RFID is an acronym for radio frequency identification. It is a technology that had been developed to use unique codes that are not visible to the naked eye but can be read by a decoding machine. The technology is so termed because the communication between the code and the decoder is done using radio frequency. There are usually two components involved in such communications. One is the RFID or radio frequency identification tag. There is a barcode on the tag that must be deciphered by the other component of the communication, which is the RFID scanner.
Once the scanner reads the code, it is fed into a system (computer/processing kiosk) and all information related to the code is available for the processor. RFID tags can have a lot of information, right from the description of what it is to pricing, history of the particular item to any kind of details that has been fed into the RFID tag.
RFID technology is used widely across the world. Pet tracking devices use RFID, payment processing systems (hardware) use such technology and even security systems use such tags. Like all technologies available involving coding and decoding, regardless of the method of communication, there are certain pros and cons of RFID.
List of Pros of RFID
1. Small & Convenient
The tags or chips used in RFID are very small. They can be used on short strips of paper or card. They can be used under the skin at the epidermal level. They can be used in lockets, watches, pendants or any small item that can hold the chip. Even plastic bags can have RFID chips or tags. There are dozens of materials that can host the small RFID tag so it is very easy to use. The size and its utility make RFID very convenient. There is no elaborate process of coding and decoding. There is a simple RFID tag and a reader that can extract the information from the chip within a reasonable distance. There is no swiping required, no direct contact of any sort and the reading process or the time it takes to extract the information is virtually unrealizable. From price tags to QR codes, RFID has myriad utilities.
2. Reliable Technology
Radio frequency is much easier to use than cell phone signals or any other state of the art network. Even high speed internet can be a tad reliable at times. Radio frequency is very reliable and it can work in almost every situation. It doesn’t matter how cloudy it is today or if the store is too chockablock. The rugged radio frequency technology will work as long as the tag and the scanner or reader is in the vicinity. Of course there are different types of readers or scanners. Some have a range of just a foot while some have the range of several feet. Also, RFID works instantly. You don’t really wait for the reader or scanner to recognize the tag, chip or just obtain the code and then extract the necessary information.
3. Plethora of Uses
RFID can be used for inventory management. Trying to keep a track of every component stored individually, reading and amending the records manually can be very tiring, time consuming and a complicated task. RFID is also used for tracking. From keeping a track of your pet’s whereabouts to tracking a fleet of cars by a rental company, RFID is ideal. RFID can help you to have a portable database. You don’t really need to be physically somewhere to access a certain set of data. You can encrypt the data into an RFID chip and then carry it with you. All you would need is an RFID reader when you need to extract the information or access the data. This can also help you to create backups. RFID works in real time so you don’t really wait or deal with any delays to get updates. Whether it is the location of an item being tracked using RFID or a change in the information stored in the code, everything is accessible in real time.
List of Cons of RFID
1. Not too Secured
RFID is not the safest or the most secured of technologies. It is quite simple and a cakewalk for those in the know to intercept the information stored on a RFID chip. Basic scanners or RFID readers can help anyone to extract the information by reading the code. RFID doesn’t really have any security measure in place that would prevent random scanners from reading the code and thus extracting the data. Anyone with physical access to the RFID tag or chip can use a scanner and your data would be compromised. You can encrypt the data which will instill a layer of security but that doesn’t prevent from people from getting access to the encrypted data in the first place.
2. Limited Range
RFID doesn’t work over long distances. It requires the tag or chip and the reader to be in proximity. The ranges may vary but then again physical objects and various materials can block the transmission of the radio wave.
3. Costly & Vulnerable
RFID tags can cost a lot to develop. Even the cheapest RFID tags are costlier than some other options. Also, RFID chips or tags can be easily cloned.