Widespread Adoption of RFID Technology

Widespread Adoption of RFID Technology

Nova Ahmed (Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0294-6.ch013
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In recent years there is an emerging usage of RFID technology in various application scenarios. The authors have classified the applications into three major types: item tracking, where statically placed readers are responsible to track mobile items; item location where mobile readers are able to locate items of interest, and finally, identification applications where RFID tags are used for identification purposes. They have taken a close look at the various applications, the technology driving the RFID systems, and presented a comprehensive picture of requirements and considerations of particular RFID technology behind a class of applications.
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RFID technology is rapidly gaining attention in various applications that cover many different aspects of modern day lives. It is seen in our daily stores, in our workplace for identification, we encounter it on our way on highway easy passes, there are some used in large scale supply chains, some are in use in critical applications like chip fabrications and hospitals. The widespread adoption of the technology requires some study that takes a look at the various kinds of applications and tries to classify them in a meaningful way and look at the RFID technology that is used in all of these applications. The aim of this chapter is to give a comprehensive view of applications and technology that suit best in various cases.

We first take a close look at the applications using RFID technology. There are reference based applications such as collection tolls without stopping the vehicle, gaining access in the building, automated parking etc.; there are monitoring based applications in automobile stores and merchandise stores; there are tracking applications in libraries, airport and retail industries; there are location based applications in search and rescue scenarios (Landt, 2001). There are set of medical applications that links patients with drugs, personnel with patients and links equipment access to the hospital personnel. The RFID technology has been successfully used in sports event to track the athletes and their race time in recent days (Stanford, 2003; Nath, 2006; Activeware, 2010). We address the application scenario that considers deployment of RFID devices. There are a set of applications called item tracking that are responsible for tracking mobile objects mainly; item location applications focus on locating RFID tagged objects and identification applications uses RFID technology for identification purposes. We discuss the applications in detail in the following subsection.

Item tracking uses statically placed RFID readers to track mobile objects that have RFID tags. Airport baggage handling, supply chain tracking, tracking of books in libraries are examples of item tracking applications. Item location refers to the opposite of item tracking applications where mobile RFID readers are used to track RFID tagged objects. The identification applications use RFID tagged badges that are detected by statically placed readers of entry points. It is interesting to note how the requirements vary for different applications. The tracking applications require large number of RFID tags at the same time must ensure accuracy while the objects are mobile handling various environmental factors (presence of metal or liquid etc.). The identification applications are considered to have closer proximity and certainty compared to tracking applications. The location applications are discussed in many different scenarios with positive possibilities but are not deployed widely compared to the tracking and identification applications. We consider the various RFID technologies based on operational techniques and other methods and find out which technology is preferred for various applications.


We discuss the various application category and application scenarios under each category in this section. The various groups have been defined based on relative positioning of the RFID reader and tags which correspond to item tracking, item location and identification applications.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Semi Passive Tags: RFID tags that work as passive tags except they have internal battery to charge it on and faster response.

Active tags: RFID tag that has its own power source to be active all the time.

Passive Tags: RFID tag that is dormant unless activated by power supplied by the RFID reader

Tags: A sensing object that is to be sensed by a particular sensor, e.g., An RFID reader.

False Negative Read: The even to miss a reading of sensor when the object is actually present.

Semi Active Tags: Same as semi passive tags.

RFID: Radio Frequency Identification.

SAW Tags: RFID tags that use surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology.

False Positive Read: The event of reading a sensor when the object is beyond the sensing range.

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