Wednesday, 07 April 2021 10:07

RFID Asset Tracking - What is it and how does it work?

By Guest Writer

Guest Opinion: With today's fast-paced life, keeping track of your to-do list and day-to-day tasks is hard enough. Imagine having to track factors of a full-time business such as Inventory tracking, mobile and fixed asset tracking, and supply chain management, to name a few.

Almost everyone carries a virtual 'to-do list on their phones these days, and despite that, we tend to lose track of tasks.

However, when it comes to a full-fledged business, losing track of even one factor can cause major loss to a company. This is where RFID technology comes into the picture as your rescuer.

What is RFID?

In simple words, RFID is a technology used by companies that own a huge amount of assets that require constant attention and vigilance. In today's world, time is money. With the help of RFID, one can cut downtime taking tasks that require human manual work and further use this time for better purposes.

How does it help? 

RFID technology comes into the picture and acts as an asset tracking system, so you are constantly aware of the information, whereabouts, and location of your items. Earlier, it would be hard to know if a few of your items went missing or ended up stolen. Even if you did find out, there was hardly much you could do to retrieve them other than lodge an official complaint and hope that you get back your items.

With the invention of the active RFID-based asset tracking system, one can not only know the exact location of their assets, but you can also identify and get information about the product if need be by the simple click of a button. This will save hours of time and increase the chances of recovering stolen or misplaced items significantly.

RFID also helps when it comes to handling supply chain management and scanning through multiple assets at the same time. Checking one item at a time would definitely take weeks to finish. But with RFID technology, you can scan thousands of assets within a matter of minutes, and unlike a barcode, RFID tags don't need to be within the view of a reader, which is why they can be easily embedded anywhere on or in your asset.

If one were to use manual human work to go through your entire company inventory, the chance of inaccuracy or discrepancies in numbers is a high possibility. But with RFID tags, you will not only maximise the accuracy of your inventory but also improve asset visibility.

How does RFID work?

Simply put, RFID works using electromagnetic fields. It is made up of a small radio responder, which consists of a radio transmitter and receiver. As of now, there are two types of RFID tags mainly:

Active RFID tags

Active RFID tags are battery-operated tags. Its mission is to constantly broadcast signals from time to time. They are often used when it comes to real-time location tracking or high-speed environments. These tags are known to provide a longer read range and are significantly higher in price compared to passive tags.

Passive RFID tags

Passive RFID tags have no power source internally and get powered up by electromagnetic energy from an actual RFID reader. More often used for supply chain management, tracking files, smart labelling, inventory stocking, quick information access, and a lot more. Due to the price of this type of tag being more economical, it is used a lot more by a variety of industries. However, of course, one would be compromising on a couple of factors that an Active RFID tag would have.

When the RFID tag receives the message, it responds back with its identification. Through this, you can get exact whereabouts or any other asset-related information such as unique tag serial numbers. You can also get product-related information such as manufacturing date, expiry date, stock number, serial number, batch number, and endless more information. Whether your assets are mobile or fixed, with the involvement of asset management RFID tags, you can access all kinds of information about your products literally from anywhere in the world.

Having said that, both types of tags are extremely useful and are used plenty.

Why opt for RFID asset tracking solutions?

When it comes to managing assets and inventories of collections, a humungous amount of work is obviously expected. If this is managed without the help of asset management RFID tags, there is a high chance of human error. RFID technology not only helps reduce this but opting for this ensures a sure shot increase in efficiency, which is an absolute game-changer. Doing this manually through human effort will result in a waste of precious time which can be used for other important tasks required for your company.

Do people really use RFID?

Believe it, the concept of using RFID is not new. RFID technology is actually seen in day-to-day life; Active RFID-based asset tracking systems are also used vastly in public spaces such as museums, schools and universities, libraries, and by leading e-commerce companies. This comes very handily when assets worth millions of dollars require Inventory tracking. It is said that RFID can also be traced back decades ago during the second world war where this technology was used to identify enemy airships, issue out warnings to troops and figure out enemy flight paths. It is also said that RFID tags were initially invented by a Soviet Spy. This technology is used in innumerable industries and, in some cases, even in certain types of currencies.

Leading e-commerce websites that deliver products on a daily basis not only require RFID for mobile and fixed asset tracking but also to track other factors such as locations and information of delivery agents and delivery vehicles. Imagine what a nightmare this would be to track just through the help of manual human effort.

RFID has improved the way industries work and is a massive game-changer. Who knows what other improvements get added along the way and perhaps change the course of work again.

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