RFID technology makes it possible to identify and locate objects, people and animals and to read and save data contactless through electromagnetic waves. For RFID position tracking you always need a transponder and a reading device. The transponder can save data.
In most cases, the transponder is passive and has no individual power supply. Depending on the frequency range, the reader must be located within a radius of between a few centimeters and one meter from the transponder (= RFID tag) to be able to interchange data.
Active RFID tags are also available. They have an individual battery and thus are heavier and more expensive than passive transponders. However, they have a significantly higher range (up to 10 meters). If personal data are saved on the tag, the Federal Data Protection Act applies in Germany.
Use cases for RFID technology
- logistics (stock control, supply chain management)
- access control (car park, office buildings, ski pass…)
- identification of pets and livestock
- time recording
- identity card
- admission tickets
- retail (self-checkout, product information, debit cards, payment cards)
- theft protection
- traffic (toll systems, car park, electronic immobilizer)
- healthcare (backtracking of medication and units of stored blood, identification and localization of patients, quality management, localization of medical equipment)
RFID indoor positioning and indoor navigation
RFID technology is most frequently deployed in the production and logistics sector. For example it is possible to track objects in the production chain (RFID location tracking). Another scenario is to save data via RFID tag which is attached to the object. Data can for example include the expiration date and other information. It can also make sense to locate and identify patients and medical equipment in hospitals. For this purpose, several readers are spaced out in the building, which find out the position of the objects. Accuracy depends on the frequency used. RFID tags can also be used for indoor navigation, but it is not very flexible and user friendly: Target coordinates can be saved on a RFID card, which can be transferred to a factory master control system, for example a touchscreen or a terminal solution. This screen can show the best route starting from the current position.