RFID (Gen 2) EPCglobal Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that is tasked out to set universal standards for Electronic Product Code (EPC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. EPCglobal Inc. was created in 2003, as a joint operation between over 100 sponsor countries of GS1 and GS1 US. It is a neutral organization that is comprised of retailers, manufacturing companies, along with technology solution providers.
What is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)?
RFID has roots all the way back to World War II, where it was used as a way for aircraft to identify each other as either friend or foe. The technology has expanded into the market as a way for businesses to maximize asset tracking. RFID tracking has increased substantially over the past three years due to the decrease in the price of equipment, and the increase of product reliability that has allowed business structures to take further advantage of the already increasing market it covers.
Examples of Practical Uses of RFID Technology Today Include:
Asset Tracking – tagging equipment with RFID chips can provide the location of any piece of equipment in real time, often down to a few feet.
Vehicle Access Control – Trucks and forklifts moving in warehouse zones can be tagged with an RFID. This will allow a reader to access the tag and determine if the vehicle is permitted to pass.
Livestock Tracking – Tracking livestock is one of the first applications where RFID technology was used. It helps monitor and track animals health, along with making sure they are getting the proper amount of food.
File Locator Data – Being able to file and track documents for businesses can help save time and money, helping to ensure they do not face financial or legal action due to misplaced files. Insurance companies and law firms use it to match documents to physical evidence in case they need to use it in court over a claim that has been filed.
Retail Tagging – Retail tagging allows retail companies to track and monitor products in real time as they move from the warehouse, onto a store shelf, and out of the store after a consumer purchase.
Medicine – RFID gives medical professionals the ability to tag and track medical records in facilities such as hospitals. This helps track the movement of files to help ensure they do not get lost or misplaced during long term storage.
What is EPC and how does it work?
The EPC is stored on the RFID tag. The tag transmits data once it is incited to do so by a special transmitter. The EPC and RFID do not interchange, and the RFID can function by itself to do tasks without the need for an EPC in some circumstances. The EPC has the potential to help out consumers and businesses alike. Businesses would benefit from an increase in supply chain visibility to help prevent item loss, theft, or inventory that has gone out-of-stock.
Features of RFID Gen 2
RFID Gen 2 is grouped under an Automatic Identification (Auto-ID) Technology, that allows users to use the most up to date technology to track products and assets in a more efficient way than with previous UPC barcode technology. RFID Gen 2 gives users the ability to track products with tags on inventory items such as cases, pallets, or individual products. The tags emit a radio signal that are picked up by reader devices (also known as interrogators), and the data from the reader transfers into a database or host computer for storage. This gives companies the ability to scan and track multiple items at a time with-in range of the signal.
Some of the Features of the RFID Signal Tracking Include:
Line of Sight – Unlike UPC barcodes, RFID does not need to be in direct line of sight of a product to scan it.
Distance – RFID tags can be read at distances reaching up to approximately 100 feet away.
Tracking – The ability to track and scan approximately 40 items per second allows users to cut inventory tracking time down dramatically.
Accuracy – Fully automated system that provides an error free inventory count.
Cost – The average cost of chips has decreased over the last few years. Depending on the type of chip needed the average cost ranges from twenty-cents on up to one-dollar.
Some of the Key Features of RFID (Gen 2) Include:
Dense-Reader Mode – A longer read range and higher read rate. This allows places to have multiple RFID readers in areas that require them to be deployed.
Tag Data Encoding/Decoding – Allows users to put added security programs into the RFID to track and monitor for potential theft.
Session and Tag Communication design – Helps to ensure readings from interrogators are as accurate as possible without having to worry about other signals causing errors in data transfer.
Benefits of RFID Gen 2
A competitive market has driven prices of RFID tags down over the last few years. Technology has also kept up with the demand by evolving over time. Improvements have included trouble free operation of multiple readers and RFID applications at the same time, increased operational speed, along with improved tag memory and the ability to program them.
Some of the Business Benefits of RFID Include:
Increased Revenue – Gaining the ability to track and monitor items will result in less items being out-of-stock. This will help ensure customer loyalty.
Increased Productivity – Increases the ability to scan and put away items for storage. Afterwards, being able to recover and move them to be shipped or put on shelves quickly, cuts time and costs that other methods can provide.
Reduction of errors – RFID has more accuracy than other methods, and also has less read errors to help prevent time wasting second scans.
Improved Resources – Allows for assets, time, and planning to be utilized to its full potential.
Better Asset Control – The ability to move products through a supply chain are more efficient is more effective and less time consuming than other methods.
The RFID tags have the ability to store information and programs that are uploaded into them. Over the course of time some of these features have been upgraded as the market evolves.
Some of the Features Include:
Chip Size – As technology improves with each generation, the size of chips become smaller and less expensive.
Memory and Password Size – Each generation of chips provides a larger storage capacity for added security against being hacked for potential asset loss.
Read Rate – Tags can be read and deployed faster than any other method available.
Security – Tags have better security data that is encrypted on them to help prevent hacking or other types of tampering.
Timing – Tags can enter into the field late to be read and processed through to their destination.
Global Frequency – UHF frequency devices helps to ensure other wireless signals do not interfere and cause signal problems.
RFID Gen 2 Technology has made it easier for companies across the globe to track their inventory with more accuracy than older systems such as UPC codes. This has helped cut the cost of potential losses to businesses due to theft, item-loss, and inventory errors. Prices on RFID tags have dropped dramatically over the years due to stiff competition. This has helped expand the market to enable business infrastructures to keep track and monitor their assets in real time. Making sure that businesses can maximize their productivity and revenue to its fullest potential.
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