Is RFID Better Than Barcode?
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Is RFID Better Than Barcode?

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-03-22      Origin: Site

Barcodes and radio frequency identification (RFID) are two of the most commonly used identification methods. Which is the best option for your business? Both have advantages and disadvantages, so which one is right for you?

The article compares RFID and barcodes in terms of accuracy, cost, and durability. We also discuss when to use each technology. Find out more by reading on!

RFID - A Brief History

RFID technology falls under the category of Automatic Identification and Data Capture. When Bell Labs personnel experimented with landline telephone systems in 1938, they discovered that metallic objects reduce the sound from loudspeakers. In the 1960s, this phenomenon led to the development of (passive) RFID tags and readers for automatic identification.

RFID tags store data (in the form of an ID) that can be scanned by RFID readers. In animal tagging, ear tags are used to identify animals like cows and sheep. The American Branders Association began using passive RFID tags in 1971.NASA used active (battery-powered) RFID tags to track inventory movements in space shuttles in 1980. Electronic Product Codes were developed in 1983 for retail use and launched in 1994.

An MIT team hacked the supermarket's laser checkout system in 1991, making them independent of the clerk. In automatic toll collection systems, this knowledge helps with vehicle identification on toll roads.

The use of RFID tags has become widespread. In hospitals, they are used to identify patients, control access, and track inventory, among other things

RFID: How it Works

The RFID technology uses radio waves to identify and track objects wirelessly. Despite not conducting electricity, all materials reflect radio waves.

For this purpose, RFID tags contain a chip and an antenna. In addition to storing unique identifiers, they can also store small amounts of other data. Through the antenna on the tag, the chip communicates the data to the reader.

There are three different working mechanisms behind RFID tags, regardless of their form factor:

  • Tags that are passive. There is no power source on these tags. Radio waves generated by a reader device provide them with all the energy they need to operate. As a result, they have a limited range and must be within a few inches of a reader in order to transmit their data. The amount of information that passive tags can store about an object or event is also limited by their low memory.

  • Tags that are active. Lithium batteries are often used as the power source for these tags. As a result, they can operate over longer distances. Additionally, they have more memory, which allows them to store detailed information about objects and events. However, they require additional hardware, which increases costs and decreases reliability.

  • Tags that are semi-active. Tags like these combine the features of active and passive tags. A nearby source of power powers them to create radio waves, but they also contain batteries to operate independently. Each time the tag transmits data back to the reader device, the batteries are recharged.

RFID Systems: Benefits

There are several benefits to RFID systems technology. With RFID, inventory can be tracked faster and more accurately than with manual methods, such as barcode scanning, which must be retraced manually. RFID systems have the following unique advantages over barcodes:

  • RFID systems can read tags up to 100 meters away. Using this feature, industries can track assets and monitor goods in transit.

  • No line-of-sight required. RFID tags can be read without having to line up a barcode scanner with them.Therefore, RFID readers can identify tags that are stacked, stacked sideways, or stacked upside down.

  • There is no orientation requirement for tag readability. Tags do not have to be read as they pass through the scanner. As long as they are within the reader's range, they can be scanned at any time.

  • An omnidirectional antenna in RFID systems allows it to read tags that are obscured or shaded.

  • High Reading Reliability. RFID systems can read tags even when pallets are moving fast. As speed increases, barcode reading reliability decreases (for example, due to poor contrast or smearing caused by rain).

  • Due to the fact that RFID tags do not need to be perfectly aligned with scanners, RFID systems require minimal operator training. Consequently, associates without specialized training can read and record data during pick/put-away processes, reducing the need for supervision.

  • RFID technology automates shipping and receiving tasks, which would otherwise require a lot of labor. As a result of automation, companies can save time and money by allowing workers to focus on more value-added activities.

  • Reduces ID theft risk. RFID tags do not contain any personal data, so they are immune to identity theft risks associated with magnetic stripes. Applications in healthcare require this.

Systems for barcoding

In its current form, barcodes are quite simple, but their development was long and arduous.

The concept of using patterns made up of bars or lines to convey information was first theorized in 1879. Using bars to encode data was the first known patent (No. 202193 for "Art of Compiling Statistics"), filed by Universal Postal Union employee Friedrich Ludwig Georgii. No. 25

Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland of Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia filed a patent in 1949 which described a system for marking patterns on paper. The device to read the patterns did not become widely available until the early 1970s, when devices to read them were developed.

Since barcodes were introduced decades ago, they have advanced significantly. There are many uses for barcodes today, including tracking inventory and ensuring security.

Barcode Systems: How They Work

A barcode system consists of a barcode and a reader. Readers scan barcodes and send digital data to a computer. In this case, the data is decoded into its original form, which makes it easier to interpret.

Barcodes come in two types:

  • Barcodes with one dimension

  • Barcodes with two dimensions

UPC and EAN codes are examples of 1-D barcodes. Data is represented by a single line of vertical bars. Alternatively, 2-D barcodes contain multiple lines of stacked and interleaved symbols representing multidimensional data.

Additionally, 1-D barcodes require internet connectivity, while 2-D codes don't. Thus, if your data is likely to change frequently, you should use 1-D barcodes.

The advantages of barcodes over RFIDs

Despite the fact that RFID systems are generally better than barcode systems in many aspects, there are several areas where the former excels. Barcodes have the following advantages over RFID systems:

  • A scalable solution. It is much easier to print barcodes than to attach RFIDs to every product. Small retailers can afford barcode printers because they are widely available on the market at low prices.

  • Costs are lower. As barcodes do not require wireless resources, they can be implemented on wired networks only, thereby reducing installation costs.

  • Maintenance-free. The overall process is smooth since barcode systems don't require maintenance.

  • It's convenient. When a barcode scanner breaks, it can be easily replaced. In contrast, RFID has a high initial cost, which means that they need to be maintained well to avoid excessive replacement costs.

RFID vs. Barcode: What's the Difference?

Manufacturing and retail industries have recently adopted both technologies, which have been around for decades. Both offer unique benefits, but one is better suited for a particular task than the other.

The primary advantage of RFID over barcodes is that it can be used with all types of devices.

Handheld scanners read barcodes, which limits their use to point-of-sale systems and inventory tracking systems.

RFID tags also have a larger memory capacity than barcodes. You should assess your specific needs before choosing between a barcode and an RFID system.

What is the difference between barcodes and RFID labels?

Choosing between the two technologies requires an evaluation of your specific needs. Here are some considerations to help you determine which will work best for your business

  • Capacity of data

RFID tags may be the best way to store a lot of data in your inventory. If your company ships products internationally and needs to keep track of weights and dimensions for customs forms, RFID tags offer more options than barcodes.

  • The price

Usually, barcodes are less expensive than RFID tags, but the cost of tags is decreasing as more companies adopt them.Third-party vendors may also offer discounts on barcode and RFID tag purchases for some businesses.

  • What will be the purpose of the tags?

It's important to consider the environment where tags will be used when choosing tags. Barcodes are better suited for indoor use, while RFID tags can withstand hot and cold temperatures.

  • Distance

For RFID readers to read data, they must be within close range of the tags. Objects can be tracked as they move from one area to another thanks to that. If you need to track items across large warehouses or distribution centers, barcodes work well over longer distances.

  • The effectiveness of

Due to the fact that RFID tags don't need to be scanned visually, they are significantly more efficient than barcodes.Since humans aren't perfect, it's harder to find errors in data entry when barcodes must be scanned by humans.

  • A product's lifecycle

The cost of RFID tags is higher than that of barcodes, but they last longer. RFID tags will probably save you money if you're trying to choose between the two options for a product that lasts for 100 years or more.

  • Compatibility with devices

Today, barcodes are compatible with almost every mobile device, scanner, and printer available. A RFID system requires specialized hardware. An RFID system that meets your needs might be difficult to find if you need to track your inventory quickly.

System Types and When to Use Them

According to the guidelines above, barcodes are best used to track products over short distances. The tags are also useful in environments where tags are easily lost or dirty. RFID systems work best in warehouses where inventory tracking needs a wider range. In addition to being less expensive than high-end barcode readers, they're also compatible with a wide range of devices and software.

For businesses that need to track inventory, choosing between barcodes and RFID tags can be challenging. As you make your decision, keep these points in mind:

For shorter distances, barcodes offer faster data entry than RFID systems.

Compared with barcodes, RFID offers a wider range of capabilities, but they are more expensive and harder to locate.

In warehouses, RFID excels at tracking inventory while barcodes are best for tracking products across short distances.

Today, barcodes are compatible with nearly all devices, scanners, and printers. Hardware specialized for RFID devices is required.

Compared to RFID tags, barcodes are less expensive, but they wear out faster. The cost of tags is higher, but they last longer.

Before choosing an inventory tracking system for your organization, consider your business objectives and needs. Your inventory tracking system will be most effective if you choose the right software.

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