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Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) : Part1

Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID)

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automatic identification technology used to capture details of products as it is done using barcodes although there are a multitude of advantages in RFID than barcode reading. Technically speaking, using RFID technology, digital data is captured from RFID tags by a reader using radio waves. In simple terms, RFID is similar to bar code technology but uses radio waves to capture data from tags, rather than optically scanning the bar codes on a label.

RFID has been in the headlines due to the directives of major retailers like Walmart, Metro, Tesco, and US Department of Defense asking their major suppliers to attach RFID tags to products before shipping. RFID tag is a small electronic device that stores and transmits information when asked for. It basically comprises of a microchip (that stores the unique ID number that identifies an individual product) and tag antenna (that enables the microchip to transmit ID information to a reader).

A related initiative to RFID is the Electronic Product Code (EPC) which is a unique identifier of products globally. An EPC is a unique number that corresponds with an individual product unit (or container of products) and stored in RFID tag attached to each product. Unlike the current barcode, EPC identifies a product at an item level. EPCGlobal is the body entrusted with the standardization and adoption of EPCs globally.

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.


The Author Ishaq Quadri is the Delivery head at Binary Spectrum.


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