RFID technology was invented in the late 1940s during World War II. The British used RFID radar system, associated with radio transponders, to discriminate between their and German aircrafts. However, exploitation of the RFID process at such a large platform didn’t push the commercial industries to adopt this technology. It is mainly due to the high-cost of RFID technology as compared to Barcode.
Among all the commercial sectors, Wal-Mart, a multinational retail company, adopted RFID technology in the year 2004 by selecting UHF frequency band to improve the performance of their inventories, asset management and tracking operations.
Due to high-cost, retailers are not adopting this approach. Besides, RFID technology also contains several challenges and limitations which must be overcome before the industrial deployment of RFID tags.
In this blog, we have gathered challenges and limitations of RFID technology to inform the reader that they might face during the implementation of the RFID transmission process. Let’s start with the cost;
- Cost of RFID Technology
The major challenge is the price and return on investment (ROI) in the implementation of RFID technology. Companies have to bear the cost of all RFID elements; RFID tags, readers, hardware, software along with the routine maintenance.
Furthermore, manufacturing companies can’t shut the existing business of barcodes as customers preferred barcodes over RFID tags. Thus, companies are bearing the cost of both barcodes and RFID to meet customer’s demands.
According to A.T consulting firm valuation, retailers need to invest $400,000 for every distribution centre, $100,000 for every store and $40 million to embrace RFID technology into their existing transmission and information system.
The cost of passive tags was decreased to 20 cents per tag from 100 cents per tag in the year 2000, but firms must explore other opportunities to make passive, semi-passive and active tags a cost-effective solution.
- Standards of RFID Technology
Supply chain stores can reveal maximum benefits of RFID technology if they share common standards, protocols, transmission frequency and bandwidth.
Presence of conflict across the world-wide partners increases the cost of RFID technology. If the supply chain retailers agree on a single standard, the cost of RFID deployment will fall and force the manufacturers to build only compatible RFID tags, readers, microchip, hardware and application for all sectors.
Currently, several standards of RFID technology are present in the market such as ISO 11785, ISO/IEC 14443or ISO/IEC 15693, ISO/IEC 18000-6 associated with low-frequency, medium frequency, and ultra-high frequency respectively.
- Selection of RFID Tags and Reader
Antenna design of tag, an operating frequency of tag, antenna shape of the reader are all the important factors that affect the performance the RFID tags and reader. For instance,
Challenges of Low-Frequency RFID Tags
The size and cost of low-frequency RFID tags are elevated as they need a large dimension of antenna design. Moreover, these LF tags are resistive towards metal presence and non-ferrous metallic nature.
Challenges of High-Frequency RFID Tags
The size and cost of high-frequency RFID tags are limited as they need the miniature size of antenna design; however, expensive readers are needed to transmit RF signals. Though at high frequencies, it is easy for RFID readers to transfer data and maintain speed, yet it is hard to protect the human body from RF radiation. In contrast to the above, HF tags are impacted by the presence of metals, water, glass surface and moist atmosphere.
Polarization of Reader Antenna
It is recommended to use a circularly polarized antenna for the reader if the position of the tag is unknown in the RF field, but it can’t provide promising results for longer ranges and enhanced penetration. Nevertheless, the use of linear polarized reader antenna can solve this problem.
- Security of RFID Tags
Security of passive RFID tags is also considered as one of the major challenges in RFID field. There are many unguarded passive tags that can be exposed to malevolent and spiteful attacks, including spoofing, eavesdropping, denial of service. As a result, hackers can exploit this data for misleading customers and similar illegal activities.
RFID technology offers potential benefits, but to take advantage of these benefits, one has to overcome limitations and challenges. Among all, cost and security of RFID technology are of major concern. Manufacturing industries must explore new solutions to limit the cost and to boost the security of RFID tags. In this way, supply chain stores and retailing companies would experience seamless integration in the coming years.