Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging is changing the way we think about retail business and logistics. RFID tagging is basically an ID system that uses small radio frequency identification devices for identification and tracking purposes. An RFID tagging system includes the tag itself, a read/write device and a host system application for data collection, processing and transmission. Generally an RFID tag consists of a chip, some memory and an antenna.
RFID tags that contain their own power source are known as active tags. Those without a power source are known as passive tags. Active tags have more memory and the distance range from which they can be read is greater than passive tags. Passive tags are briefly activated by a radio frequency scan of the reader with a small electrical current, which is just enough to transmit the ID number.
RFID tagging is a superior competitor to barcode technology as RFID tags don’t fall off, require fixing, get dirty or are unable to scan. Yes, they are more expensive currently, however this will change as more companies adopt RFID tagging and the technology develops over time. Possibilities are nearly limitless for RFID tagging, as they are used for wildlife and livestock using injectable ID chips. As well, they are also in use in the healthcare industry to identify patients and access their medical records.
As an example of retail stores who are widening their business approach to retail, Ugg Australia is trialing a smart mat system which allows shoppers to view a wider range of products electronically via an interactive screen. The purpose of trialing the product is so UGG Australia can extend its product line to include online stock. Ugg Australia will be trialing the Demandware content portal, where the customer can place an RFID-tagged Ugg boot onto the smart mat. The mat will be able to recognize the product and will send additional information to the 10-foot screen in front of the customer. Ugg Australia company’s vision is to carry fewer shoes in-store in the future, while still allowing the physical outlets to show all of the stock available online and to be purchased on the spot.
Customers will also be able to interact with the screen, if they wish to receive a web page link so that they can review the items that they looked at in the privacy of their home, or to share via social networks. The RFID smart mat system is also able to link up to customer’s past purchases with help of a log-in. As well, it makes recommendations based on previous purchases or items browsed.
RFID tags are currently used in many places, such as libraries, museums, schools and universities, as well as public transport. It makes the process of identifying and tracking objects more effective and will probably become an indispensable tool for people to receive the necessary information.