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What is RFID technology?

Question:

Discuss about the Implementation of RFID technology by the US Company.

RFID is an acronym that stands for radio-frequency identification (Kesh, 2017). The acronym refers to an electronic device that contains an antenna and a small chip. The chip has the capability of carrying around 2,000 bytes of data. It is a technology where the digital data is encoded in RFID tags and are captured through the radio waves by a reader. This technology is nearly same as that of the bar coding where the data is captured from a label that stores data in any database. RFID is more popular than that of the bar codes because of its advantages over the systems that use the bar code tracking software. The most significant factor of RFID is that the data can be read outside the line-of-sight where the bar codes have alignment with the optical scanner (Tucker, Darcy & Stantic, 2014).

The different types of RFIDs are the active, passive and bap RFID. The active RFID systems have tags where it has its own transmitter and power source. Active tags for the transmission of the information that are stored in the microchips broadcast the signals (Leavitt et al., 2017). Two types of active tags are beacons are transponders. The transponders respond when it receives a radio signal from the reader and sends a signal back.

Passive RFID systems operate in the low frequency, ultra-high frequency as well as in the high frequency radio bands (Hsu & Huang, 2013). The range of passive RFID system is limited because of the backscatter of the tag where the radio signal is reflected to the reader from the tag. It only requires a tag chip, an antenna, and no transmitter.  Passive RFIDs are mounted on substrates and sandwiched between a paper level and adhesive layer.  

BAP or Battery Assisted Passive systems help in incorporation of the crucial active tag features. BAP tags make use of the integrated power supply to bring power on the chip. The captured energy taken from the reader is used as backscatter. BAP tags do not contain own transmitters.  

There are tracking problems regarding assets that are solved by RFID technology (Holy, Bilek & Voparil, 2014). A sophisticated technology helps in tracking assets effectively by mitigating any form of risks. The technology helps in attaching the RFID tags by storing information electronically in the small microchips. The problems and their solutions have been discussed below.

Types of RFID technology

There is a problem when an asset is not found in the warehouse and RFID technology gives a solution. The equipments are not stored in the correct manner and timeliness becomes very critical. These problems are solved by active as well as passive RFID. There are batteries in the active RFID tags that work all the time. Ultra-wide band RFID tags help in the location of the assets in the warehouse on the basis of the signals from many readers (Bisio, Sciarrone & Zappatore, 2016).

Many companies are having multiple warehouses. RFID helps in finding out the assets from the warehouses (Roper, Sedehi & Ashuri, 2015). This system in conjunction with the global positioning system tags, Wi-Fi RFID tags and satellite GPS tags are used in the outdoors to know the building where the asset is in. Proper application of the RFID technology helps in the delivery of the assets on time.

There are problems with bar codes and QR codes that are solved by RFID codes. Barcodes readers are required a direct line of sight for the printed barcode whereas the readers for RFID do not requires a direct line of sight (Singh & Mahajan, 2017). The readers of RFID are able to are able to interrogate and read the RFID tags faster than the barcodes. Another problem with the barcode is that the range is very less for reading and this problem is mitigated by RFID, which can read at long distances. Another problem with the barcode is that it has no reading or writing capability. RFID readers are able to communicate freely using the codes and tags.

QR codes on the other hand, lack the automation ability for the purpose of proximity scanning. The line of sight is another drawback of QR codes that are solved by RFID codes.   

There are certain limitations of RFID technology that have been discussed below. Many scientists are working hard to mitigate the issues regarding RFID.

There has been a limitation regarding the standardization of the RFID code. The Auto-ID center along with the Uniform Code Council and EAN International is trying to set some standardized electronic product code but it has not yet been standardized.  The solution can be setting up a standard regarding the RFID code at the earliest that can be abide by every organization.

The physical limitation includes reading through the metals and liquids. This poses a serious challenge for the users of this technology. Killer tags, Sleeping tags and Faraday Cage are the solutions of the physical security problems of RFID codes.

Advantages of RFID technology over bar codes and QR codes

The cost of the RFID tags relies on their types. The prices of the active as well as the passive RFID tags acts as hindrances that allows the economic application for scanning high-value goods for long ranges. QR codes are cheaper than the RFID codes and can be used in many cases.

This is another important limitation to be considered in case of RFID technology. In an attempt to read, multiple tags at the same time may lead to signal collision and data loss at the end. Anti-collision algorithms are used for the prevention of all these art extra costs. The solution can be that the RFID code should be programmed in such a way that the given tag should be read only once in every session. 

There are problems with RFID regarding frequency. Radar malfunctioning is an important factor to be considered in this case. This cannot be avoided completely and alternative measures cannot be taken when required. Adverse environmental conditions as well as improper placement may lead to corrupt reading. There are certain cases like absorption and external signal sources such as security systems, barcode scanners and cordless phones have the chances of introduction of reading errors. The solution for this should be to audit the frequency spectrums that have been used by the devices within the environment of deployment. Review of the performances of the RFID components and the RFID systems helps in mitigating the problem.


Other limitations are that it is very difficult to understand the technology and can be less reliable at times. The tags are specific to the applications and there are no tags that fit all. There is a chance that more than one tag may respond at the same time and it will be a problem. The tags of RFID are larger than the labels of barcodes. The active tags are very expensive in comparison to the passive tags.

GAP used the RFID platform effectively. There were item-level RFID trials in the company. There was problem initially with the RFID as it was unable to deliver 100 percent read rate on clothing items. Two interrogator antennas were installed along with the other ones. They were able to achieve the necessary level of reading accuracy. The inventory accuracy level of the US company was able to achieve 99.6 percent. It helped in increasing the sales of the company and improving the in-store inventory.

Limitations of RFID technology

RFID has changed the retail landscape and brought radical changes. It helps in tacking the high-end products for the accurate inventory level. Beacon technology helps in the efforts of in-store digital marketing (Hofacker et al., 2016). It also provides assistance in assessing the effectiveness of displays, layout of the stores and endcaps in real-time. RFID also gives the intelligence required for the effective management of the inventory.

RFID also helped the banking sector to succeed in various ways like applications in the cheques between the banks, customer relationship management, money transferring system, tracking and tracing, and reduction of manual operation, contactless smartcards, phone banking, security establishment and identification of people. The data are stored in the RFID tags that are attached with the Smart cards of the customers. The data can be read easily using the radio signals.


RFID has helped the hospitality industry by improving the operational efficiencies and enhancing the guest experiences of an organization (Cobos et al., 2016).  RFID helps in tracking many items with accuracy in unlimited ways.   

Conclusion

The report has inferred about the RFID technology that is very popular in organizations irrespective of any industry. It has discussed about the working principle of RFID technology in depth that gives an insight into how the different parts like active, passive and BAP works. Some of the technical and business problems have been taken into account and their solutions have been stated. The implementation of RFID technology by the US company, GAP helps us to know about how the company has been successful in its inventory management using the technology. The success factors of the retail, hospitality and the banking industries because of the implementation of RFID technology have been taken into account in the report. This report put forward the advantages and the necessity of RFID technology and the areas that need to be addressed to make the technology more user-friendly.

References

Bisio, I., Sciarrone, A., & Zappatore, S. (2016). A new asset tracking architecture integrating RFID, Bluetooth Low Energy tags and ad hoc smartphone applications. Pervasive and Mobile Computing, 31, 79-93.

Cobos, L. M., Mejia, C., Ozturk, A. B., & Wang, Y. (2016). A technology adoption and implementation process in an independent hotel chain. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 57, 93-105.

Hofacker, C. F., De Ruyter, K., Lurie, N. H., Manchanda, P., & Donaldson, J. (2016). Gamification and mobile marketing effectiveness. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 34, 25-36.

Holy, R., Bilek, P., & Voparil, L. (2014). Electronic inventory in the university environment and automation using RFID technology. In Intelligent Green Building and Smart Grid (IGBSG), 2014 International Conference on(pp. 1-4). IEEE.

Hsu, H. T., & Huang, T. J. (2013). A koch-shaped log-periodic dipole array (LPDA) antenna for universal ultra-high-frequency (UHF) radio frequency identification (RFID) handheld reader. IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, 61(9), 4852-4856.

Kesh, S. (2017). Shopping By Blind People: Detection of Interactions in Ambient Assisted Living Environments using RFID. International Journal, 6(2).

Leavitt, M., Warner, M., Rea, D., Patel, K., & Wen, Y. (2017). U.S. Patent No. 9,534,738. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Roper, K. O., Sedehi, A., & Ashuri, B. (2015). A cost-benefit case for RFID implementation in hospitals: adapting to industry reform. Facilities, 33(5/6), 367-388.

Singh, M. N. K., & Mahajan, P. (2017). Application of RFID technology in libraries. Modern Technologies for Reshaping Libraries in the Digital Era, 70.

Tucker, S., Darcy, P., & Stantic, B. (2014). A comparative study of RFID technology measuring efficiency and acceptance when capturing attendance. In Proceedings of the Thirty-Seventh Australasian Computer Science Conference-Volume 147 (pp. 75-79). Australian Computer Society, Inc..

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