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Like QR Codes, If Smart Phones Could Read RFID Tags as Well

  • Mahesh Tiwari
  • Mar 06, 2023
  • RFID
RFID in your smartphone

It’s not like smart-phones couldn’t read QR codes before but it was through some applications. Users had to download an app which was designed to read 2D barcodes. It was an inefficient method, required internet which wasn’t great at the moment, thus users preferred using a barcode scanner instead of mobiles.

Things changed when Apple Inc., in 2017, integrated the QR code scanning feature in its iphone’s camera itself. Many other mobile manufacturers followed suit and did the same. Scanning 2D barcode images had been completely revolutionized at this point. And the global corona virus pandemic did the rest. Businesses started to look back at this 30 years old technology as a mean to automate few operations, which worked by the way.

RFID in your smartphone

Like any other technology, RFID has matured as well. The RFID implementation prices have come down greatly from what it were a decade ago and businesses are proactively employing RFID for simplifying and optimizing day to day business operations.

But we’re going to talk about something else. A team of innovators at university of California, San Diego started working on an idea; the idea was to turn your normal QR code reading smartphone into a fully-fledged RFID reader.

The Radical Innovators:

A team Led by Patrick Mercier, Dinesh Bharadia, Shih-Jai Kuo and Manideep Dunna thought of using an inexpensive chip inside the tag and a small software update for the smartphone. 

Imagine what it would do to the RFID market. The RFID market was valued at 10.12B USD in year 2021 and with the current CAGR of 9.79% throughout this decade, RFID will be a 23.37B USD market.

RFID at Present:

At present, RFID system employs a RFID tag, antenna and a RFID reader to communicate and transfer data via radio frequency signals. 

It’s a wireless AIDC technology that is capable of capturing data, identifying and tracking objects, animals etc.

It’s worth pointing out that global retail market has been the biggest beneficiary of RFID technology due to its high returns on investments, from using it at POS (point of sale) to preventing shoplifting, from taking stock of the inventory to inventory control and stock replenishments, from tracking suppliers’ shipments, missing stock to enhancing customer experience, the benefits are countless and the opportunities are immense.

How this RFID Smartphone tech works?

The technology is quite simple yet revolutionary. It uses a combination of smartphone’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities as both utilize radio frequency to function. 

When a chip based RFID tag, as mentioned earlier, comes within a range of few feet of a smartphone, the phone’s LTE signal powers the tag and then the smartphone sends a Bluetooth interrogating signals to the tag. The tag responds by sending back a Wi-Fi signal to the smartphone, which might contain the data encoded in the tag.

The information could be anything ranging from product manufacturing details to story behind the product. It could be a unique id to identify the product or a code for tracking needs.

What are the benefits of this RFID smartphone system?

The RFID system itself has many benefits in tracking and identification. British forces in 1944, WWII used RFID to identify enemy war-crafts from the allies. The technology is getting cheaper by the day, implementation charges are coming down as well but this smartphone RFID system will completely change how we see RFID. It wouldn’t be limited to big businesses but small businesses like grocery stores, local pharmacy, small schools and libraries can also utilized RFID much in the line of BLE, which also uses a smart-phone’s Bluetooth signals to transmit data to consumers.

The important thing is, it’s not your typical RFID yet it gives an experience of a RFID system and that is the whole reason behind this; Enabling a cost effective RFID like system for small businesses with less areas to cover for tracking and identification needs.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Last updated on Mar 06, 2023
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