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Tosh Kumar
CS,4th year
RFID-What it is?
• Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is an automatic
identification method, relying on storing and remotely
retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or
• RFID (radio frequency identification) is a technology that
incorporates the use of electromagnetic or electrostatic
coupling in the radio frequency (RF) portion of the
electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify an object,
animal, or person.
• An alternative to bar code.
• RFID is also called dedicated short range communication
• Invented in 1948 by Harry Stockman.

• Initial application was during World War II-The United

Kingdom used RFID devices to distinguish returning
English airplanes from inbound German ones. RADAR
was only able to signal the presence of a plane, not
the kind of plane it was..

• Came into commercial use only in 1990s.

Components of RFID
Components of RFID(cont’d)
Passive RFID Tags
Active RFID Tags
• Battery Powered tags
– Have much greater range – 100m
– Hold much more information – Kbytes
– Can integrate sensing technology
• Temperature, GPS
– Can signal at defined time
– Multiple tags can be recorded at once
• Used for higher value items
– Shipping containers
– Babies
– Electronic assets
• Cost between $20 and $40 per item
• Life between 2 – 4 years
Components of RFID(cont’d)
Active RFID Passive RFID

Tag Power Source Internal to tag Energy transferred using

RF from reader

Tag Battery Yes No

Availability of power Continuous Only in field of reader

Required signal strength Very Low Very High

to Tag
Range Up to 100m Up to 3-5m, usually less

Multi-tag reading 1000’s of tags recognized Few hundred within 3m of

– up to 100mph reader

Data Storage Up to 128Kb or read/write 128 bytes of read/write

with sophisticated search
and access
Components of RFID(cont’d)
Electronic product code-EPC
• Each tag contains a unique code that facilitating the
identification process & is known as EPC.

• E.g. 613.23000.123456.123456789 (96 bits)

• Header – defines version of EPC(8 bits)

• EPC Manager – describes originator of EPC (Product

manufacturer) (28 bits)

• Object Class - Could describe the product type (24 Bits)

• Serial Number – Unique ID for that product item (36 Bits)

System overview
RFID Vs Bar Code
RFID Barcode
Forging is difficult Forging is easy
Scanner not required. No need Scanner needs to see the bar
to bring the tag near the code to read it
RFID is comparatively fast

Can read multiple tags Can read only one tag at a

Relatively expensive as
compared to Bar Codes
(Reader 1000$, Tag 20 cents a
Can be reusable within factory Cannot be reused
Benefits of RFID
• Gillette & Co:

• Objective: To Track movement of product from Packaging

Center to Plant’s distribution center.

• Previously->Using Bar Code, time taken=80 sec to 20 min

• 1999->With RFID it takes 20 seconds.

• Gains->Gillette saves 20% in Operational Cost at each

Distribution Center.
Issues / Concerns
Uses of RFID
• Used where unique identification is needed.
• Large Retail companies – Product Tracking.
• Hospitals & Nursing Homes – Patient Tagging .
• Airports – Baggage Tracking.
• Security Applications – Contactless Smart Cards.
• RFID Readers could also WRITE onto Tags.
• RFID Sensors to sense temperature, movement, radiation, food
• Passports-UK, Australia, Finland, Ireland.
• RFID is used in Libraries.
• Replacing Barcodes.
Initiatives in RFID
• Patni Computer Systems Lab – Implemented Animal Tracking System

• Wipro Technologies - Member of the Electronic Product Code (EPC)

- Setting up a lab to study RFID
- Working on pilot projects

• Infosys Technologies – RFID consulting on logistics player in the RFID

• TCS have tied up with Hyderabad university to produce RFID tagged
mark sheets & degrees to deter use of fake degree.

• Intellicon - pilot project for BEL Bangalore, tags installed on employee

buses. Buses inside the BEL campus were tracked with the aim of
gauging employee punctuality.