What is RFID?

RFID stands for Radio Frequency IDentification, a technology that uses tiny computer chips to track items at a distance. Tracked items can be products, assets, tools, equipment, or even live entities. The technology consists of two elements; scanners (or readers), and tags.

Scanners interpret tag's information and inform or update relevant software with the received data. They communicate with each other through the use of radio frequency broadcast. Scanners can be portable (handheld) or fixed. They are placed strategically in positions where we need to control the flow of tagged subjects.

Tags are simple circuits that contain information bits. Information can be plain simple like serial number, part number, identification or something similar in which case "passive" tags are used. When we need to store more complex and dynamic information, we use "active" tags. Those advanced tags, equipped with their own battery and sensors can monitor the conditions around them and inform us accordingly.

Where am I going to use it?

RFID technology is widely used almost everywhere. Common applications include: inventory handling, stock control, asset tracking, performance management, process optimization, access control and many more. In fact, there is no limit in the type of application. Any business can implement a fully customized solution according to the needs, type of information and the physical ecosystem they interact.

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RFID is a proven technology that's been around since at least the 1970s. Today 19 of the top 30 U.S. retailers are currently investigating, piloting or employing radio frequency identification with many more doing so in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

RFID technologies have already added $40 billion in benefit to the retail and health care sectors. This benefit has come from $4.4 billion in infrastructure investment in those sectors, implying a return on investment of over 900 percent. These early results reflect the promise of RFID technologies to fundamentally transform virtually every sector of the economy by enabling new business processes that would be economically infeasible with existing technologies and labour-intensive activities. In the retail sector alone, RFID is seeing rapid growth in apparel tagging, an application that consumed 2.25 billion RFID labels in 2013.

IDTechEx find that in 2013, the total RFID market is worth $7.88 billion, up from $6.98 billion in 2012, and growing to $9.2 billion in 2014. They also forecast the market to rise to $30.24 billion in 2024.


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