Applications of RFID fall into two principal categories
1. Short range applications where the reader and tag must be in close proximity (such as in access control).
2. Medium to long application, where the distance may be greater (such as reading across a distribution centre dock door).
A sample of applications is shown below:
Access control for people:
There are many areas where RFID tags are carried by people to allow them to gain access to facilities or services:
- Secure access to work place
- Safety access to dangerous/secure equipment
- Access to a computer or vehicle
- Access to travel on trains/buses
- Access to leisure facilities
Access control for vehicles:
- Secure access on site
- Road tolling
- Instant payment for fuel
- Control of flexible manufacturing processes by recognising items being built on a production line (mass customization enabler)
- Labeling key components for later recycling
Logistics and distribution:
- Tracking parcels from shipment to end customer
- Tracking goods from manufacture through to retail
- Supply chain management
- Stock taking
- Reducing loss through shrinkage
- Reverse logistics
- Product availability
- Plant & Equipment
- Fixed assets
- Tamper evidence
- Product authentication
The profitable RFID applications in use today will continue to drive the market.
Some of these are:
A tag is embedded under the animal's skin; most commonly known use is to identify household pets. RFID tags help farmers to identify and track their farm animals, also used in wildlife conservation.
RAILWAY CAR AND CONTAINERS
Identifies and monitors railcars, primarily helps to avoid accidents, but also provides sorting capabilities.
ELECTRONIC TOLL COLLECTION
Identifies vehicles passing a toll station and debits their account automatically.
FUEL DISPENSING LOYALTY PROGRAMS
Customers pay for their fuel at the pump with a wave of their key tag.
Tags are embedded into a key, a reader in the vehicle ignition system reads the unique code which then allows the vehicle to start.
Some other current uses include waste management, automating parking and managing traffic, the dispensing of all types of products, providing ski lift access, the tracking of library books and more.
Major growth in the future will come from real-time location systems, asset management, baggage handling, and cash less payment systems. Business segments such as supply chain management, logistics, warehousing and manufacturing will greatly benefit from the use of RFID technology.