RFID or Radio Frequency Identification is a technology that uses radio waves to automatically identify people or objects from a distance of several inches to hundreds of feet. Combination of Tag & Reader is used for identification purpose. Data is stored in the RFID tag & the tag is attached physically to the object. RFID tag an electronic device and has basically two components: a chip & an antenna. The chip contains data that it carries (few bytes). RFID uses automatic data capture system, which aids in the system efficiency.

RFID vs Barcode:

RFID offers much more advantage over traditional identification device like barcode. To read barcode, the scanner needs to be in LoS (Line of Sight) with the label, whereas RFID on the other hand can read data from tag without LoS.

RFID Components:

A combination of RFID Technology & Computing technology is called RFID system. A RFID System consists of following components:

  • Tag (Electronic label)
  • Antenna (medium for tag reading)
  • Reader (read tag information)
  • Communication infrastructure (enable RFID to coexist in IT Infrastructure)
  • Application software (user backend database)

How does it work?

RFID tags contain an integrated chip/circuit and an antenna, which are used to transmit data to the RFID reader. The reader then converts the radio waves  to a more usable form of data. Information collected from the tags is then transferred through  a communications interface to a host computer system, where the data can be stored in a database and analyzed at a later time.

RFID Tags & Smart Labels:

As stated above, an RFID tag consists of an integrated circuit and an antenna. The tag is also composed of a protective material that holds the pieces together and shields them from various environmental conditions. The protective material depends on the application. For example, employee ID badges containing RFID tags are typically made from durable plastic, and the tag is embedded between the layers of plastic. RFID tags come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are either passive or active. Passive tags are the most widely used, as they are smaller and less expensive to implement. Passive tags must be “powered up” by the RFID reader before they can transmit data. Unlike passive tags, active RFID tags have an onboard power supply (e.g., a battery), thereby enabling them to transmit data at all times.

RFID Applications:

RFID technology is employed in many industries to perform myriad of tasks of which few are as below:

– Inventory management
– Asset tracking
– Personnel tracking
– Controlling access to restricted areas
– ID Badging
– Supply chain management
– Toll Road Payments