Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is a proven technology that provides numerous solutions for companies: contactless payment, managing physical assets, protecting those assets, and more. Here is a definition of RFID, how it works, its applications and its benefits.
RFID is the acronym for Radio Frequency Identification. It is a technology that uses high frequency radio waves to transmit and remember data, with the aim of providing objects, animals, or people with a unique identity.
The first applications of RFID go all the way back to the 1930s, when the British wanted to be able to tell the difference between Allied aircraft and the enemy on their radar in real time. The technology then evolved to become the RFID we recognise today. It is used for tracking objects, contactless payments, and more.
Radio frequency identification is very useful in numerous applications, particularly the Internet of Things and Big Data. Physically, an RFID tag is most often a flat square (like a patch) with an antenna and an electronic chip on a substrate.
Each RFID system is made up of three parts:
The scanning antenna and the emitter-receiver together make up the RFID reader, or RFID interrogator. This can be fixed or mobile and is connected to a communication network. The transponder (label or tag) is an RFID chip that is activated by the energy generated by the radio waves emitted by the reader. The reader interrogates the transponder, which sends back the data requested.
The tags can be passive, active, or semi-active:
Note that several frequency bands can be used and that the highest can be used to increase both the signalling speed and the volume of data.
The signalling distance between RFID readers and tags can vary from a few centimetres to several metres. Some RFID readers and their RFID tags can be used for checks at distances of up to 200 metres. So, the applications can vary enormously.
RFID technology was first used by the military. Then, following its development, it was applied in the private sector, especially in industry from the 1980s after the invention of the microprocessor (electronic chip).
RFID systems are a solution that can make everyday life easier:
RFID technology is also being used for the new generation of biometric passports and identity cards.
The system is also very widely used in industrial and commercial sectors. In commerce there are numerous mechanisms based on RFID that are used for:
In the industrial sector there are many benefits:
Like all technologies, RFID offers benefits, for instance: