Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

David Wyld (Southeastern Louisiana University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-298-5.ch017
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We are in the midst of what may become one of the true technological transformations of our time. RFID (radio frequency identification) is by no means a new technology. RFID is fundamentally based on the study of electromagnetic waves and radio, pioneered in the 19th century work of Faraday, Maxwell, and Marconi. The idea of using radio frequencies to reflect waves from objects dates back as far as 1886 to experiments conducted by Hertz. Radar was invented in 1922, and its practical applications date back to World War II, when the British used the IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) system to identify enemy aircraft (Landt, 2001). Stockman (1948) laid out the basic concepts for RFID. However, it would take decades of development before RFID technology would become a reality. Since 2000, significant improvements in functionality, decreases in both size and costs, and agreements on communication standards have combined to make RFID technology viable for commercial and governmental purposes. Today, RFID is positioned as an alternative way to identify objects with the ubiquitous bar code.
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Automatic identification, or Auto-ID, represents a broad category of technologies that are used to help machines identify objects, humans, or animals. Auto-ID is a means of identifying items and gathering data on them without human intervention or data entry. As can be seen in Figure 1, RFID a type of Auto-ID technology. Sometimes referred to as dedicated short-range communication (DSRC), RFID is “a wireless link to identify people or objects” (d’Hont, 2003, p. 1). RFID is, in reality, a subset of the larger radio frequency (RF) market, which encompasses an array of RF technologies, including the following:

Figure 1.

The family of automatic identification technologies

  • Cellular phones

  • Digital radio

  • The Global Positioning System (GPS)

  • High-definition television (HDTV)

  • Wireless networks (Malone, 2004)

RFID is a technology that already surrounds us. If you have an Exxon/Mobil SpeedPassTM in your pocket, you are using RFID. If you have a toll tag on your car, you are using RFID. If you have checked out a library book, you have likely encountered RFID. If you have been shopping in a department store or an electronics retailer, you have most certainly encountered RFID in the form of an EAS (electronic article surveillance) tag.


Rfid Technology

To best understand the power of radio frequency identification, it is first useful to compare RFID with bar-code technology, which is omnipresent today. The specific differences between bar-code technology and RFID are summarized in Figure 2. The principal difference lies in the potential of RFID to provide unique identifiers for objects. While the bar code and the UPC (Universal Product Code) have become all pervading and enabled a host of applications and efficiencies (Brown, 1997), they only identify an object as belonging to a particular class, category, or type. Due to its structure (as shown in Figure 3), a bar code cannot uniquely identify a specific object: It can identify only the product and its manufacturer. Thus, a bar code on any one package of sliced meat in a grocery store is the same as on any other of a particular type or size from a particular firm. Likewise, the bar code on a case or pallet of military supplies cannot tell one shipment from another. The two technologies also differ in the way in which they read objects. With bar coding, the reading device scans a printed label with optical laser or imaging technology. However, with RFID, the reading device scans, or interrogates, a tag using radio frequency signals.

Figure 2.

Table showing RFID and bar codes compared

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Olaf Diegel
Judith Symonds, John Ayoade, David Parry
Chapter 1
Chin Boo Soon
This chapter describes the history and development of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Key information on RFID such as the ratification of the... Sample PDF
Radio Frequency Identification History and Development
Chapter 2
John Garofalakis, Christos Mettouris
The continuous evolution of wireless technologies has made them ideal for use in many different applications, including user positioning. Until now... Sample PDF
Using Bluetooth for Indoor User Positioning and Informing
Chapter 3
John Ayoade, Judith Symonds
Standards organisations such as EPC Global work to provide global compatibility between RFID readers and tags (EPCGlobal, 2007). This is essential... Sample PDF
RFID for Identification of Stolen/Lost Items
Chapter 4
Filippo Gandino, Erwing Ricardo Sanchez, Bartolomeo Montrucchio, Maurizio Rebaudengo
This chapter deals with the use of RFID technology for improving management and security of agri-food products. In order to protect health and to... Sample PDF
RFID Technology for Agri-Food Tracability Management
Chapter 5
Lena Mamykina, Elizabeth Mynatt
In the last decade, novel sensing technologies enabled development of applications that help individuals with chronic diseases monitor their health... Sample PDF
Interpreting Health and Wellness Information
Chapter 6
Bryan Houliston
Hospitals are traditionally slow to adopt new information systems (IS). However, health care funders and regulators are demanding greater use of IS... Sample PDF
RFID in Hospitals and Factors Restricting Adoption
Chapter 7
David Parry, Judith Symonds
Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) offers a potentially flexible and low cost method of locating objects and tracking people within buildings.... Sample PDF
RFID and Assisted Living for the Elderly
Chapter 8
Ashir Ahmed, Ly-Fie Sugianto
This chapter introduces an activity-based framework for the adoption of radio frequency identification (RFID) in emergency management. The framework... Sample PDF
RFID in Emergency Management
Chapter 9
Bin Shen, Yu-Jin Zhang
This chapter is concerned with online object tracking, which aims to locate a given object in each of the consecutive frames. Many algorithms have... Sample PDF
Subsequence-Wise Approach for Online Tracking
Chapter 10
John Ayoade
The aim of Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) is to provide both fixed-line and mobile telephony services to users through the same handset which could... Sample PDF
From Fixed to Mobile Convergence
Chapter 11
Sarita Pais, Judith Symonds
RFID tags can store more data and can update this data through local processing. This is in contrast to the EPC global standard of data-on-network.... Sample PDF
Handling RFID Data Using a Data-on-Tag Approach
Chapter 12
Maryam Purvis, Toktam Ebadi, Bastin Tony Roy Savarimuthu
The objective of this research is to describe a mechanism to provide an improved library management system using RFID and agent technologies. One of... Sample PDF
An Agent-Based Library Management System Using RFID Technology
Chapter 13
Tommaso Di Noia, Eugenio Di Sciascio, Francesco Maria Donini, Michele Ruta, Floriano Scioscia, Eufemia Tinelli
We propose a novel object discovery framework integrating the application layer of Bluetooth and RFID standards. The approach is motivated and... Sample PDF
Semantic-Based Bluetooth-RFID Interaction for Advanced Resource Discovery in Pervasive Contexts
Chapter 14
Indranil Bose, Chun Wai Lam
Radio frequency identification (RFID) has generated vast amounts of interest in the supply chain, logistics, and the manufacturing area. RFID can be... Sample PDF
Facing the Challenges of RFID Data Management
Chapter 15
Masoud Mohammadian, Ric Jentzsch
The cost of health care continues to be a world wide issue. Research continues into ways and how the utilization of evolving technologies can be... Sample PDF
A Mobile Computing Framework for Passive RFID Detection System in Healthcare
Chapter 16
Masoud Mohammadian, Ric Jentzsch
When dealing with human lives, the need to utilize and apply the latest technology to help in saving and maintaining patients’ lives is quite... Sample PDF
Intelligent Agents Framework for RFID Hospitals
Chapter 17
David Wyld
We are in the midst of what may become one of the true technological transformations of our time. RFID (radio frequency identification) is by no... Sample PDF
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology
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