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Intro to Your Tech: RFID

Intro to Your Tech: RFID

Information, and the transmission of it, has advanced by vast amounts since our ancestors first carved shapes into cave walls to record their hunts. Nowadays, information can be shared much more efficiently, thanks to a technology known as RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification. Here, we’ll discuss this technology and its common business-friendly uses.

How Does RFID Work?

When using RFID, a very short-range radio signal is transmitted from an object or tag to communicate with a specialized device. As long as the tag is within a few meters of the device, the information on the tag can be passed along - an open line of sight isn’t such a hard requirement, as it is with a barcode. Some RFID tags are known as passive and need the reader to power them up before they can be read. These passive tags are the most common, as they cost less to implement. Other tags are known as active RFID tags, which constantly send out their signal, supported by an onboard power supply.

How Is RFID Used?

This technology appears in many industries, in a variety of applications that really speaks to human ingenuity. For example, there are the uses that one could easily imagine a business utilizing, such as:

  • Inventory management
  • Asset tracking
  • Access control
  • Supply chain management
  • Identification authentication

...and other such purposes. However, RFID has been used in other ways around the world.

For instance, Budweiser Brazil leveraged the RFID-enabled “Buddy Cup.” Once the Buddy Cup was linked to the user’s Facebook account (via a QR code on the bottom), the user could immediately “friend” anyone else who had a Buddy Cup - simply by clinking the cups against one another as a toast.

Hellman’s Mayonnaise did something similar in Sao Paulo, where a grocery store’s shopping carts were outfitted with RFID tags and a touchscreen display. As shoppers pushed their carts around the store, RFID readers would have their cart displays show off recipes incorporating a nearby ingredient and Hellman’s Mayonnaise.

Naturally, these are specific use cases, but they show how useful RFID can be with a little ingenuity. How would you leverage RFID to assist your operations? Let us know in the comments!

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