RFID has been around since 1970, but it s only now that the technology is being made and used cheaply and effectively. All the expensive appendages and heavy technology have been replaced by sophisticated, useful, cheap and handy technology like a reader and tags that can be read and overwritten.
There are 3 types of RFID tags, active, semi-passive and passive. These tags are cheap to produce and are small enough to be pasted on any item. RFID tags are also disposable and take only a few cents to create. This has been a revolution of sorts in industry and RFID has come to stay.
Active and semi-passive tags work on internal batteries. An active tag uses its battery to send signals to the reader, whereas a semi-active tag depends on the reader for power. These tags, Viz, active and semi-passive, contain more hardware and are therefore more expensive. These tags are used for expensive items and they also cover greater distances.
A railway car would have an active tag.
Passive tags rely entirely on the reader for signals. Signals for these tags can reach a distance of 20 feet. They are cheaper to produce and are used for less expensive items.
A bottle of shampoo would have a passive tag, which is disposable with the shampoo pack.
There are three types of data storage in RFID tags. These are read-write, read only and WORM (write once read many times). A read-write tag s data can be added to or overwritten. Read only tags have data that can only be read, not added to or overwritten. WORM tags can have additional data but cannot be overwritten.
Expect to see entire RFID tracking networks in the future. Tags will help manufacturers track their goods from the production plant right up to the recycling plant at the consumer end. Also RFID networks, coupled with the internet could provide solutions for depleting grocery items in your home. This is all possible with RFID technology. The item you purchase will have an RFID tag and readers in the store will take account of all your purchases. The same data will be available to the store s networks for re-ordering.
Once you reach home, your refrigerator will have RFID readers to assess the items you consume. This will enable you to re-stock or even check when your food items have spoiled. The grocery store will be in the loop of all your consumption and will communicate with you for all your specific personal needs. In order for this system to work, each product will be given a unique product number to track it down from the production to the recycling cycle.
RFID is a more effective and sophisticated way to track items and will soon be seen replacing the ubiquitous bar code technology. Sine RFID tags have read and over write facilities, they are a better bet than the traditional bar codes.