RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) is a type of wireless technology that sends and receives messages from asset tracking tags using specific frequencies. RFID is essentially two parts working together—the readers and the tags. The reader emits radio waves and collects signals from the tags.

The two different types of RFID tags, Passive and Active, relay basic information such as the asset’s location to the readers. Here are some of the differences between Active and Passive RFID tracking systems.

Active v. Passive RFID

Because passive RFID is a battery-free technology, many industries have found RFID asset tracking to be a helpful investment. This type of asset tracking can be as simple as barcode stickers on merchandise. These stickers can be scanned and tracked as they move through a shipping or manufacturing facility. Passive RFID can keep track of assets located in a specific room.

Active RFID uses battery-powered tags that communicate with the access points throughout a specified area. This RFID tracking system monitors the location of the tags and sends this information to the cloud when prompted. Why is RFID important for asset tracking?

Why is Active RFID Better than Passive RFID?

Now that you understand the difference between both passive and active RFID, let’s explore what makes active RFID the leading solution.

Real-Time Data: Because passive RFID uses non-powered tags, or barcodes, they cannot detect where an asset is at any given moment.  When a passive tag is scanned, that is the last known location. With active RFID, the tags are battery-powered, which enable users to detect where an asset is in real-time through a User Interface.  Active tags can scan in set intervals as often as a user needs.

Sensors: Passive RFID tags don’t have the built-in capability to measure other real-time data, such as temperature.  The form factor of a barcode tag may be small but users will miss out on valuable information.  Active tags can have sensors, which measure important data such as temperature, in addition to real-time location.

Location Accuracy: Passive tags only provide location information based on the last scanned location. If a user is searching for a piece of equipment, they only have that information to rely on.  With active RFID, a user can run a search for an asset tag and find it with greater accuracy as needed.

These reasons, among others, make active RFID the next generation of asset tracking.

Use Cases for Active RFID Tracking

Active RFID tracking has proven to be helpful in several different industries. Let’s take a look at some of its uses.

Healthcare: Active RFID tags and Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) beacons improve patient care by tracking the location and condition of medical equipment as it moves within a facility. 

Hospitality: Active RFID tags function as panic button systems that send distress signals and pinpoint at-risk employees’ locations.  

Transportations Hubs: Active RFID can be used to help with cargo and trailer tracking. It can also ensure that climate-sensitive assets don’t enter areas that could damage them. 

Manufacturing: In the manufacturing industry, Active RFID is used for real-time location services (RTLS) for equipment and employees within buildings. 

These use cases showcase what RFID can do. As more and more businesses look to the Internet of Things (IoT) for solutions to handle their asset tracking needs, RFID asset tracking has risen to solve that need.

RFID Asset Tracking

As the need for greater visibility continues to rise, RFID technology, particularly RTLS (Real Time Location Systems) solutions, has become important. Many businesses in the healthcare, logistics, and manufacturing have implemented asset tracking to keep their inventory, fleet, and personnel accounted for. Businesses wanting to keep their losses down and seeking to utilize downtime as efficiently as possible have found RTLS solutions such as Link Labs’ AirFinder OnSite to be effective.

For example, asset tracking tags attached to heavy machinery that move throughout a warehouse can accurately tell the user where that asset is located. Hospitals using active RFID equipment tracking can quickly find medical equipment that they use and move frequently. Some businesses using RFID asset tracking can also calibrate this technology to locate their personnel in a large building for safety purposes.

Wrapping it Up

More and more businesses are turning to IoT tracking devices (Internet of Things) to best manage their assets. RFID equipment tracking has helped these businesses use Active RFID to locate their physical assets that they use on a daily basis. Greater visibility and efficiency throughout your business are just a few of the benefits RFID tracking can deliver. As more businesses look for IoT tracking devices to manage their assets, consider Link Labs as your solution.  Book a demo to get started!

Link Labs

Written by Link Labs

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