Radio-frequency Identification uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to or embedded in objects. An RFID tag consists of a tiny radio transponder, a radio receiver and transmitter.

A passive RFID tag is powered by the RFID scanner so that it can transmit its signal; an active RFID tag must have its own battery to transmit its signal.


  • Access Control: Access discs for business premises or residential complexes & buildings
    • Tags scanned at access points to open gates & doors
  • Security: Often attached to high-price items in-store to prevent theft
    • Tag activates alarm at the door unless removed from the article
  • Library books: librarians can check books in and out quickly and accurately with RFID tags embedded in the spine of the books
  • Parcel tracking: items can be tracked and the data can automatically be uploaded to a database system for point-to-point live-tracking
  • Timing Systems: Used in sports races to time competitors
    • Time is taken when crossing “mat” at start and finish lines (and points in between)
  • Animal Chipping: A small microchip is inserted under the skin of the animal (pets, livestock, etc).
    • The chip holds a unique ID number which can be scanned and looked up in an online database to find the contact details of the owner.
    • Micro-chipped pets can be scanned at a vet or at an animal shelter.


When we discuss the advantages & disadvantages of a technology, we must bear in mind what alternative (if any) technologies could be used so that we may make a comparison. RFID tags are often used in place of bar-codes.

  • RFID tags are faster and easier to scan than a bar-codes as the tag just needs to come close to the scanner, it does not actually need “line-of-sight”
  • Multiple RFID tags can be scanned simultaneously
  • RFID tags are durable & reusable

Read more about this technology here: https://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definition/RFID-radio-frequency-identification

By MisterFoxOnline

CAT Educator

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