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Radio Frequency Identification - (RFID)

The emergence of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has important implications for businesses, consumers, as well as policymakers. Companies are turning to RFID to track products, manage warehouse inventory and to stock retail shelves. Consumers are using RFID tags when they travel on highways, purchase gas and groceries, and protect their pets. RFID also has significant potential as a public safety and anti-counterfeiting tool. As the cost of RFID chips declines, new applications of this exciting technology would emerge.

Advantages of RFID over barcodes

The area of RFID application in commercial space overlaps with that of barcode hence the comparison between the two.
The following are some advantages of RFID over barcode:
RFID does not require line-of-sight to read and write the tag data.
RF signals are capable of travelling through a wide array of non-metallic materials.
RFID tags can be encased in hardened plastic coatings making them extremely durable and able to be tracked through harsh production processes.
RFID tags are able to support read/write operations, enabling real-time information updates as a tagged item moves through the supply chain.
While a barcode once printed cannot be re-used, the writable RFID tags can be re-used with new data.
Business Benefits of RFID
Business benefits of RFID solutions across supply chain include:
Optimal inventory and avoidance of over/under stocks
Phenomenal savings on labor costs
Real-time visibility and enhanced responsiveness
Reduces receiving and delivery cycles
Enhanced customer satisfaction
Reduction in theft and counterfeit
In addition, RFID tags hold much more data than barcode labels. The tag can be programmed to hold information such as an item’s serial number, colour, size, manufacture date and current price, as well as a list of all distribution points the item touched before arriving at a store.
Although retail giants like Wal-Mart, Metro, Tesco and CPG majors like Unilever, P&G and Gillette are in the news and currently drive the mass implementation in concentrating on the supply chain, RFID has been successfully implemented in a variety of other areas like automotive manufacturing, pharmaceutical, livestock, government and military operations.
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