RFID, Applications and Limitations

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is the use of memory chip along with antenna to save and transmit information. RFID is a tag that is attached to a product, animal, or even a person for the purpose of identification via radio waves. Unlike barcode, traditional identification

technology that barcode reader can read the barcode one at a time, RFID reader reads hundreds of tags within fraction of second. From the first use of RFID for tracking the chassis carriers of General Motors, many companies considered this new technology to develop their organization.           Photo Credit

Nowadays, RFID technology is used for wide range of application, from pets’ identification, to anti-theft systems and supply chain management. RFID chips can be embedded under a dog or a cat’s skin for the permanent identification; or it can be attached to an expensive instrument to scan and track the object after theft. Automatic identification (Auto-ID) is a new technology that uses RFID chips to collect data and store it in a cloud based computer system without direct human involvement. Walmart as the world’s largest retailer have employed this technology to cut costs in order to save money for its customer to live better. In order to track Walmart pallets, RFID tags are attached to pallets. Anytime pallets pass a gate, RFID readers capture the time of departure, destination and continents of each pallet. This data will be stored in clouding system of Walmart, and then supply chain managers of Walmart are capable of accessing all shipment progress by logging into their accounts.

The most serious shortcoming of RFID is privacy. Anyone with an equipped RFID receiver is capable of accessing RFID content and read its data, as an example, this issue gets out of control when military vehicles are scanned by the other side. For the use of supply chain, the implementation of RFID is still expensive. That’s why the decision of RFID implementation is more a business decision rather than technological one. The last issue that limits the wide use of RFIDs is the fact that RFID reader should be enough close to RFID to read data. This especially limits the use of RFID compared to GPS systems for anti-theft purposes.


Author: Amin Sabzehzar

MBA student Mechanical Engineer University of Nevada, Reno

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