Radio Frequency Identification

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Introduction
RFID is an acronym of Radio Frequency Identification. RFID systems allow for contactless identification of objects. An RFID system is made up of three parts – the RFID tag itself (also called a transponder), a device which reads the tag and a (backend) IT system which looks up the ID on the tag with a database record to identify and describe the object. The RFID tag consists of a silicon chip, containing a unique identification number and an antenna which communicates with the reader device. This communication happens over radio frequency waves. RFID tags may be of the passive or active variety. Passive tags do not have a battery and use the energy stored in the reader device to communicate with the tag via means of reflection. Active tags have a battery and can thus send a stronger signal allowing these tags to be read at a longer distance. Wal-Mart is credited with jumpstarting the use of RFID technology thanks to the mandate it passed in June 2003 to introduce RFID tags on cases and pallets. Before the mandate, RFID had found limited usage. Wal-Mart was soon followed by the Department of Defense and retailers like Best Buy. (Delen, Hardgrave, & Sharda, 2007) These systems have since found popular usage in – amongst other things – access control, credit cards, contactless smart cards, smart tickets, sports equipment, toys, gaming, in the automotive industry in electric vehicles, anti-theft systems, etc. The focus of this paper however, will be on the usage of RFID in supply chains where it has been used in inventory management, reusable containers identification, fixed and mobile asset tracking, high value item identification, airport baggage handling etc. (Hill, 2013). The two main advantages provided by RFID syste...

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