There are a number of radio frequency technologies that are being used today to provide increased visibility into goods and assets. The most commonly used include:
• LF (Low Frequency)
• HF (High Frequency)
• UHF (Ultra High Frequency)
• Wi-Fi Locationing
• NFC (Near Field Communications)
• Ultra Wide Band (UWB)
Most of these utilize a defined band in the radio frequency spectrum that results in different operational and performance characteristics, which in turn affects read range, cost and deployment requirements. In addition, the technologies are not mutually exclusive. Depending upon your supply chain and asset visibility requirements, you may wish to deploy multiple RFID technologies.
Read range can be extended in some of the technologies through the use of battery-assisted RFID tags. However, because of the battery cost, the longer read range comes with an increased cost per tag. As a result, battery assist technologies are typically utilized for higher-value items that warrant precise monitoring and location information.
The frequency characteristics also define which applications are best suited for each technology. For example, NFC has become the defacto standard for ticketing and payment because of its short read range and established payment protocols. Alternatively,
the long read ranges and low tag costs in the UHF frequency are ideal for inventory, supply chain and asset management visibility.
UHF Makes RFID an Affordable Reality
Today’s Gen 2 UHF RFID tags make RFID an affordable reality. Unlike active tags, these passive tags do not require their own power source — the reader provides the power to initiate the transmission of data. Since less technology is required in the tag, their cost is very low. A low-cost RFID tag means you can tag and increase visibility into more of the goods, products and assets which drive your revenue stream. The tags can be re-used, easily updated with new data. And since these tags can be read from near contact to as far as 30+ feet away,1 you can use them on nearly any type of asset. The result is a rapid return on investment (ROI) in as little as six months to a year — even for the largest of organizations.
UHF Can Be Used in A Variety of Industries
Retailers need detailed inventory information to keep the right items on the shelves of the store. But manual cycle counts are too costly to be performed frequently enough to provide current information. UHF RFID’s constant and accurate inventory information provides visibility into inventory levels, allowing retailers to make sure that customers find the products they want to purchase on the store shelves. And since the information is collected automatically, sales associates can spend more time with your customers — instead of managing inventory.
Warehouse and Distribution
In the distribution industry, profitability is tightly tied to how fast and accurately inventory moves in, through and out of the warehouse. With UHF RFID, warehouse workers have the visibility they need to process thousands or hundreds of thousands of items every day, as fast and accurately as possible.
For manufacturers, success hinges on the speed and accuracy of their manufacturing operations. UHF RFID provides instant and accurate tracking of information at every step inside the manufacturing plant, trimming wasted time and costs out of end-to-end manufacturing processes — from receipt of raw goods to RFID- enabling supply, sequencing, assembly and shipping of final product. The net result is a leaner and more profitable manufacturing operation.
UHF RFID helps federal, state, local and municipal governments find ways to better manage budget cuts
by improving visibility into more timely information as well as the location of assets and items in the supply chain. Access to instant and accurate information can help government agencies keep city infrastructure and military equipment in good working order; reach disaster victims faster; execute more timely and accurate building code and health inspections; and more. The result is the more efficient delivery of higher quality services, improving citizen safety and satisfaction.
In the energy industries, the cost of unplanned downtime can be devastating to profitability. UHF RFID provides the constant visibility into the location of everything required to keep production plants up and running. Automatic and accurate tracking of everything from materials and equipment to onshore and offshore personnel as well as emissions and equipment maintenance schedules allows energy producers to increase plant uptime, better protect employees and reduce the cost of compliance with strict environmental and security regulations.
UHF RFID provides hospitals with a constant window into the location of medical equipment, medical supplies, critical documents and even patients — without any human effort. The result is a new level of efficiency and accuracy in everyday processes that drives productivity, patient safety and care quality up — and costs down.
In the airlines industry, a single incidence of lost or delayed luggage can mean the loss of a long time
loyal customer as well as additional costs that pressure margins that are already razor thin. But UHF RFID-enabled luggage tags allow airlines to ensure that the right bag is placed on the right plane every time. In addition, the transportation industry is also using RFID to provide supply chain visibility and ensure maintenance and repair are performed properly and on time.
UHF RFID streamlines the management of all types of assets, from finished goods inventoried in your warehouse to production line equipment, tool and other critical business assets. Less time is spent tracking
and managing assets, and asset visibility is increased. And since maintenance takes place on time, asset uptime and longevity are protected, improving the return on asset (ROA).
IT Asset Managment
UHF RFID can track the thousands of IT assets that are crucial to practically every business — from the servers, hard drives and tape backups required to warehouse business applications and data to the handheld mobile computers and laptops that provide employees with instant access to information. You know where your assets are, who has which asset at all times, with a complete audit trail for every asset — all without any human effort.
Returnable Transport Items (RTIS)
With UHF RFID tags on bread racks, plastic crates, rolling cages and many of the other types of RTIs required to move and deliver goods, businesses can track the location and status of RTIs no matter where they may be in the supply chain. Fewer spares are required, reducing the capital and operational costs associated with purchasing and managing RTIs. And fees for lost or damaged RTIs can be charged back to the accountable party.