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1. Why asset tracking is important ?

 A lack of asset tracking may place the company at risk of bleeding both money and time. It may also naturally lead to issues with company scaling. You want your business to be streamlined and reduce unnecessary workload, such as service experience, administrative tasks, and accountability. In short, asset tracking saves you a lot of headache and pain in favor of organization and efficiency.

One of the most innovative and popular technologies used for asset tracking is Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID). It is a wireless technology that uses radio frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data, identify and manage assets without users needing to enter data manually. Businesses can use this technology for manufacturing, inventory control, warehousing, distribution, logistics, automatic object tracking, and last but not least: supply chain management.

Large corporations, including Walmart back in 2007, chose to incorporate RFID technology into their business to boost their supply chain management optimization and enable more efficient inventory management practices. Thanks to this adoption, the group managed to successfully reduce the volume of excess inventory as well as out-of-stock dilemmas.

2. Passive vs Active RFID Tags

 For an RFID system to work, it requires tags to be attached to items that need to be identified. There are two types of RFID tags available: passive RFID tag and active RFID tag.

In short, a passive RFID has no power source and cannot broadcast a signal to devices on its own. What it does instead is it ‘collects’ the electromagnetic energy transmitted from the RFID reader to generate a signal, allowing it to respond with data. It can be used for things such as file tracking, supply chain management, smart labels, and so on. Due to the lack of an internal power source, passive RFIDS are more affordable.

An active RFID has its own transmitter and power source to transmit a signal. The power source is usually in the form of a battery that lasts 3 to 5 years. These tags have an added benefit of behaving like a broadcasting beacon to allow real-time location tracking. Of course, since you can track them in real time, their read range is far longer than passive tags. However, since an active RFID takes advantage of its own power supply, they are higher priced.

RFID tag

3. Which enterprises could take advantage of a passive RFID ?

 The average passive RFID tag will only have a read distance between a few centimeters and a few meters. Its use is not as flexible as an active RFID tag; however, it has other creative ways it could be applied, such as with smart fitting rooms. Using the RFID system to scan dressing room items, providing the consumer with feedback such as recommendations, product data, and alternative items. In addition to these features, the RFID system also acts as reliable anti-theft technology. Hospitals are also big investors of the passive RFID option, allowing them to tackle simple but serious problems through wristband readers, monitoring sophisticated systems, medication management, and other valuable uses.  

4. Who should invest in active RFID ?

 When it comes to active RFID, the dominant markets taking advantage of this form of tracking are the oil and gas, medical, mining, construction, manufacturing, and shipping/logistics industries. Specifically, industries that have products and assets that are highly time-sensitive.

It is also the most common alternative used in these fields due to the extremely long range, extended functions as well as its synergy with technologies such as GPS, sensors, etc. Active RFID tags are also designed to deal with harsh environments.

garage invetory

5. In conclusion

 RFID is a convenient and efficient asset tracking system that helps businesses better manage their assets/inventories and reduce cost in the long term. The type of RFID that is right for you, wholly depends on your business' needs and investment budget.