The extent to which technology has changed human living standards is immeasurable. Take a close look around you and you’ll realize that we are surrounded with technological inventions. From entering our offices(smart access control) and smart homes equipped with smart lighting, smart tv, smart kitchen appliances and smart sensing showers to getting out in our smart cars, you can think of anything and technology is available to help make your life easy.
Talking about technologies of the day, IoT (Internet of Things), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, proximity sensors, RFID, NFC, BLE, AIDC, UWB (Ultra Wide Band), GPS (Global Positioning System) are some of the prominent ones that we see all around us. IoT and RFID, in particular, have an overarching presence on our everyday lives.
Use of RFID is mostly limited to asset tracking and identification uses and retail businesses are the biggest employer of UHF RFID with retail RFID market at USD 11336.52 million in 2022 which is anticipated to reach USD 18958.47 million by the year 2028. The RFID market is also expected to reach 35.6 billion USD by 2030 from current 18.45B USD market size in 2023. However, RFID also finds many applications in everyday life, more so with Apple Inc., Google, and Samsung integrating UWB (Ultra Wide Band) into their smartphones where you can track items and open your car doors automatically from afar.
What is RFID technology?
RFID, short for Radio Frequency Identification is a short range wireless technology which uses RF signals to identify and track objects. It is a popular AIDC technology which literally means Auto Identification and Data Capture. In order to track an object, you need to tag it with an RFID tag and whenever the item is in the range of an RFID reader, it can send the encoded data (RFID tag is encoded with unique codes to identify the object) in the form of RF signals. The RFID reader then decodes the data for the end users.
With unique identification it does feel like Barcode but unlike barcode, RFID doesn’t need a clear line of sight to scan a tag and it is more accurate, efficient and secure than a barcode. Moreover, it can be encoded with more data than a 1D barcode.
RFID technology is commonly found in everyday life, mainly in supply chain management and asset tracking. However, RFID has other unique use cases as followings:
Smart Packaging with RFID
You can use RFID tags on packaging to provide information about the products inside, such as expiration dates and temperature conditions, allowing you to know about the package without touching it.
Track your dog with RFID tags
You can also use (implant) RFID tags on animals such as your dog, cat, or cattle to identify and track them. This is quite useful to protect animals in case of emergencies.
RFID is also helping farmers and veterinarians in managing their herds better for it provides an efficient livestock tracking solution.
RFID for Access Control System
RFID tags can be used for access control systems where employees can gain access to secure areas by using their RFID badge. This is a fit case for everyday use of RFID in smart offices and buildings as access control is a serious issue in big offices and employees waste of lot of time explaining security guards that they work in certain office.
RFID in Retail stores
Another fit case for everyday life RFID use is retail shopping stores and it is quite apparent when we go shopping. Use of RFID in shopping carts, apparel and at POS (Point of sale) allows us to shop quickly. At POS, staff can scan the whole cart without having to scan each item one by one. Apart from that RFID tags can be used in retail stores for inventory management, theft prevention, and customer tracking.
Library Books Management with RFID
RFID tags can also be placed on the books that are checked out of libraries to help with inventory management and prevent theft. This also results in seamless library visiting experience where you don’t have to argue with the staff and enjoy reading and check in and check out easily.
Medical Equipment Tracking with RFID
RFID tags can be placed on medical equipment to track their location and movement, making it easier for healthcare providers to manage their inventory. Use of RFID technology in healthcare is quite beneficial for visiting patients as well as RFID provides better patient outcomes, be it access, health records or billing.
Apart from that, RFID also prevents frauds and counterfeiting in medicines, vaccines, and medical instruments as RFID provides a unique ID that can be traced for authenticity.
Hospitality and RFID
Hotels can use RFID technology in room keys to allow guests access to their rooms, as well as to track the movement of cleaning staff and manage inventory. It not only results in seamless experience for visitors but also better service by hotel staffs.
It is now obvious that RFID tags are used in various different industries for a multitude of purposes. RFID allows for more efficient tracking and management of assets, reduces labor hours, and increases accuracy over traditional methods such as barcoding.
- Last updated on Jun 22, 2023