RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a technology that is used for detection, tracking and identification of products and things. The technology is based on storing data in a RFID tag, and wireless reading of these data with a RFID reader using radio waves.
The benefit of the RFID technology, vis-à-vis many other automatic identification methods, is readability of objects remotely, quickly, while maintaining data protection. Enclosed tags withstand rough handling and can preserve their usability for dozens of years. Moreover, tags can carry a large body of information.
A RFID tag can be integrated in a product at its manufacturing stage or, alternatively, be added to the designated object subsequently e.g. with adhesive tape. The core idea of the system is simple: a RFID tag is attached to the designated object, data is written to and read from the tag with a RFID reader, and utilised using the back-end system.
From a number of aspects the RFID technology is comparable with a bar code. An object is supplied with a tag that tells something about the object. However, the difference between RFID and a bar code lies in the fact that identification can take place without direct visual contact, i.e. for instance through packages or crates. Furthermore, it is possible to read dozens of RFID tags simultaneously, and their content can be altered in the course of the process. As opposed to this, bar codes can only be read one by one, and cannot be altered after they are printed out. Moreover, RFID tags can withstand dirty industrial conditions better than conventional bar codes.
RFID can be adapted to a number of different applications. They are used, inter alia, for monitoring of objects and processes, in logistics, movement and access control, retail sales and payment applications, as well as for identification and tracking of humans and animals. The potential range of applications is countless, and continued development of the technology only increases their number.