Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology; Why is RFID Technology better than Bar Code Technology?
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology. Introduction
There are high chances of RFID technology completely replacing traditional labeling technologies such as bar codes in the near future. This is because of the numerous advantages of the RFID as compared to barcodes, thus making RFID most preferred for added identification value (Ilie-Zudor et al., 2006).
RFID versus Barcodes, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology
RFID technology involves the affixing of a tag to a product for purposes of identifying and tracking the product through radio waves. It consists of a scanning antenna, a transceiver with a decoder for interpreting data, and an RFID tag referred to as a transponder which is pre-set with information (Roberts, 2006). The antenna is designed to send radio frequency signals to the transponder. A barcode, on the other hand, represents visual data which has been scanned and interpreted for information. Every barcode has a particular code operating as a tracking tool for products. A barcode is represented via a sequence of lines or any other preferred shape. Barcodes can be scanned by barcode readers alongside newer technology on devices such as desktop printers and smart phones.
RFID is better than barcodes because of a number of reasons. First, RFID tags operate faster than barcode scans. In a research conducted by the Life Apex Corporation (2014) where the capture of an inventory of 12 pill bottles was timed against the use of tradition pen and paper method, barcode scan, and RFID scan. Whereas the pen and paper method took 2 minutes and 16 seconds to complete, barcode scanning took 37.9 seconds, while RFID scanning took one second to read all the 12 tags. Essentially, RFID is capable of reading approximately 40 tags at the same time.
The second advantage of RFID is that it provides for accurate inventories in adverse circumstances. The fact that RFID technology uses near-field technology instead of laser-based line-of-sight places it in a better place to accurately scan a pallet or box consisting of many tagged items (Roberts, 2006). In addition, whereas a barcode needs to be attached to a scanning lesser at every point in a warehouse, storeroom or entire facility, RFID antennas and scanners can be efficiently used in such a scenario for passive and automatic registration of inventory movement.
The third reason for consideration of RFID technology is that it guarantees accuracy in most real-world situations. Employees in most busy tool cribs, shipping centers and warehouses charged with the use of identification systems have found that the line-of-sight, one-by-one barcode technology is slower and less convenient compared to the use of RFID. The accuracy of RFID tags is indicated by their ability to read information from a greater distance than bar codes. It is possible to accurately read information using RFID from as far as 300 feet away. Barcodes can only read information within a range of 15 feet. RFID tags are also very efficient in harsh environment such as high temperatures, moisture, around chemicals, and outdoors.
Fourth, when considering the identification technology to be used, the aspect of security is very vital. Every business would prefer to utilize technology that guarantees security for confidential information. RFID technology offers high levels of security due to the ability to encrypt data, use passwords for protection, or remove data permanently using the “kill” feature. Barcodes, on the other hand, are less secure since they can be easily forged or reproduced.
Fifth, the efficiency of technology is based on whether it is labor intensive. Once an RFID technology has been set up, it can operate effectively with minimal human participation, thus reducing on labor costs and human errors (Kaur et al., 2011). Thus, an organization using RFID does not have to worry about the extra labor costs required for operation of the technology. Barcodes, on the other hand, are quite demanding in terms of labor costs as they need to be scanned individually.
Lastly, another aspect that makes RFID tags better than barcodes is that they carry large data capabilities such as expiry dates, shipping histories, product maintenance, and even measurements of environmental factors such as temperature. The information can be programmed to the RFID tag. Barcodes do not contain read and write capabilities. They only have information on the product and manufacturer.
The main argument against RFID has been the fact that it is costly. According to Kaur and colleagues (2011), RFID tags are not as cheap as conventional labeling technologies such as barcodes, but they guarantee added value. Today, the use of RFID is growing in size due to its efficiency in large-scale adoption for management of consumer retail goods. Additionally, with the ongoing efforts to lower the costs of RFID, once the cost component falls low enough, RFID will become the most attractive economic proposition for both small-scale and large-scale enterprises.
Conclusion, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology
Most large-scale enterprises have switched from traditional identification technologies to RFID technology which guarantees more effectiveness, efficiency and accuracy. Despite the large costs involved in their set up, RFID tags are still preferred due to the fact that they save time, reduce on labor costs and human errors, guarantees more security, and can process more data compared to barcodes. Give us an opportunity to research for you!
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology References
Ilie-Zudor, E., Kemeny, Z., Egri, P., & Monostori, L. (2006, September). The RFID technology and its current applications. In Conference proceedings of the modern information technology in the innovation processes of the industrial enterprises (MITIP), ISBN (pp. 963-86586).
Kaur, M., Sandhu, M., Mohan, N., & Sandhu, P. S. (2011). RFID technology principles, advantages, limitations & its applications. International Journal of Computer and Electrical Engineering, 3(1), 151.
Life Apex Corporation. (2014). Life Sciences – Pen and Paper and Barcode vs. RFID. Youtube Video. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYJZbtXnBJM
Roberts, C. M. (2006). Radio frequency identification (RFID). Computers & security, 25(1), 18-26.