31 Jan 2022 Ankit Chadha

What Is RFID and How Does It Work?

RFID | TRC Consulting

First things first, what is RFID?

It is an acronym used for 'Radio Frequency Identification and refers to a technology where digital data that is encoded in RFID tags, also known as smart labels, are decoded and scanned by a reader through radio waves. Similar to barcoding, RFID involves capturing data from a tag or label with the help of a device. This device runs a scan or reads the tag to store information in a database.

RFID has many advantages over organizations that have barcode asset tracking software. One of the most significant ones is the fact that you can scan RFID tags outside the line of sight. While when it comes to barcodes, you must align them perfectly with an optical scanner to record data. So, if you are willing and planning to expand your business, switching to RFID technology is a great idea.

RFID Technology Benefits:  

Now that you can answer the question, what is RFID? You must also be aware of the benefits to incorporate this technology into your system. Here are a few RFID technology benefits that you must know of:

Simplifies Tracking Inventory and Asset Management

Tracking, managing assets and inventory are quite a challenge for most organizations. It involves tracing components on a production line, dispatching finished products, collecting returned industrial containers or tools, laptops, and other types of equipment of high value that frequently go missing. Radio Frequency Identification offers a prompt and reliable way to track them without having to count each item manually.

Save Time and Money with RFID

Since RFID applications can automatically track the movement of goods and upload the information to the ERP or fiscal management system, you can save a significant amount of time and money that you can utilize for other core functions of your organization. A significant RFID benefit is that it completely excludes the need for manual form filling and substitutes any outdated spreadsheets.

With everything being automatic, RFID leaves no scope for human errors since everything from collecting the data to storing it is done electronically. Radio Frequency Identification cloud-based systems let everyone in the organization see up-to-date data on the location and the status of items. This data can also be shared with customers (if needed).

Enhancing Health and Safety with RFID

RFID also enables you to keep track of the inspection of the assets. For instance, it keeps a log of when was the last assessment of the equipment/vehicles took place or when the assessment is due. If something is not assessed or is not up to the mark, you can restrict its use for safety purposes.

Increased Revenues with RFID

RFID improves the organization's inventory management system, and at the same time, it helps you bring competitive differentiation in the market by increasing customer satisfaction and creating more opportunities for higher sales and improved margins.

Types Of RFID

Apart from these benefits of RFID, to get an in-depth understanding of this revolutionary technology, you must know its type to know exactly what is RFID. There are two RFID types:

Active RFID

Active RFID tags use an onboard battery that powers the tag, just like how toll tags work. This enables them to have longer read ranges, and they are typically more prominent in size and more expensive as well. However, since active tags need a power source to function, these tags usually have shorter lifespans.

Passive RFID

Passive tags do not need a power source; thus, they are called 'passive'. Instead of a power source, the reader interrogating the passive tag sends a signal that activates the tag that reflects the energy to the reader with its tag ID and any stored information. These tags are comparatively less expensive and can be laminated into a label or attached in a rugged configuration for metal surfaces or durable applications.

How does RFID work?

There are three main components of every RFID system: a scanning antenna, a transceiver, and a transponder. The RFID reader alone consists of the scanning antenna, a transceiver. These two are combined to form a Radio Frequency Identification reader or interrogator. There are also two types of RFID readers:

  • fixed readers
  • and mobile readers

The RFID reader is a portable or permanently attached network-connected device that uses radio waves to broadcast signals that activate the tag. Once the tag is activated, it transmits a wave back to the antenna, converting it into data.

Now, what is a transponder? A transponder is the RFID tag itself. The read range for RFID tags differs based on factors including the type of tag, type of reader, RFID frequency and interference in the surrounding environment or from other RFID tags and readers.

Challenges That You Might Have to Face With RFID 

RFID is susceptible to two main concerns:

Reader collision: 

Reader collision when a signal from one RFID reader affects the second reader. This can be avoided by using an anti-collision protocol to make RFID tags take turns transmitting to their concerned reader.

Tag collision: 

Tag collision happens when too many tags confuse an RFID reader and send out data at the same time. You can choose a reader that collects tag data one at a time and avoid this issue.

How Can TRC Corporate Consulting Help You with Asset Management and RFID?

At TRC Corporate Consulting, we have proven knowledge and expertise in overseeing large-scale and complex projects within agreed time schedules. Our fixed-asset management consultants deliver solutions for many inventory management solutions, including asset verificationphysical verification reconciliation, etc. Our priority is always to ensure that you get precise results within given timelines. We are recognized for determining the best practices for fixed asset management services. For more queries or understanding, contact our team!

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