RFID: MYTH VS. FACT
In our everyday life, there are many myths and misconceptions especially when it comes to technology. I’m writing this post in an attempt to clarify some RFID technology related myths which has been somewhat controversial lately.
To begin with, it’s noteworthy to mention that the benefits of RFID technology are profound in identity management, supply-chain efficiency, pharmaceutical tracking, food safety/recall, security, and stock control. However, many skepticism & doubts swarm around its benefits. Here are a list of RFID related myths:
Myth: Companies and governments use RFID to track you
Fact: Not true because this kind of tags have no awareness of geographical data. In addition, a tag must be within a range of 3-10 meters of a reader or else tags couldn’t be read outside that range as tags don’t emit signals.
Myth: RFID can lead to identity theft
Fact: The tags do not usually contain personally identifiable information. Rather, they emit unique codes to identify people or objects. You’d need access to a database that should be secured with encryption and all the other usual standard forms of protection.
Myth: The applications are simple
Fact: Its command language is not intuitive and anyone creating an application for it needs to learn to use it and should also have previous related deployment experience. The language can change over time, requiring continuing education. One example of its complexity lies in the fact that the readers cannot read the tags behind a human being due to the fact that humans are filled with water making them an RF barrier hence, preventing the reader from the reading the tag behind them. This is only one of the complexities, there are still other cases involving reflection, diffraction, interference etc. There are also other considerations like the material of the items to be tagged and the environment in which they’re placed.
Myth: The tag costs 5 cents
Fact: I’m sorry for breaking the news but a tag costs something slightly under $1. Lower prices will be possible on larger orders between 700 billion and 1 trillion tags.
Myth: It’s possible to read every tag at the same time
Fact: Many factors influenced the read rate, including the distance of the tag from the reader, and on what substance the tag is placed. The tag orientation and design can also affect tags readability. A solid engineering and system design will be able to increase the read rate of the tags. It is good to remember that some procedures may have to be altered in order to get acceptable read rates. So, in short, it is impossible to read every tag all the time.
Myth: Preparing inventory with a click of a button is impossible
Fact: In the real systems, inventory is tracked by identifying when an item enters, where it is placed, and when it left. RFID enables faster inventory procedures when compared to current barcode practices.
Myth: RFID is a supply chain technology
Fact: It is much more than merely a supply chain technology. It has been effectively integrated in all sorts of industries like: Automobile industry, retail stores, Access control & security, Toll gates etc.
Myth: Using RFID ends privacy
Fact: Many people think that its use in consumer products would invade their privacy and that’s by scanning near their houses with a reader. This technology is evolving, so will privacy protection technology. The reason why there are some consumer “kill” software which immediately stops the tag as soon as it leaves the retail store.
Myth: It will not replace Barcodes/QR Codes
Fact: The prices of the tags are dropping significantly and this is one of the reasons why many are integrating this technology instead of barcodes and QR. Barcodes only hold 10 to 12 characters of information while a single RFID chip can hold 2 KB of data. Not only that, they can be written and re-written as many times as necessary.
Myth: Thieves can easily access RFID Data
Fact: Not possible because hackers must be in close proximity. A typical tag can only be hacked at a range of 9 to 12 meters. Any distance farther than that and the signal is too weak, and cannot be read. Furthermore, it’s important to note that those chips aren’t all created equal. Some are better than others when it comes to security, as there are multiple variations of the technology and many run on different frequencies which is good news because hackers can typically only target small range frequencies.
Myth: RFID‘s not ready
Fact: It is ready now! It’s been used for years. It’s tracking animals in animal tags, it’s collecting tolls, and it’s been improving car assembly since the early 1980’s and much more than that.
It seems like every time technology evolves and blows our minds, some would come and threw a few speculations and doubts about an emerging innovation. I hope this post has sorted out things a little bit for you.