takes a few seconds to happen. In the case of multiple tags, an RFID reader is able to read them at once. But this factor also depends upon the following conditions:

    • The RFID tags must be in the range of an RFID reader.
    • The frequency of tags must be in compliance with RFID readers.
  • What is a chipless RFID tag?

    A chipless RFID tag is one that doesn’t contain an Integrated Circuit (IC) in it. It is designed to work on the cost factor of the chipped tags. As a chip inside the tag is responsible for storing data and transmission of data, a chipless tag is a type of innovation in these things. The tag is made up of an Ultra-wideband (UWB) monopole antenna loaded with several cascaded spiral Electromagnetic band gaps that correspond to data bits 1:1. The data bits are encoded into a spectrum, and then a tag generates a unique spectral signature. This spectral signature is used to identify the unique identification of an object. The chipless RFID tag is used in low-cost applications such as smart packaging, sensing applications, etc. It stores limited data, and the orientation power of these tags is very less in comparison to chipped ones.

    The motive behind making such tags was to make them affordable like barcodes because general tags are more expensive than barcodes. People have been using barcodes for years successfully. But, a chipless RFID tag gives an alternative to barcodes at affordable rates. Moreover, there are many advantages of a chipless RFID tag over barcodes, such as

    • The range of reading is more in chipless tags in comparison to barcodes.
    • It also works with the speciality of RFID technology that doesn’t need the line of sight of a reader.
    • The data in the tags can be read/written.
    • It offers the functions of general RFID tags at a very low cost.
  • Does an RFID tag require a battery to work?

    The requirement of a battery in an RFID tag depends upon the type of tag used in an application. There are three types of tags- active, passive, and semi-passive tags. Active tags require a battery. The battery functions as a source of power and continuously transmits signals. Although these tags provide a long range of reading, the life span of the tags is very short. Moreover, the price of the tags is also very high. Thus, they are used in high-cost applications such as asset tracking, logistics, etc.

    On the contrary, passive tags do not require a battery. These have no internal source of power. Thus, the tags get activated only through the radio waves transmitted by the RFID reader. These may have a short range of reading, but the lifespan of the batteryless tag is very long. Also, the price of the passive tags is very economical. Due to their low prices, there is heavy demand for these tags in wide applications. The tags, due to the absence of a battery, can work in challenging weather conditions. Passive tags or batteryless tags are very useful in outdoor applications because they are not affected by water or metals. 

    Semi-passive tags contain batteries, but they do not function like active tags. They do not transmit signals actively. They use a battery to awaken the tag when they receive electromagnetic fields from the RFID reader. The battery in semi-passive tags assists integrated circuits in reflecting the waves. The tags have a higher cost than passive tags and lower than active ones. The life span is short due to the presence of a battery.

  • What is the use of a passive RFID tag?

    Passive tags receive power from the RFID reader due to the absence of a battery. The RFID reader transmits radio waves to the antenna inside a tag. Since an antenna is connected to an integrated circuit, the integrated circuit gets activated. Then, a tag sends a coded message back to the reader. In this way, the reader reads the data on the tag. The range of reading of passive tags is very short. There are many uses of passive RFID tag that works in different kinds of applications that are as follows-

    • The passive tags are mostly used in computer applications.
    • They are used in tracking inventory in a specific place.
    • They help in document tracking in the office. If the reader is placed on entry or exit places of an office, it becomes easy to track all important documents.
    • They are used to track low-cost items in various places such as hospitals, business houses, warehouses, etc.
    • They are also used in tracking tools and equipment of mines.
    • They are also used to keep an eye on the timings of different races, such as marathons, etc.
    • They are successfully used in tracking perishable goods.

    There are many areas, other than above, in which passive tags have been used efficiently. Using passive tags prove to be beneficial for every sector due to the following reasons-

    • Their price is very affordable.
    • Passive tags are durable due to the absence of a battery.
    • These work well in harsh environments.
    • These are available in each size and structure and are designed based on requirements.
  • Can you track a person using RFID?

    Yes, we can track a person using RFID technology. Nowadays, the application of tracking persons has been used in many organisations. It is done to ensure the security, safety, and accountability of the workforce. The real-time location of the workforce in an organisation is easily known by using passive tags or active tags. In many cases, RFID is even used outside the premises. In that scenario, active tags are used to track persons. The tags that are used to track persons are in the form of watches, keychains, identity cards, etc. 

    The areas where there is a need to track personnel are the following-

    • In an organisation, some places or areas are restricted for all or outsiders. To ensure the security of particular places, RFID technology is used. An RFID reader is placed in the restricted area. When a tag holder enters the restricted area, the RFID reader scans that, and it gets notified immediately in the system.
    • There may be some workplaces in an organisation, mine, or a factory that are too hazardous to work in. In this case, the safety of the workers can be easily ensured by using RFID technology. Lightweight RFID tags are given to workers, and RFID readers are well placed to track the movements of workers.
    • Employers also track their mobile workers to check the work progress. As RFID tags collect real-time data, mobile workers are given durable and lightweight tags. In this case, workers’ smartphones act as a reader to read the data and send it to the system.
  • How much data can be stored in an RFID tag?

    The data that can be stored in an RFID tag depends on the place of its use and the type of tag used in it. There is an Integrated Circuit (IC) inside a tag that stores data in its memory. There are different types of memory in a tag. The memory can be read or written. The first one is the Electronic Product Code (EPC) memory. Some commonly used RFID tags can store data up to 96 bits Electronic Product Code (EPC). The 96 bits EPC is divided into four parts to allow object identification in the tags. Sometimes, there is a need to store additional information in the memory. For this, EPC memory may be extended from 96 bits to 480 bits. 

    The second one is user memory which is also called an optional memory. It is used to add extra information to the object and is a writable memory. Its storage capacity ranges from 512 bits to 4 KB. This kind of memory is absent in some tags. The third one is TID memory which is used to store a unique identification code that is assigned by a tag manufacturing company. The fourth and last one is reserved memory that is used to store passwords. Each password contains 32 bits of storing capacity. An RFID tag stores the information related to the serial number, location, manufacturer’s name, country of origin, history of maintenance, history of usage, etc. Most importantly, RFID tags store information in encrypted form to ensure security and privacy.

  • Can you use RFID tags underwater?

    No, we can not use RFID tags underwater due to the non-transmission of radiofrequency in water. There are few instances where these have been used, such as marine tracing. But, this is possible in the case when they come in very close contact with the readers. Here, waterproof passive tags are used due to their durability. But it does not fulfil the function of the RFID system, and it is also not useful for collecting much data. Because RFID technology uses radioactive waves to transmit information, radioactive waves do not travel through electrical conductors. Due to the presence of molecules in the water, the water becomes the partial conductor. Also, active RFID tags, which are highly compatible for long-range reading, are not durable due to the presence of a battery and high-frequency range. These may get damaged easily in water. Moreover, water also becomes an interference in the transmission of signals in the RFID system.

    There are high chances that this may be possible very soon because there are the following factors that work in favour of using RFID tags underwater-

    • Water is itself not a good electrical conductor, and if all molecules are removed from the water, it seems possible. It is an unrealistic solution, but various technological developments have shown that everything is possible.
    • Radio signals can also be transmitted in water by using extremely low frequency. It has already occurred in many cases. But, the problem of using low frequency is the slow reading rate and the short-range communication.
  • Does a concrete wall block RFID signals?

    A concrete wall blocks RFID signals only in some cases. It depends upon the thickness of the wall. The thicker the wall, the more signals it will block. Also, if metal-related material is used in the wall, then it will definitely block the signals. It is because of the fact that water and metals become obstacles in the transmission of electromagnetic fields. In the case of thin walls, RFID signals easily penetrate through a wall.

    In some cases, it may also happen that the RFID reader can read all the tags, but if there is a wall in the middle, then their accuracy can be affected. The solution to this problem is to reduce the sensitivity settings of an RFID reader. It is done to shorten the reading range of a reader. Besides concrete walls, there are many other factors that determine the rate of transmission of the radio waves, such as frequency rate, type of tags used, the orientation of tags, etc.

  • How is RFID used in security?

    The function of RFID technology is to automatically retrieve data from RFID tags by using RFID readers. Radio waves are used to transmit data between the tags and readers. When these tags come in contact with the particular reader, it automatically retrieves the updated data. Security is one of the main reasons for using RFID technology in various business sectors. RFID system provides the mutual authentication protocol between the RFID-enabled devices and the system. It protects the data and restricts making modifications in the information. The data stored in the tags is in encrypted form, which is read by the RFID reader. The reader then transfers that data to the integrated system. The power to access the system is also given to those who have any necessary role in it.

    The applications in which RFID system is used to ensure security are following-

    • Hospitals- It is used in hospitals to manage the inventory to reduce the risk of theft and misplacement. Many life-saving medicines and surgical equipment are tagged to ensure their availability on time. It also includes the authentication of the visitors and locating the patients.
    • Retailing sector- Retailers use RFID technology to control inventory loss due to theft and misplacement. It reduces the concern related to shoplifting.
    • Manufacturing sector- RFID is used to connect the user and machine to verify that only qualified workers are working on a piece of equipment. It also provides logging security and task information.
    • Supply chain management- The tags are affixed to the product to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the brand. It also provides an anti-counterfeiting environment and controls diversion and black-market activities.

     

  • What is the use of RFID in access control?

    The most common use of RFID in access control is to authorise the transmission of information through the use of radio waves, even without any physical contact.

    An RFID access control system comprises a tag, a reader and access control software. The reader emits the radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. When the tag comes in the range of the reader, an antenna inside the tag transmits the waves to an integrated chip (IC), and the chip gets activated. The antenna and the microchip are components of the RFID tag, and the two are connected to each other with the help of the substrate. After that, the chip transmits the unique identification number and other important information to the reader, and the reader transmits the same information to the access control software. After that, the access control software decides whether the tag holder should be allowed entry or not. 

    The process is used in many applications of access control that are following-

    • RFID helps to control vehicles entering and leaving organisations, enhance security, and allow employees to enter easily. In this method, tags are affixed with the vehicles, and an RFID reader is kept at entry or exit positions. 
    • It helps to restrict access to life-saving medicines and important surgical tools in hospitals. By doing this, the timely availability of these is ensured.
    • It provides an access control system to doors. An RFID reader is fixed on the door, and the information of the user is stored in a tag in the form of a unique identifying number. When the user comes in contact with the reader, it automatically sends signals to the tag. The tag, in turn, authorises the access to lock or unlock the door. This information is updated in an integrated system digitally.
  • What is the most commonly used RFID frequency?

    RFID systems are considered different according to their frequencies. Generally, RFID applications operate on three types of frequencies – Low frequency, High frequency, and Ultra-high frequency. As RFID uses radio waves to transmit information, the frequency of radio waves determines the size and reading rate of radio waves to transmit data.  The Low-frequency RFID has a frequency band between 30 kHz and 300 kHz. The most commonly used frequency bands in low-frequency RFID are 125 kHz and 134 kHz. These frequencies have a short and slow reading rate. The speciality of these frequencies is that there is no risk of blocking the radio waves. The low-frequency RFID is used in low-cost applications such as animal tracking, access control etc. 

    The high-frequency RFID has a frequency band between 3 MHz to 30 MHz. The most commonly used frequency band in high-frequency RFID is 13.56 MHz. Of all the frequencies, it is also used the most in RFID applications. In this, the reading rate and range are faster than low frequency. It is used in data transfer, access control, and smart cards. The ultra-high frequency RFID has a frequency band between 300 MHz to 3 GHz. However, the most commonly used frequency range is between 860 and 960 MHz bands. In this frequency range, there is a high chance of interference in the way of radio waves. The frequency band has a faster reading rate and range than both the low-frequency band and the high-frequency band. These frequencies are used in race timing, asset tracking, and high-cost applications.

  • What is the bandwidth of RFID?

    The bandwidth is the ability of a system to respond to signals at different frequencies. A signal that is transmitted from one medium to another consists of different frequency components. Thus, the frequency components become the basis of the bandwidth of the RFID systems. It is simply determined by the difference between the highest and the lowest frequency present in a signal. The bandwidth of RFID measures the transmission of data from one place to another at a given time. It is measured in hertz. Let us assume that a signal has produced some frequencies while transmitting data, such as 125 kHz, 130 kHz, 132 kHz, and 134 kHz. Then, the bandwidth will be 9 kHz, which is the difference between the highest and the lowest frequency. The bandwidth depends upon the type of frequencies used in RFID applications. The higher the bandwidth will be, the more a system will respond to signals.

    Moreover, the bandwidth plays a major role in evaluating the performance of RFID tags. It becomes a major factor while selecting an appropriate tag for an application. In the case of passive tags, the bandwidth can be a game-changer because the tags get activated by the signals that it receives from the reader. Therefore, the bandwidth must be wide for uniform reading distance. This factor becomes important in tracking the movements of things in warehouses, inventory stores, etc.

  • What do you mean by RFID?

     A radiofrequency identification system (RFID) is a modern technology that uses radio waves to encode digital data to capture it in RFID tags or smart labels. Today, several industrial and commercial applications make use of this technology. It tracks the items by using a supply chain to know whether they are checked out of the store. In other words, Radio frequency identification is a type of passive wireless technology that allows you to track or match a tagged object or an item. It has several advantages over systems that use barcode tracking software which must align with optical scanners.

    This identification system has become more prevalent in recent years due to pet microchipping and supply chain management. RFID works through a small device known as a microchip or radio frequency identification chip that has information saved in it uniquely. These microchips are barely the size of a grain of rice but hold a large amount of data securely. The system has two essential parts, which are tags and readers. The reader detects and decodes the radio waves from tags, while the tag uses waves to communicate the information. The world can use RFID in various ways, most commonly to track animals, products, and currency.

  • Will RFID replace barcodes?

    The idea of barcodes originated in 1932. The first barcode scanned a pack of Wrigley’s chewing gum at an Ohio supermarket. Therefore, for identifying assets, the optical markings of packages have become the most commonly used method. However, the supply chain sector has made a perception that radio frequency identification will soon replace barcodes.

    The industries said that it is necessary to replace the barcodes soon. However, there is no need to change it immediately and everywhere. If the businesses embrace a change, it has some real value in it. Radiofrequency identification has proved itself in the market, which is why it is expensive compared to barcodes.

    Also, they are used in addition to barcodes for inventory management and tracking the items for reassurance. Some drawbacks of RFID over barcodes are cost barriers, technical illusions, trouble in scanning liquids and metals. But due to the benefits of RFID, like there is no need for the line of sight, scanning is done from a distance with a fast speed and a completely automated system, RFID will replace barcode system.

  • If RFID is such a great technology, then why aren't all companies using it?

    Modern technologies in the market appear with several advantages over older technologies, so it can be confusing why all companies don’t adopt these technologies, which seems to be a superior and popular choice. It was identical in bar code, and radio frequency identification as bar codes continued their presence over RFID for inventory tracking purposes. With a bit of investigation and research, it is not that hard to see why that is. The barcodes scanning equipment is practical and affordable, inexpensive to produce and use. The bar codes are used in various conditions to identify objects for transaction reporting and tracking with universal understandability.

    RFID has its advantages like there is no need for the line of sight, scanning is there from a distance with fast speed of scanning, and complete automation system. But if we compare both of these technologies, there is one main reason why aren’t all companies using it? The primary reason is price. Radio Frequency identification is a lot more expensive than barcodes. Even though common RFID tags are low budgeted by few cents, they are still high in the presence of paper bar code labels. We can see that many barcode labels are essentially free, especially when codes are there on product packaging. Hence, a radio frequency identification system is much more expensive than barcodes.

  • What are the initial benefits of RFID?

    Radiofrequency identification is a highly versatile technology that helps you from controlling and manufacturing processes to inspection and maintenance by tracking an asset. Here are some initial benefits of RFID which makes it suitable to use:

    Tracking and managing assets:

    Keeping a proper track of assets and management of inventories are two major tasks for companies. With the use of RFID applications, tracking and managing assets got more accessible and more time-saving methods. For example, RFID applications can tell you immediately with their frequency tags how many items you have of a particular type with their location and stage of the process.

    Save time and money by automation:

    Radiofrequency identification is an entirely automated system to track the items for their safety. The RFID application can automatically track the movement of products or goods and directly upload the information to the financial management system or ERP. So they remove the need for manual presence for writing and filling the needed tracking information at an outdated spreadsheet. Hence, it saves money to pay the employees as salary for filling out the information about the tracking process.

    Better control over production:

    As RFID can keep records of the complex or customized manufacturing processes, these are ideal for the companies to identify individual components or items. It helps ensure if the specific molds are in the correct volume or specific products end up on the suitable production line.

  • What are the long-term benefits of RFID?

    Different sectors and industries widely make use of RFID technology. Some of the long term benefits of RFID technology are:

    • Supply chain and logistics management – Usually, the supply chain sector uses RFID technology to track the items. It can also be used to manage the inventories and reduce the effort and time of manual work. 
    • Security management- Highly secured areas such as airports and military establishments use RFID technology for security. Here, the RFID technology ensures security by allowing access to authorized persons only. 
    • Contactless payments-Both debit cards and debit cards make use of RFID technology to conduct contactless payments. For this, they install RFID tags on credit cards and debit cards to make payments. The RFID scanners on the POS machines can detect these tags, and the payment is approved when the customer waves their card over the RFID scanners. So there is no need to insert pins for authenticating the transaction. 
    • RFID in shopping malls- Fitting rooms or changing rooms uses RFID tags and technologies with kiosks. Each of the dresses and outfits in the shopping mall will be attached with an RFID tag. By scanning this tag, the customer will know all the details about that outfit, including its price and size. This reduces the workload of the employees in the shopping malls.
  • What are the commonly used applications of RFID?

    Radio frequency identification system (RFID) is a technology in the modern world that uses radio waves to encode digital data to capture it in RFID tags or smart labels. These applications of RFID in various categories are:

    Inventory management:

    This is the most common application of an RFID tag. RFID technology is the widely used automation tool to manage and track inventories by big retailers. Accuracy, cost control, efficiency, cleanliness, safety, and security are the six essential aspects of inventory management. Converting human tasks to machine tasks is the only solution to fulfill all these aspects and for the smooth functioning of inventory management.

    Damage to inventories while they are handling in the warehouse, might cause a considerable expense for the retailers. Also, managing inventories include more redundant processes, which are time-consuming and need more manual effort. Automating all these processes with the helps RFID technology might helps the retailers to simplify those time-consuming tasks and avoid unwanted expenses. In inventory management, RFID technology can even be used as a real-time business tool. RFID technology optimizes the inventory managing processes and reduces the errors caused by human interventions.

  • Does RFID technology lead to health issues?

    Radiofrequency identification is a passive wireless technology that allows you to track or match a tagged object or an item. It has several advantages over systems that use barcode tracking software which must align with an optical scanner. This identification system has become more prevalent in recent years due to its pet microchipping and supply chain management usage. RFID works through a small device known as a microchip or radio frequency identification chip that has information saved in it uniquely.

    The rising implementation of RFID does not lead to any healthcare problems. So the use of RFID has been made in favor and no harm to human health. RFID technology is favorable for the healthcare sector, and there are many irrelevant thoughts on this matter. Still, everything is indeed pre-checked by the teams and systems for the safety of human beings. As RFID even has application in hospitals, they are for the protection of patients, and there are no negative impacts on their health.

    These tracking systems are used mainly in mental care hospitals to keep track of every patient’s activity. RFID helps in checking the patient wisely from time to time. In addition, we can see the use of RFID on newborn babies. Doctors keep these RFID tags on newborn babies for tracking and locating them and their activities. It is also widely used in several industrial and commercial applications. The identification starts from tracking the items along with a supply chain to keeping accurate track of items checked out of the store.

  • Will RFID cause unemployment problems?

     RFID technology may not lead to massive unemployment. RFID technology is an advanced technology that makes use of radio waves to track and manage inventories. It can be utilized to improve workplace efficiency and transparency. Since this technology and machine tasks are easy to understand, employees can quickly grasp them.

    A radiofrequency identification system is a completely automated system to track the items for their safety. The RFID application can automatically track the movement of products or goods and directly upload the information to the financial management system or ERP. Since RFID technology automates all the processes in a company, it increases the set of labor tasks. So, in turn, this reduces unemployment.

  • How does RFID improve the safety of the workers?

    There are significant challenges that companies face due to their type of work and employees. Every workplace faces an everyday issue that employers have to maintain a successful venture. Subsequently, RFID will essentially help companies to tackle their challenges related to employees’ safety. Here are some points to prove that RFID improves employees’ safety:

    Equipment safety warnings:

    Some businesses involve employees working around dangerous machinery and equipment. When these types of companies start using RFID, it helps them know about the danger to the employee if they are using equipment that is broken or not suitable to use for that time. The radiofrequency identification system improves safety by providing warnings and machine failure notifications to the employees for their safety purpose. Therefore, RFID is the best way to improve the safety of employees working in companies. 

    Entry of unauthorized person:

    Many companies have to deal with people coming for purposely meetings and work. But people may enter to harm their machinery and have some fraudulent intent that can affect their employees’ safety. RFID works through a small device known as a microchip or radio frequency identification chip that has information saved in it uniquely. These devices used in this system are generally tiny, said as the size of the grain of rice sometimes but indeed holds a large amount of data securely. The system has two essential parts, which are tags and readers. For those purposes, companies provide access cards with RFID tags to enter the equipment and machinery area for ensuring their well-being and safety.

  • Is RFID technology better than barcodes?

    Researchers concluded that RFID technology is much better as compared to the barcode system. Because RFID technology is easier to use and is more precise and accurate than the barcode scanning system, RFID can be used in addition to barcodes for inventory and tracking the items for reassurance. In addition, there is no need for the line of sight for RFID technology, and scanning is done from a distance with a fast speed of scanning and a completely automated system.

    Most companies use barcode technology for tracking purposes because barcode scanning equipment is affordable, inexpensive to produce, and uses that RFID technology. However, RFID technology and the system are much more efficient and precise. Since it eliminates the limitations of the barcode scanning systems, RFID technology is becoming more popular now. Apart from all these significant benefits of RFID technology over barcode scanning systems, small businesses can rapidly improve their efficiency. The technology can also automate the whole process that occurs in a company, which enhances the quality of work.

  • Can companies use RFID to spy on people?

    Yes, companies can use RFID to spy on people. RFID technology uses radioactive waves to trace and track objects automatically. In any application, an RFID tag is placed on an object, and after that, an RFID reader scans the data without even making any physical contact with the tag. A tag should be in the range of the reader. The whole data gets transferred to a database that gives a presentable form of information. In the same way, if an RFID chip in the size of grains is placed secretly on the sole of shoes or identity cards, a reader can track the person easily within the range. An RFID chip can also be affixed permanently with clothes and items a person purchases. RFID tags can also be kept on the company’s products and things without anyone’s knowledge. With this, a video surveillance system can also be set up. If any object has been moved from one place to another, which is known by the RFID database, the video related to that object can be checked easily.

    RFID can detect people’s shopping preferences and activities without their knowledge. It also helps employers to track the work activities of their employees. In some companies, RFID is used secretly to keep an eye on the presence of employees. Moreover, using RFID secretly avoids the fear of displacement and theft of important documents in an organisation.

  • Are there government laws regarding RFID?

    There are no such government laws regarding RFID. RFID technology works on AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Collection) and uses radio frequencies to transfer information. The radio waves, if they transmit a high level of frequencies, can harm human beings and animals. There is no global body present that controls the RFID frequencies. Globally, EPCglobal Gen-2 and ISO 18000-6C standards are adopted in every country. According to the standards, the optimum frequency bandwidth that can be used is 860- 960 MHz. These are kind of guidelines because no law has been framed on these guidelines. Different countries have set different standards in line with global standards. Department of telecommunication that comes under the ministry of communications and information technology, issues the guidelines in India regarding RFID frequencies. It has delicensed the spectrum in the range of 865-867 MHz for RFID applications. In this frequency band, only 4 W ERP, 1 W transmitter power and 200 kHz carrier bandwidth is allowed. In other words, the frequency range more than 865-867 MHz band can not be crossed in any application.

     

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent agency that controls communications in the US, have set a standard related to various frequency bands in FCC part 15 rules. It has determined a 902-928 MHz frequency band for supply chain activities. Moreover, it has set rules and regulations regarding the 865-867 MHz frequency band too. Japan has set the standard of using a 952-954 MHz frequency band with a maximum of 4 W ERP. It has also kept a licencing system for using the high powered systems.

  • How does RFID benefit consumers?

    RFID technology is used in many applications that benefit not only a producer but also a consumer in many ways. It is used to store data, trace information and present the information in a meaningful form.

    • RFID-enabled stores help to save time for consumers as they do not have to stop in the queues for so long because RFID makes the billing process fast and convenient.
    • It provides a better shopping experience to the consumers with greater visibility.
    • It reduces the overall cost of operation of a product that makes a reduction in the final cost of the product. It benefits consumers in monetary terms. 
    • RFID helps to reduce counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industries and provides authenticity to the products. Thus, it ensures the integrity of drugs that customers purchase.
    • It aids in stock management effectively so that there is no chance of an item going out of stock. Consequently, it provides a connected experience to consumers with high satisfaction. 
    • RFID makes every operation so smooth and easy that the store’s person faces no complications and is left with a lot of time to deal with the consumer. It helps to increase the confidence of a consumer about the product.
    • In some stores, RFID provides self-checkout services to the consumers that prove to be very beneficial for them.
  • How do barcodes differ from RFID?

    Although barcode and RFID are based on AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Collection, both are very much different from each other in many ways-

    • Use of technology

    Barcodes are based on optical technology based on visible or infrared light. On the contrary, RFID technology uses radioactive waves to transmit information.

    • Line of sight

    A reader can only scan barcodes when it is in the line of sight. But, in the case of RFID technology, tags must only be in the range of the reader. Here, line of sight is not required. 

    • Rate of reading

    Information is read by scanning barcodes and is slow in comparison to RFID technology as barcodes are scanned one by one. However, many RFID tags can be scanned simultaneously, which makes it a fast process. 

    • Cost comparison

    Barcodes are very economical to use. On the contrary, RFI technology contains very expensive components that are ten times more costly than barcodes.

    • Human intervention

    Barcodes are scanned one by one. Thus, it is a labour-intensive technique. In the case of RFID, less human involvement is required as many RFID tags are scanned simultaneously.

    • Storage capacity

    Barcodes have a very limited capacity for storing data, and they store genetic information only. Once written information in barcodes can not be changed as they have only read capabilities. On the other hand, the storage capacity of RFID tags is much wider than barcodes in terms of storage capacity. They have read/write capabilities. Thus, they can store much information as per the requirement of the application, such as product history, maintenance, etc.

  • What is the cost of an RFID tag?

    The cost of an RFID tag is based on some factors such as the nature of the application in which a tag has to be used, storage capacity needed in a tag, packaging of the tag, etc. One of the most important factors that determine the cost of a tag is the type of tag that comes in active and passive forms. An active RFID tag is the one that contains a battery in it and uses its own source of power, and a passive tag is the one that does not contain a battery and takes power from the radioactive waves that get transmitted through the RFID scanner. Active tags are more expensive than passive ones. The average cost of a 96-bit passive RFID reader ranges from ₹ 300 to ₹ 1000. In contrast, the average cost of an active tag ranges from ₹ 2500 to ₹ 10000.

    However, it is not possible to locate the exact price of the tags because they keep fluctuating due to the increasing demand for RFID technology, availability of competition of suppliers of RFID tags, and diversity of tags in the market. The memory of an RFID tag plays a vital role in determining the price of the tag. In addition, the frequency of tags also determines the price of an RFID tag. High and low-frequency tags are costlier than ultra-high frequency tags. Both memory and frequency of an RFID tag are based on the type of tag needed in a particular application.

  • Is RFID technology highly expensive?

    RFID technology is expensive, but it proves to be very efficient in reducing the overall cost of any business. Therefore, it is a kind of investment that gives productive results in the future. In addition, the cost of RFID technology that is incurred is divided into different types of costs. It determines the total cost of RFID technology in an organisation.

    • Component cost

    RFID tags and RFID readers are two important components of RFID technology. RFID tags have to be affixed with the items that we have to track. After that, the tags are scanned with the help of an RFID reader. An RFID reader can simultaneously scan multiple tags.

    An RFID tag is of two types- Active tag and Passive tag. Both differ from each other on the availability of the battery. The active tag has a battery, and on the other hand, the passive tag does not have a battery. This also makes a difference in the cost of these two. Active tags are comparatively more expensive than passive tags.

    It is very necessary to install an RFID reader at a place where tagged items are kept. The reader is also placed at the entry and exit points. The cost of an RFID reader depends upon the type of tags used. In the case of active tags, a normal RFID reader can work. On the contrary, a powerful RFID reader is required for passive tags because of the absence of battery in the tags.

    • Installation cost

    Installation of passive RFID technology is a bit more complex than active RFID technology. Specialised antennas have to be installed in order to commence the working of technology. Moreover, it is started by running connectivity and configuration settings. It is done only by the expert. Thus it involves installation charges.

    • Software cost

    RFID technology only works smoothly when it is connected with the database on which the whole information of the tagged products is presented in the meaningful form. The cost of the software is based on its specialisation and complexity. 

    • Maintenance cost

    There may be a need for maintenance due to snagging or bumping of tags that prove to be costly sometimes. Staff should also be trained enough to understand the basics of RFID technology that also gets included in the cost of RFID technology.

  • How does jewellery benefit from RFID technology?

    Jewellery is a luxury item that needs automated protection, and using RFID technology with jewellery provides a fore and aft result. It provides many benefits related to tracking and locating jewellery items-

    • It makes inventory management of the jewellery business convenient and viable because of automated inventory monitoring and tracking.
    • RFID technology is able to scan multiple items simultaneously, due to which work gets completed in less time. 
    • It provides a unique identification code for each item. Thus, it monitors every single tagged item of jewellery.
    • It manages the circulation of jewellery from manufacturing to sales efficiently.
    • The information about the tagged jewels gets updated automatically in the database that is used by the owner to ensure safety, security and availability. It provides real-time information on tagged items of jewellery.
    • The RFID software also gets connected with the billing software of the store that makes the billing process convenient as prices get automatically updated in the RFID database. Moreover, it is a time-saving technology that reduces the customer waiting line.
    • Using RFID technology in the jewellery business avoids the fear of theft, misplacement and counterfeiting. It locates the unauthorised movement of items from one place to another.
    • It provides accurate results and is a perfect substitute for the manual processes that were earlier used in the jewellery business.
    • RFID technology is an automated technology that involves fewer human beings, due to which labour cost reduces. It also helps to trace the employees work activity in the store and helps to increase their efficiency.
  • Is RFID technology a necessity for hospitals in a post covid world?

    Covid-19 has made the world realise the importance of healthcare in the world, and it has become necessary to use RFID technology for hospitals in a post covid world to ensure safety, security, and availability. RFID technology not only manages patients but also ensures the safety of employees. Many reasons emphasise the use of RFID enabled applications in the hospitals-

    • RFID provides visibility and accountability in the supply chain, especially in logistics. It becomes difficult to check and trace vaccines, PPE kits, vaccines, and medical equipment manually. However, it is a vital step to recheck items received for the hospitals. RFID technology operates very conveniently and accurately. 
    • RFID enabled smart shelves to help to perform routine tasks automatically, such as counting available stock, estimating the need to purchase more stock of a particular item, and checking the expiry date of medicines. This reduces the wastage of medicines, which is considered to be the biggest among the losses in the hospital. The technology is helpful for hospitals to reduce the cost of operations.
    • Agility is a factor that has become important for hospitals in the pandemic. Thus, it is very necessary to not waste any extra time searching for equipment and medicines. RFID technology makes the work very easy as by using RFID tags on devices and medicines, hospital staff can easily locate them. 
    • RFID technology provides options not only for observing patients, employees, important documents but also for surveilling hand washing that has become necessary in the pandemic.
  • What information can an RFID tag store?

    Information is stored in the IC(Integrated Circuit) in the RFID tag. An IC contains four types of memory that different store types of information-

    • Reserved memory

    In this type of memory, kill password and access password are stored. The access password is used to lock and unlock the written capabilities of the tag, and the kill password is used to disable the tag. The memory can be written again to store passwords related to sensitive data. The main aim of using reserved memory is to protect confidential data.

    • EPC memory

    EPC(Electronic Product Code) memory stores a tag identification code that is assigned to every product on which an RFID tag is attached. Information related to the product, such as genetic information, price, expiry date, maintenance history, etc., is stored in the memory that gets updated automatically. It is a writable memory. In some tags, the memory can store more information, and in that case, it uses bits of user memory.

    • TID memory

    Here, the unique identification number of the manufacturer of IC (Integrated Circuit) is stored that can not be changed later on. The unique identification number differentiates one tagged item from the other.

    • User memory

    User memory, also a writable memory, is used when a person needs more memory than EPC memory to store some extra information. The memory is divided into blocks, and only limited access is provided to some users by locking some blocks.

  • Which companies use RFID technology?

    RFID technology is applicable in many applications such as supply chain, logistics, inventory management, asset tracking, etc. The RFID enabled applications are being used successfully by many companies-

    • Zara

    Zara is a retail clothing brand that uses RFID technology to manage inventory in the warehouse and to trace clothes in the store. It aids to deal with overstocking and understocking digitally and also updates the availability of particular clothes at the stores.

    • Amazon

    Amazon uses RFID technology in its retail grocery store Amazon Go. The store is a cashier-less store that provides the customer with a just go away experience. Here, customers using an app enter the store, pick up whatever they want and leave without paying. The bill is then transferred to the app. The just go away system is totally based on RFID technology.

    • Decathlon

    Decathlon, a French sports-gear retailer, uses RFID in all of its products to keep an eye on the inventory. It is also highly used in operations and logistics.

    • H&M

    H&M, a Swedish clothing company, uses RFID in warehouses to sort out the problems related to misplacement, overstocking, understocking, and mismanagement. It has also started using RFID in retailing stores that are giving wonderful results. 

    • BJC Healthcare

    BJC Healthcare uses RFID enabled smart shelves in their hospitals to trace medical equipment, surgical devices, life-saving medicines, and important documents. It ensures that the right thing is found at the right time to maintain the safety of the patient and the reputation of the hospital.

    • Inditex

    Inditex, a Spanish clothing company, uses RFID technology in logistics, warehouses and stores; it helps to enhance security control, efficient inventory counts, speedy stock replenishment, and high customer satisfaction.

  • How durable is an RFID tag?

    RFID tag lifespan is different based on the type of tag used. They are of two kinds Passive and Active RFID tags. The durability of passive RFID tags is measured by the number of rigorous vibrations and shocks they can withstand. Passive tags certified with Ingress Protection on International Protection (IP) by International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60529 are durable throughout the lifespan of assets on which they are attached.

    The durability of RFID tags is measured based on their resistance to

    • Temperature
    • Dust
    • Water
    • Immersible property

              The Active RFID tags last between 3 to 5 years based on the life of batteries embedded in them. Though some tags are operational by replacing the batteries, most of them do not allow battery replacement. So the battery life determines the lifespan of Active RFID tags. So for your question on RFID tag lifespan, Active tags are durable until the batteries are good, while passive tags have an infinite lifespan if handled carefully. Passive RFID tags possess a better lifespan when compared to their active counterparts. This is mainly due to the lack of a built-in battery in Passive RFID tags. The comparatively higher durability of a Passive RFID allows them to be used in more rugged and harsh conditions.

  • What is a Read-only RFID tag?

    An RFID tag is a storage device that makes use of radiofrequency for data transfer. Each RFID tag stores unique data transferred to the RFID reader and a data management system. The data storing capability of an RFID tag classify it into two categories; Read-only and read-write RFID tags. All RFID tags have an embedded Integrated Chip (IC) within them. A Read-Only RFID tag comprises a unique serial number written in the IC at the time of manufacturing. This serial number cannot be erased. Such RFID tags are pre-programmed to be read, and no additional things can be stored or written on such chips as they do not have additional memory.

    A read-write RFID tag has integrated chips that can be erased and written with new data. They also have additional memory for adding new data.

    So, in simple Read-only, RFID tags are programmed to read, and no new information can be updated within them. Usually, cloth stores use Read-only RFID tags to recognize the merchandise.

  • What is the difference between a Read-only and Read-write RFID tag?

     

     

    Read-only RFID tags Read-write RFID tags
    They have a unique serial number written into the IC chip during manufacturing that cannot be modified. The serial number written on the IC can be updated or modified as per the requirements.
    No additional information can be written as it is a READ-only tag The Readers can WRITE any information to the tags as per the needs 
    Do not contain additional memory Come with additional memory
    Used in simple use cases like product identification in a shop Have a wide array of use cases
    Less expensive tags Expensive tags
  • What type of RFID is used in credit cards?

    Due to the increased popularity of contactless payments, RFID gained popularity due to its admittance in credit and debit cards. Unlike normal cards, contactless credit cards do not require swiping against payment terminals. Instead, users can wave the card at the terminal or tap it to make payments. This helps the users to make quick transactions without making direct contact with the POS terminal. RFID also proves to be a secure way of making transactions with multilevel security from the banking system. The WiFi like symbol can easily identify cards equipped with RFID tags.

    Moreover, For using contactless credit cards, no sign-in or PIN is required.

    Contactless Credit Cards comprises passive RFID tags, and they utilize the power transferred by the payment terminal to activate the chip-on-card. The POS terminals and swiping machines consist of readers for capturing the waves from tags installed in cards. Also, contactless credit cards do not have universal protocols for payment transactions. Every brand has its proprietary protocols based on EMV principles. The RFID tags in the cards generate a unique one-time code for each transaction. These codes are transferred to the readers for completing the transaction securely.

  • Is RFID used in FASTags?

    Toll booths are a common scene in all the national highways as well as state highways. Transactions using cash were the common practises followed in these toll booths before the introduction of FASTags. However, after the adoption of FASTag, toll collection became a fast and contactless process. Usually, the FASTags are affixed to the windscreen of vehicles, and RFID readers installed at Toll plazas detect these tags to allow vehicles to cross the toll booths swiftly.

    Passive RFID tags are used in the FASTags. These tags are triggered by the beam of light generated from the RFID readers installed in the toll booths. The data included in these tags are transferred after the successful triggering of the tag. In addition, these tags are linked to a FASTag account of the user. Each time a successful scan occurs, an amount equivalent to the toll rate is reduced from this account. All these processes occur in seconds, which reduces the time a vehicle spends in a toll booth. The adoption of FASTag in toll collection has many advantages, including reduced traffic blocks, decreased fuel consumption, and reduced air pollution.

  • Can you reuse an RFID tag?

    RFID tags are classified into read-only and read-write tags. A read-only RFID tag has a predefined serial number that cannot be modified. This prevents the user from modifying the data which is preinstalled in them. In contrast, a read-write RFID tag has an integrated chip that has a modifiable memory database. The rewritable capability of these tags helps the users to reuse the tag according to their requirements. You can rewrite data to the memory of reusable RFID tags by using the software supplied with the readers. Also, bulk writing to multiple tags is allowed by third-party software. 

    Moreover, a block write command helps you write a 16-bit block of data to the RFID chip. Electronic Product Code (EPC) Standard facilitates block writing. A word of caution for recycling passive tags is that they should be encased in plastic covers or some other protective cover so that it is not destroyed while removing.

  • Is RFID and NFC the same?

    No, RFID- Radio Frequency Identification and NFC- Near Field Communication are not identical even though both are contactless scanning technologies. Here we list important differences between RFID and NFC:

    RFID NFC
    RFID or Radio Frequency Identification is one-way communication technology. NFC or Near Field Communication is two-way peer-to-peer communication technology.
    RFID is a totally contactless technology with the ability to read data from several feet. NFC needs devices to be in close proximity and useful for short-range communication.
    Two types of RFID tags are

    • Passive.
    • Active (have a built-in battery).
    Two types of NFC are:

    • Peer-to-Peer (P2P).
    • Card emulation.
    Various applications like

    • Inventory tracking.
    • Patient tracking.
    • Vehicle tracking in Toll Booth and Parking places.
    Peer to Peer Communication is useful to share information between smartphones.

    Card emulation is used to emulate debit cards and credit cards.

  • Is RFID harmful to human health?

    Even though RFID radiations are non-ionizing radiations and are of low intensity, they have a negative impact on the human body and cells. Ultra-high frequency RFID radiation has negative impacts on human body parts like the eyes when in close proximity. In order to prevent this, it is recommended to keep these tags at a distance of 0.5 feet. RFID manufacturers also reduce the range of most RFID tags for reducing the impact on human health.

    Moreover, the electromagnetic radiations of RFID also have a negative impact on human tissues and cells, causing malignant cell degeneration or burnings. So, RFID health risks definitely prevail.

  • Can you block an RFID tag using an iron sheet?

    Yes, RFID tags can be blocked from receiving signals by using metals like iron. Usually, an alloy called Mu-Metal is made up of nickel, iron, copper, chromium, and molybdenum is used for blocking RFID signals.

    Also, a simple solution to protect your wallets from RFID signals is wrapping them in aluminium foils. The following characteristics of metals enable RFID signal blocking:

    • High permeability
    • Ductile and malleable
    • Resistant to corrosion and rusting
    • Light in weight
    • Non- toxic nature
    • Not overly reactive
    • Cheap availability

    Also, metal RFID tags are available in the market.

  • Will there be any data loss from an RFID tag?

    RFID tags are not data storage devices like a USB or hard drive. However, like typical data storage devices, RFID tags do not have a large amount of memory available for storing data. Instead, the memory chips present within the RFID ICs is meant for storing the data. According to experts in Identification technologies, the memory chips are predominantly made up of EEPROM. If they are operated at room temperature, data loss never happens from such memory chips.

    RFID tags use one time codes for transferring information to RFID readers. These codes are transferred within the time the tag gets in contact with the reader. The scanner decodes these encrypted codes for extracting the information. Data decoding fails when a false scan occurs; this cannot be considered a data loss as the data is secure in the tag. In simple words, data loss due to ageing rarely occurs in RFID tags.