Getting started with RFID

Getting started with RFID

It’s time to start tracking your assets with RFID. RFID asset tracking is similar to using barcodes or QR codes to monitor the movement of assets but with RFID you can unlock greater levels of automation, transparency, and control. RFID asset tracking enables you to audit, manage and track assets with minimal risks and enhanced operations. No matter the size or type of industry your business belongs to, the benefits of using RFID to track assets remain the same: reduce costs, increase asset visibility, and maximise workplace efficiency. 

What is RFID and How Does It Work?

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and works by using radio frequencies to broadcast the location of the tagged asset. RFID asset tracking is essentially the linking of real-life assets to online profiles. To do this, an RFID tag that uniquely identifies an asset is physically attached to it. The tag data is stored in an online asset management system where you can add crucial information such as maintenance information and user manuals. Every time the tag is scanned the asset location is automatically updated in the online register. 

How To Use RFID Asset Tracking Software

How to Get Started With RFID Asset Tracking

There are two main pieces of equipment you need for RFID asset tracking: tags and readers. Both tags and readers come in various forms so it’s important to familiarise yourself with the different options available. There are a few key features to consider, namely battery power, radio frequency, tag memory, tag size and shape, and cost. Getting to know the features and capabilities of the different types of tags and readers will help you make the right choice when it comes to your business.  

RFID Tags

There are two main types of RFID tags: passive and active.The tag power system defines which type of system it is.

Passive Tags

Passive tags rely on the tag reader for power and, as a result, have a transmission range of a few metres. As they don’t have an internal battery, passive tags are small in size and typically last around 20 years resulting in a lower tag cost. Their small size also means they are able to fit into almost any package or product, making passive tags a great choice for tracking inventory, supply chain management, and access control. 

Active tags

Active tags are typically larger in size than passive tags but usually no bigger than a smartphone. This type of tag incorporates a transmitter with a battery in a single unit. They have significant data memory and can transmit up to 2000 metres continuously or when activated by a reader’s radio signal. Their ability to cover great distances make them popular in the construction, mining, oil and gas industries. Active tags can also include environmental sensors that collect data on temperature, moisture and other metrics to help protect high-value and sensitive assets. 

The most significant difference between active and passive RFID tags is that an active tag has a battery and a passive tag does not. Although an active tag can communicate at a much longer range, a passive RFID tag is often still the preferred choice as it is significantly cheaper at the point of sale as well as longer term since passive tags do not require battery replacements. In most use cases, having a shorter read range is an advantage as you can be confident that the tagged item is right in front of you or the reader. 

RFID Readers

To use RFID for asset tracking you need a reader. RFID readers transmit and receive radio frequencies, meaning they can read and write information to an RFID tag and to an asset tracking database where the data is stored, evaluated, and actioned. An RFID reader is the brain of the RFID system, without it the system can’t function. RFID readers come in two main types: handheld readers and fixed readers. Unlike barcodes and QR codes, RFID asset tracking doesn’t require a line of sight for scanning. With RFID asset tracking, your reader picks up the RFID tag. 

Handheld Readers

Handheld readers are completely mobile making them the ideal solution for on-the-go applications like stocktaking multiple assets. The great benefit of this type of reader is its combination of flexibility and functionality. 

Fixed Readers

Fixed readers offer a more powerful solution but are positioned in a fixed location at your site or building. This type of reader normally requires an external antenna that can track the direction the asset is moving in. You can position fixed readers at tactical positions across your sites and any movement an asset goes through will be automatically logged. This enables your online register to be continually updated without the need for any manual interaction. The greater level of automation makes fixed readers ideal for warehouses, store rooms, hospitals, laboratories and many more large-scale operations.

itemit’s RFID Asset Tracking Solutions

RFID asset tracking lets you know where your asset is every step of the way, from checking in to checking out and everything in between. Whether it’s expensive artwork, equipment or critical hospital and medical devices, you can track any asset using itemit’s RFID technology. With itemit you can combine the advantages of handheld and fixed readers by using them in tandem. Enjoy the freedom of movement that comes with handheld readers along with the full automation of fixed readers. And with a fixed reader, you’ll know instantly if an asset has gone missing. Use itemit’s award-winning fixed RFID asset tracking functionality for full, off-the-shelf automation. itemit is your one-stop shop for RFID readers, tags and software. Get everything you need to manage your readers, collect tag data and deliver timely information.

To find out more about itemit’s equipment loan software and how it will help you, you can contact our team at team@itemit.com that’s always happy to answer your queries. You can also fill in the form below to start your 14-day free trial.

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