RFID - Radio Frequency IDentification


Radio-frequency identification or RFID is a radio-frequency technology used to 'tag' an object with a set of unique identifying data that can be read by an RFID tag reader.

What is RFID?

RFID is a technology that allows you to uniquely identify an object by storing information about that object in a very small inexpensive tag that is made up of a chip (or circuit) and antenna (aerial).

When an RFID tag reader comes within range of an RFID tag, it reads the information stored in the tag and displays it on it's screen, or monitor if the reader is attached to a computer.

The RFID tag is either powered by the electromagnetic field from the reader (passive) or by an internal battery (active) or a combination of both.

What is RFID used for?

Radio-frequency identification is mainly used in the tracking of inventory and is seen as a replacement to the barcode.

RFID can also be used for:

  • stock or product identification (per item or container of items)
  • IT asset tracking
  • medical device tracking
  • contactless payments
  • ticket payments
  • toll payments
  • animal identifcation and tracking
  • book tagging
  • human identification, access control and tracking
  • wireless information and advertising

Last word

RFID is one of many popular short-range wireless technologies currently being developed to replace or enhance existing information provision and tracking methods, and to speed-up activities such as stock control, quick payment services and access control.

RFID is being widely discussed not only in regards to it's benefits, but also in regards to it's infringements on privacy as it allows anything to be tagged and tracked.

RFID tags appear on a lot of items that we own, from passports, work badges and office computers, to items of clothing.

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Article date: 3rd March 2011

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