Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies have come a long way since their original designs, which were meant to identify aircraft as friend or foe during World War II. The first true predecessor of modern RFID received a patent in 1973 and showed promise to select industries such as transportation, banking, security, and healthcare. Specific applications such as automatic toll systems, electronic credit cards, and personnel identification were just the beginning of a technological revolution that touches nearly every sector of today’s society.

How Do RFID Tags Work?

RFID belongs to a broad technological grouping called Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). This includes technologies such as QR and bar codes, biometric identification, and voice recognition. Each method automatically identifies objects, images, light, or sounds and collects their data, storing it directly into a digital system without any human involvement. RFID systems accomplish this using radio waves in either a passive or active capacity. Passive RFID tags require power from the reading device in order to transmit their stored data, and so remain effectively inactive until someone reads them. Active RFID tags contain their own source of power and electronics which allows them to consistently transmit data—and at much greater distances than passive tags. Both types have their ideal applications, but industries more commonly use passive tags as they are typically smaller and less expensive to use in large scale operations.

What are the Benefits of RFID?

Barcodes are rapidly becoming obsolete. When it comes to improving operational efficiency, RFID technologies are unrivaled in their effectiveness. While barcodes allow businesses to track their inventory at fixed intervals, RFID can track just about anything, including forklifts, supply trucks, and other valuable assets that pass through a facility—all continuously in real-time. This provides invaluable and solid insights into the status of a diverse range of concerns, which ultimately prevents errors, streamlines business processes, and leads to better and more accurate business decisions.