ANLYSIS: RFID technology in logistics & supply chain

  • ANLYSIS: RFID technology in logistics & supply chain
    Cliff Evans, owner of TrackerPoint.
  • ANLYSIS: RFID technology in logistics & supply chain
    Hozefa Saylawala, sales director-Middle East at Zebra Technologies.
  • ANLYSIS: RFID technology in logistics & supply chain
Published: 19 November 2015 - 6:03 a.m.
By: ASC Staff

The retail industry spends a vast amount of money on taking physical inventories and these counts are 100% accurate.

So, what are the differences between a simple barcode and RFID technology, and what are the pros and cons in relation to each other? Almost everything we buy from retailers has a universal product code (barcode) printed on it. These product fingerprints help manufacturers and retailers keep track of inventory while giving information about the quantity of products being bought and the consumers buying them.

Some experts say RFID tags are an improvement over bar codes because the tags have read and write capabilities: data stored on RFID tags can be changed, updated and locked. But too many retail outlets use barcode scanners in billions of transations every year for RFID to entirely replace barcodes in the near future, but we’ll likely see more products tagged with RFIDs and an increased focus on seamless wireless transactions over time.

Evans shares his opinion: “RFID is not really an alternative to barcodes and in fact our site surveys will recommend the use, or continued use, of barcodes where we feel they offer the most suitable approach.

“RFID goes beyond barcodes in its ability to read without necessity for line-of-sight, far greater positional flexibility, writeable capability, resilience to dust and dirt etc, and batch reading at 100s of tags per second.”

It has taken years for RFID to get to where it is today and its potential is more evident when looking at emerging opportunities for RFID in the the area of the Internet of Things (IoT).

“The IoT is an exciting prospect for RFID and vice versa. RFID is shaping up to be an important building block in the future development of IoT but there are still challenges to achieving its full potential, such as developing common standards and a suitable cost level,” Evans reveals.

The number and range of IoT applications that can be envisioned with RFID is considerable, and the possibilites are seemingly endless.

“It is going to take time, and probably go off down a few dead-ends, but eventually it will get there,” Evans concludes.

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