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Did you know that the predecessor of Radio-Frequency Identification was an espionage tool developed for the Soviet Union in 1945? Although an interesting piece of technology history, this application is not exactly relevant to the present-day purposes of RFID tracking—at least not in any mainstream sense.

So where has RFID become the most useful in the two-thousand-teens? Here we’ll take a look at the top five areas in which RFID is the most applicable. 

Materials Management

In the construction industry, managing the flow of materials is one of the most important aspects of any project, and the materials themselves the most expensive. For particularly large projects, even the simple issue of locating needed materials can become a major logjam in the workflow. 

It was only natural that RFID would enter into this arena as a solution to prevent material readiness issues. Concretely, the technology can be used to collect, process, and present actionable data in order to avoid fabrication delays. In short, when you remove the obstacle of material readiness, construction projects tend to go much more smoothly.

Item-Level Inventory Tracking

Tracking assets on the item level has tremendous value across many different industries, though it has shown a particularly high return in the retail industry. The ability to track items along the supply chain all the way up to the point of sale creates a gold mine of actionable data, as long as there is a well-thought-out inventory system in place. Employees working on the floor can even use a handheld RFID reader to quickly count inventory. 

Logistics and Supply Chain Visibility


Efficiency and optimization are the golden words in supply chain, and RFID has been implemented to improve just that. RFID tracking can reduce errors and improve quality in turbulent manufacturing, shipping, and distribution channels by managing the real-time data on the status of individual items and thereby producing insights on actionable measures. In short, RFID creates visibility in a domain where in the past we were often going in blind.

Attendee Tracking

As turbulent as supply chain can be, conference management may be a close contender in the category of chaos. One huge breath of relief RFID can bring to large-caliber event organizers is the easy management of human traffic flow. The technology allows those equipped to be able to track and manage traffic in and out of individual seminars as well as the event itself, thus eliminating the need for registration lines at entrances. If you want to go a step deeper, analyzing traffic flow using RFID can even enable organizers to restructure and optimize the layout of their event. If, for example, analysis shows that certain areas of the event are experiencing lower volume, there may be a simple, on-the-spot solution (e.g. adding a sign, removing an unapparent impediment, etc.).

IT Asset Tracking


If you think IT equipment (laptops, tablets, server blades, etc.) represents a major expense for a professional organization, imagine the incalculable value of the data these items hold. For this reason, many companies today use IT asset tags to quickly manage inventory and make sure all precious items are accounted for at all times. This use case overlaps with the idea of RFID tool tracking, which is a system put in place to manage which tools (or equipment pieces) have been borrowed, which individual has assumed responsibility for the item while it’s out on loan, and which resources have not been returned at the scheduled time.

The above use cases only represent a fraction of the global value that RFID has brought to hundreds of industries in the past decades. Other applications include kiosk management, access control, interactive marketing, library systems, and even laundry management. In short, where there is logistical chaos, RFID is here to restore order, security, visibility, and peace of mind.