RFID (radio-frequency identification), which uses radio waves to wirelessly transmit the identity (e.g. serial number) and other characteristics of an object, is an emerging positioning technology that allows for mobility tracking of objects or people. As it offers a limited range of less than a meter, RFID is not suitable for exhaustive localization, but rather for a selective object identification. It is cost-effective, easy of maintenance and provides both identification and location. This makes localization via RFID particularly suitable for tracking solutions in industrial environments (e.g. asset management).
An RFID indoor positioning system typically contains of transponders (attached to objects/people) and a reader (infsoft Locator Node). In a passive RFID system, the Locator Node functions as a power source and transfers radio-frequency energy to the transponder at short distance (remote-coupling). ID and data from the transponder are then captured by the Locator Node and forwarded to the infsoft LocAware platform®, where the data is processed.
In contrast to area-wide localization technologies, e.g. via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons or Ultra-wideband (UWB), RFID tracking only enables spot localization due to its highly limited range of less than a meter.
However, if an application requires more than spot detection, RFID can be combined with real-time positioning technologies such as BLE, Wi-Fi or Ultra-wideband. For example, if you provide a forklift with an infsoft Locator Node which sensors respond to RFID and UWB, you can make a connection between the location data of the forklift and the detection times of RFID-tagged goods.
RFID systems are used in numerous applications. Here are some examples:
In the automotive industry, RFID technology may be used for vehicle identification, quality control in production or asset management. An additional benefit can be obtained by linking the vehicle identification to further data such as product history. By equipping the vehicles and production parts with UWB tags, a correlation with position data can be established. Software solution used: Indoor Tracking, Indoor AnalyticsSensors used: RFID, Ultra-wideband
The shopping carts in a supermarket are equipped with a BLE beacon and an infsoft Locator Tag with an RFID module. By tracking the beacon and scanning the RFID tag at the checkout, a connection between the customer's journey and the receipt (comparison with time stamp) can be established. Software solution used: Indoor Tracking, Indoor AnalyticsSensors used: RFID, Bluetooth Low Energy (beacons)Example of use: Analysis of Consumer Behavior in a Supermarket
In a warehouse, the position of forklift trucks is tracked via Ultra-wideband. The Locator Node, which is mounted on the forklift, also functions as an RFID reader and records the information (ID number) of RFID tags attached to the pallets. This allows the entire transport chain to be monitored and processes to be optimized. Software solution used: Indoor Tracking, Indoor AnalyticsSensors used: RFID, Ultra-widebandExample of use: Tracking of Floor Conveyors and Goods in Logistics