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What is RFID?

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. Some tags require no battery & are powered & read at short ranges via magnetic fields (electromagnetic induction)  passive tags. Others use a local power source and emit radio waves (electromagnetic radiation) at radio frequencies active tags. The tag contains electronically stored information which may be read from up to several meters away. Unlike a bar code, the tag does not need to be within line of sight of the reader and may be embedded in the tracked object.

RFID is in use all around us. If you have ever chipped your pet with an ID tag, used EZPass through a toll booth, or paid for gas using SpeedPass, you've used RFID. In addition, RFID is increasingly used with biometric technologies for security.

Applications

  • Asset management: RFID is being adopted for item-level retail uses.
  • Inventory systems: Help the company to ensure the security of the inventory. With the just in time tracking of inventory through RFID, the computer data can show whether the inventory stored in the warehouse is correct with quantity currently.
  • Product tracking: Product tracking applications begins with plant-based production processes.
  • Access control: RFID tags are widely used in identification badges, replacing earlier magnetic stripe cards. These badges need only be held within a certain distance of the reader to authenticate the holder.
  • Promotion tracking: To prevent retailers diverting products, manufacturers are exploring the use of RFID tags on promoted merchandise so that they can track exactly which product has sold through the supply chain at fully discounted prices.
  • Transportation and logistics: Logistics and transportation are major areas of implementation for RFID technology. Yard management, shipping and freight and distribution centers use RFID tracking technology. In the railroad industry, RFID tags mounted on locomotives and rolling stock identify the owner, identification number and type of equipment and its characteristics. This can be used with a database to identify the lading, origin, destination, etc. of the commodities being carried
  • Transportation payments: RFID tags can be used to pay for mass transit fares on bus, trains, or subways, or to collect tolls on highways. The Zipcar car-sharing service uses RFID cards for locking and unlocking cars and for member identification
  • Other applications:
    • Payment by mobile phone
    • Infrastructure management and protection