There are two types of RFID systems: passive and active. For those unfamiliar with RFID, you may be curious about the distinctions between these types and which one suits your application best. In the following, we offer a brief explanation.
What is RFID tag?
RFID tags are a form of tracking system utilizing smart barcodes to identify items. RFID, an abbreviation for "radio frequency identification," employs radio frequency technology. These radio waves transmit data from the tag to a reader, which then relays the information to an RFID computer program. While commonly used for merchandise, RFID tags also find applications in tracking vehicles, pets, and patients with Alzheimer’s disease. An RFID tag may also be referred to as an RFID chip.
Active RFID vs. Passive RFID
Passive RFID systems utilize tags without an internal power source, drawing power from the electromagnetic energy transmitted by an RFID reader. These tags are employed in applications such as access control, file tracking, race timing, supply chain management, and smart labels. The lower cost per tag makes passive RFID systems economically viable for various industries.
Active RFID systems use battery-powered RFID tags continuously broadcasting their own signal. Frequently employed as "beacons" to accurately track real-time asset locations or in high-speed environments like tolling, active tags offer a longer read range but come at a higher cost.
The Role of RFID in New Retail Supply Chains
The evolution of new retail trends globally, particularly in China, is driving the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. RFID, with its ability to encode digital data in tags or smart labels, is gaining significance. Initially hindered by cost concerns and a lack of global standards, RFID is now finding its place in the new retail sector. As accuracy in data and inventory planning becomes crucial in omnichannel retailing, RFID's technical characteristics make it suitable for these demands.
Retail plays a pivotal role in propelling the RFID industry's growth, representing around 10% of the 15 billion ultra-high frequency RFID tags globally. RFID is increasingly addressing challenges in retail supply chains related to visibility and accuracy. The technology enables an interactive in-store experience, offering details on products and facilitating automated checkout. By optimizing distribution and sales procedures through RFID and big data analysis, the retail sector is enhancing customer experiences.
RFID is particularly valuable for the younger demographic, providing detailed and trackable information about product provenance. While QR codes are considered alternatives to RFID, both technologies can coexist, with RFID optimizing supply chains and QR codes enhancing consumer interaction.
In addition to retail, technology applications are expanding to the smart home industry, hospitals, and education as part of the broader Internet of Things trend.