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RFID Applications

15 November 2021

By Rajesh S


In one of our earlier blogs we mentioned the relevance of RFID in the IoT space   When we think of RFID and its applications, it spans multiple verticals or industries. There’s a lot of advantages of using Ultra High Frequency fixed and handheld RFID readers along with passive UHF RFID tags, Let’s have a look at some of the applications of RFID being used among different industry verticals.

Retail

Inventory Management:

The real-time visibility of the articles available in the retail store enhances the effective management of inventory.  Each item is tagged with a UHF passive RFID tag, so that when the store manager wanted to take a count on the inventory all he needs to do is just scan the articles with the UHF Handheld RFID scanner.  The data is automatically updated in the backend and end-user can see the availability of the articles in the frontend (customized business application).

  • Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS):

Electronic Article Surveillance is the term used for theft prevention which is commonly used in retail stores and libraries.  Do you imagine a situation where you walk out of a retail store after the purchase and the alarm in the gate goes up! How do the pedestals know you are carrying an item in your bag which is not billed? Well, that’s the advantage of having an RFID enabled EAS system in place.

  • Self-checkout Terminals:

Sometimes, it happens that in the retail store customers must wait in long que to bill the items, the pile-up of customers may be because of a technical failure, shortage of trained staff, shortage of counters.

How about a solution in which customers can pick the items and complete the payment process and walk out of the store within a few seconds instead of minutes? Thanks to the RFID enabled payment process which saves time both for the customer and retail shop owner.

Transportation

  • Intelligent Transport System (ITS):

Whether it is Electronic Vehicle Registration (EVR), Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), Automated Vehicle Identification (AVI) or Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), every application requires highly accurate identification at the highest speed. Finally, the communication between a reader and a transponder (another name for RFID tag) as well as between a reader and a back-end system requires the highest level of security.

The base idea behind implementing RFID Based Toll System is to automate the toll collection process and thereby reducing manual operation in toll booths and the long queues at toll booths using RFID tags installed on the vehicle

Automotive

  • Automatic Vehicle Identification System (AVTS)

A workshop, which was earlier a black box, is turned into a well-defined RF Zones enabled by RFID to track real-time vehicle status in successive workshop stages like Service Entry, Washing stage, Shopfloor, Bay, Reserve parking, Final Delivery stage. The use of RFID technology – tags, readers, antennas – captures important information on time spent at each stage that helps in correcting processes and utilization of resources, thereby improving efficiencies and customer experience.

Automatic Vehicle Tracking Solution (AVTS) identifies and captures vehicle information by reading an RFID Tag automatically without manual intervention.

Healthcare

  • Surgical Room Utilization

When it comes to managing a surgical room, it is usually a time-consuming process. It requires a lot of manual effort and coordination to ensure the surgical room is ready for use. 

By using RFID, the preparation time is reduced to half by sending a notification to the necessary teams when the patient leaves the room after a surgical procedure, all these can be done without manual intervention. In addition to that, the hospital management will also have visibility of the number of surgical procedures done so that they plan for the patient traffic in advance.

  • File/Document management

Among the few businesses where documents are the most critical assets, healthcare is one of them as most of the documents need to be stored as a hardcopy.  File/Document management can be made simple by assigning a uniquely encoded tag for each document and associating it to the document via software.  We can either use a fixed UHF RFID Reader or a Handheld Reader to track and find the location of the document.

  • Consultation room utilization and monitoring

Visiting a medical clinic for consultation can be time-saving for the patient, to reduce the length of stay we can use RFID technology to track the time spent in the consultation room by the patient. If the patient is given an RFID tag with his/her details mapped, we can track the IN/OUT time when they walk inside a consultation room every time.  Additionally, it adds to patient safety as well by restricting patient access to certain zones.

  • Medical equipment utilization and monitoring

Maintaining, managing, and providing visibility of the real-time status of essential lifesaving drugs and medicines is one of them. The list is not confined to just lifesaving medicines and drugs, it is extended to disposable surgical items like syringes, masks, gloves, oxygen cylinders, sanitisers and more. The process starts with attaching RFID tags to supplies and medications, using RFID readers or gateways mounted in cabinets, doorways, or rooms to wirelessly identify, locate medications and supplies. See accurate, real-time data about inventory across multiple supply rooms in multiple hospital facilities.

  • Linen Tracking

Hospitals have a large volume of linens in-house that needs to be laundered daily.  While managing and maintaining the big volume of lines itself is a challenge, it is vital to ensure that all linens undergo a strict laundry process in order to eliminate the spread of disease. The OT linen materials need special care since they must be washed & sterilized carefully. The labour-intensive approach and processes are time-consuming and do not guarantee this requirement.  If improper use or loss occurs, the amount of linen in circulation diminishes and supply will fail to meet demand, resulting in the need to continuously replenish linen.

With an RFID based linen management system, RFID tags are attached to each piece of laundry, and when the RFID tags move through the assembly line, an RFID reader sends an interrogating signal and reads the tags. When each tag is read, the software determines what type of textile is being read and directs it to the proper area or machine. The software’s findings can be displayed on a screen so that a person can immediately direct the textile or linen to its next destination.

Manufacturing

Unlike other verticals manufacturing involves complex and repetitive processes in their operations. Introducing RFID technology to the manufacturing process can help to address a variety of challenges.

  • Inventory Visibility

How to differentiate the items between Work in Progress and finished goods? Tagging an item with a passive RFID tag will reduce the manual process and increase productivity.

Moreover, RFID passive tags are available in various form factors which can withstand extreme temperature, humidity and other parameters which are specific to production environment.

  • Equipment Tracking

Placing RFID tags on assets makes it easier to locate them as they are needed for the flawless flow of the production process.

Asset Management

Asset tracking and management are required in all verticals. Asset Management is a vital area for any organization, especially large ones. Gaps in data concerning assets can lead to a lot of issues which an organization needs to take cognizance of Compliance during audits, Location & ownership, non-performing assets, excess ordering. Once an asset is tagged, it can be tracked for movement, physical verification and a lot of intelligence can be built around this asset data, asset movements are tracked on a real-time basis. Visibility and accuracy in information lead to higher compliance.

Parking Management

How does a resident in a gated community feel if he/she is welcomed when his car is automatically identified, and the barrier is opened with a greeting message?

No matter whether it is private, residential, corporate or public parking, using UHF RFID readers and passive UHF RFID tags are beneficial as it can open the boom barrier automatically when the vehicle’s tag is already registered, and it activates the GPIO (General Purpose Input Output) connection in which the boom barrier is integrated.

The use cases/applications listed here to explore the possibilities of using RFID technology to enhance the business objectives for each vertical, however indeed there are many potential pain points waiting to be resolved with RFID.

At Intellistride, we are armed with a team of IoT solution consultants backed by an efficient sales team who understands our customer requirements well and provide best in class customized business solutions. With years of industry experience, Intellistride offers end to end solutions by connecting physical items, software platforms and business apps to provide information for intelligent management and quick decision making, enhancing business performance and profitability.

IntelliStride

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