So continuing on with a bit of an RFID theme today I have collated all the most common questions about RFID that we get and have really turned that into a bit of a myth buster!  Here they are below:

1. Stock taking in 5 seconds!

Oh really this has just got to be the one that comes up time and time again.  If I buy an RFID reader, buy my tags off Ebay and tag everything up in my warehouse, then all I have to do is walk up and down the middle of my warehouse and the stock take is done!  Sure we’ve all seen how Marks & Spencer’s Per Una range do it but there’s always zillions of pounds investment in system like that and they still don’t really come close.  The reality is you’ll get 5M at most, you have to us expensive UHF RFID to do even this and then you’ll need a hefty evaluation of your warehouse, costly software to ensure collisions and errors are handled and you’re still miles away.  Don’t aim for this, it’s a myth!

2. RFID deployment is simple like barcoding

In fact many people get unstuck with barcodes when they find out they’re breaking barcode integrity and they don’t scan properly and RFID is even more difficult to get right.  COntrary to belief, an RFID system needs to be empirical.  This means you need to try, test evaluate and change to ensure you get the right kit all working together.  We’ve made th mistake here of trying to certify tags with certain readers/writers and whilst this is still a worthwhile exercise for us, it still doesn’t guarantee that in a different scenario things will work fine.  There are tags for all situations, some readers are better in certain scenarios than others and an experienced RFID provider will help you through all of this up front.

3.  RFID is cheap

It’s getting cheaper all the time and sure if you buy 1000 HF tags from Ebay you can get close to 20-30p per tag now but the truth is this will cost you dearly in the long run.  RFID is still expensive compared to Barcodes but it is slowly becoming understood better and being used in innovative ways that make it cost-effective. It’s going to be cheap but not quite yet!

4. All tags can be read by 1 reader

See the last article on RFID Types.  LF, HF and UHF equipment is all physically different, a little bit like Bluetooth and WiFi and none of the kit is compatible.  Add to this there are all kinds of standards within each type and manufacturers can also lock down chips, readers and standards of their own.  The truth is you need to carefully select your reader/write equipment and tags together.

5. RFID is just the new barcode but in a chip

This couldn’t be further from the truth.  RFID “Can” be used as a simple ID data capture technology but its also far more.  You can use it to track location (think about your passport), create secure entry exit points, it can be used as a security system, payments systems, it’s used on Toll road pay points and the chips will hold far more complex information and can be used in your software to do far more complex things.  This is where RFID is really pushing the envelope.

6. RFID is new, an emerging technology and isn’t quite ready yet

The truth is that the technology has been around for over 70 years now, it’s mature, robust and flexible.  In the right hands it’s a fantastic technology that can save £1000’s or create wonderful solutions.  Yes its a little bit expensive when compared to other technologies but the truth is it’s ready…..Are you?

The moral of the story here is, like with barcodes, to get a really decent solution that will see you through years of efficiency, you need to understand that RFID is not just about the tags and readers…..there’s a lot more to it than that.

Tomorrow we’ll look at all the areas you need to take into consideration when creating an RFID solution.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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