RFID (radio frequency identification) is a form of wireless communication that uses electromagnetic fields to automatically search, identify, track, and communicate with tags attached to objects. In simple terms, RFID tags are basically smart labels capable of storing information such as serial numbers and short descriptions. Some can store even multiple pages of data.
RFID tags are generally of two types:
- Active RFID---An active RFID generates its own power through a battery.
- Passive RFID---A passive RFID tag on the other hand does not have its own power source, and it draws power from the reading antenna.
RFID tags are usually recognized through their radio frequencies which could either be low, high , or ultra-high frequency.
Low-frequency RFID systems
- These have a range of 30 KHzto 500 KHz, and a transmission range of anywhere between a few inches to less than or equal to six feet.
High-frequency RFID system
- These have a range of 3 MHz to 30 MHz, and a transmission range of anywhere between a few inches to several feet.
Ultra-high frequency RFID systems
- These have a range of 300 MHz to 960 MHz, and a transmission range of around 25 feet.
RFID applications and use cases
RFID are in use since the 1940s. However, they began to be used more frequently during the 70’s. But its usage was still limited owing to the high cost of technology and hardware. However, technological advancement has significantly brought down the cost of hardware, which has contributed to its broader acceptance.
Some common uses for RFID applications include:
Pet and livestock tracking
Pet and livestock tracking are done using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip attached to the tag. This tag in turn is clamped onto the ears of the animals or inserted inside them in places such as the shoulder, breast, leg, etc. RFID tags are increasingly taking the place of metal ID tags. Farmers or vets can take the help of this card to keep a tab on the livestock, as well as record important data of pets such as their weight, age, sex, medical records, birthing times, etc.
RFID technology has been nothing short of a boon for stock control and inventory management. They provide accurate information about stock inventory, and also accurate and detailed information about the stock level, including quantity, models, colors, etc. Since all items are tracked, the possibility of stocking issues is significantly reduced. With the task of keeping a close eye on stock taken out of the equation, employees can concentrate on other things like sales and customer service.
RFID offers a detailed insight into your stock, which means you are anytime aware of your stock level. This in turn allows you to store excessive inventories which tie up both your space and your money. Also, it helps you stock dead items that are supposedly out of fashion or out of season. This way you will avoid having dead items that are now out of fashion or season. At the same time, you get automated messages, which help keep a close tab on which items need to be replenished.
The implementation of radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology in the healthcare sector is growing at a rapid pace. This should not come as a surprise as RFID tech has the potential to help organizations save a lot of money and resources while at the same time enhancing patient safety and quality of care.
The use of RFID plays an important role in improving efficiencies in patient care through better tracking. An important benefit of RFID is that it helps prevent cases of patient misidentification. For example, an RFID band is tied to the wrist of a patient. This band contains all relevant data such as the name of the patient, registration number, medical history, allergies, etc.
The historical record of the patient apart from helping doctors keep a watch on their patients also helps surgeons during operations. Also, if a patient has memory problems, the RFID tag can help staff know the exact whereabouts of the patient.
RFID tags offer a lot of help to pharmacies in hospitals as well. The system informs the concerned staff about the stock level of different medicines and also their expiry dates. about the expiry date of medicines and their stock levels. Some medicines are highly expensive. It is therefore very important to keep a close tab on their whereabouts as well as their stock level. Also, since medicines are critical items, it is important to remain aware of their stock level at all times so that a depleting stock can be quickly replenished.