This article is part of a series by Metalcraft's RFID Business Development Director, Colynn Black.
I conducted a survey from 15 individuals well versed in the RFID industry and from those results gathered the top five biggest myths when it comes to RFID technology.
- Myth #1 - Read Range of Passive RFID Tags
I'm going to refer primarily to passive UHF RAIN RFID technology because that is about 90% of the business I am from and have the most experience with. When looking at RAIN RFID technology many individuals think they can tag an item and read it from 500 - 1000 feet away or they think they can tag an item in a building over there and read it from way over here. Passive RAIN RFID tags do not behave like GPS tags where you can read them at all locations all around the world. A reader will typically pick up a RAIN RFID tag up to about 60-65 feet - that's a pretty good maximum read range although there are some tags depending on the reader you're using that can pick up a tag from farther away.
For the most part that 65 foot read range is close to topping out when it comes to RAIN technology. The other thing I want to not is people think of GPS they think they're going to be able to access and see the location real time of every single tag they utilize in their RFID system. That's not necessarily the case, although there are ways to set up a real-time location tracking system with RAIN RFID, it's a little more difficult and maybe a little more expensive; however, the cost that you save on the tags and hardware compared to a GPS system is significant.
- Myth #2 - Reading RFID Tags Through Metal
There are some OEM manufacturers or other RFID users that think they can tag a whole bunch of items like tools and then they can throw them in their toolbox and then be able to take inventory by just pointing the RFID reader and reading their toolbox. Well, let's circle back to the way RF works and some of the limiting factors. Metal is a reflector of RF which prevents any RF from protruding through the toolbox blocking any RFID tags from being read. There are products on the market such as the Universal RFID product line from Metalcraft that allows a user to read tags while on the metal surface.
- Myth #3 - Stealing Credit Card Information With RFID
It is possible to access the chip and NFC information on a credit card using RFID, but it takes a well-versed criminal to not only access but interpret and encrypt the data so that it's useful for the criminal. We have all be on Amazon and seen ads for those new minimalist wallets that are advertising RFID blocking technology. Based on the last myth it's utilizing metal to block RF from coming into the case. These wallets all have a metal component on the outside of the wallet which prevents the RF from getting in and reading the credit cards. It's the same principle RFID not reading through metal.
- Myth #4 - Hardware and RFID Tags are All That is Needed
While those are two very important components to an RFID system, arguably the most important is the software that makes they system work collectively. Yes, you can certainly buy a reader and some RFID tags and tag your items and then use the reader to start scanning them, but what good are those scans if you don't have a means to organize all the data that you're pulling in from the reader? RFID software is critical to the success of any RFID system. I advise any user of RFID to investigate the hardware and the RFID tags, but certainly take the time to find the best RFID software for you. There are many types of RFID software out there online, but a great one that offers an awesome out-of-the-box solution is Grey Trunk RFID. It's a simple-to-use intuitive asset tracking and asset management software that can be downloaded on any mobile device which allows you to quickly get up and running with minimal integration.
- Myth #5 - There are Companies Using RFID Chips to Track Humans
When people think of this type of myth, they are back to the whole GPS real-time location tracking where they think tiny microchips are being implanted in human beings so they can see the location of them wherever they are. It does correlate to the first myth about RFID read range and the passive capabilities of RFID.
Outside passive RFID technologies there are some active technologies and other frequencies that can be read from a great distance, but when you pair that with being implanted in a human being the fact that humans are mostly made of liquid limits the performance. Whereas metals reflect RF, liquids absorb RF energy. Even if an active tag is implanted in a human being, the blood in our systems significantly reduces the ability for an RFID to function.
How Can Metalcraft Help?
Metalcraft can assist you in developing an asset management program in a number of different ways. Our Ultimate Guide to Asset Tracking and the supplemental resource the Asset Tracking Checklist are great tools to use on your own or you can contact Metalcraft at [email protected] or 800-437-5283 to speak with one of our ID Specialists who will qualify you application and get you on your way to better asset management with Metalcraft identification products.
|About the Author: Colynn Black|
Colynn is Metalcraft's RFID Business Development Director. He started his Metalcraft journey as an RFID Technician, moving onto being an RFID Lead/Technician, an RFID Engineer and then his current role. He enjoys being able to utilize his technical skills and experiences to aid Metalcraft in acquiring new partnerships and customers. He's married to his wife, Allie and he has two children named Cruze and Ella. He enjoys being outside, working with his hands to build things, working on his car/boat, golfing, ice fishing, reading and wrestling with his son.