Retail and the retail supply chain are among the biggest users of UHF RFID technology. However, retail RFID projects are not the most simple ones. Items in retail come in all shapes, sizes and materials. They are shipped in different boxes, and stored and displayed on all kinds of racks, shelves and tables. Also different readers are used in different applications: logistics tracking, inventory count, RFID EAS, POS, and so on. I have been involved in a number of retail RFID projects, and I have seen how complicated the performance optimization can be.
GS1 Tagged-Item Performance Protocol (TIPP) was developed to help retail RFID by making buying and selling tags easier. But what do the TIPP guidelines mean, and what kind of testing is required?
Being responsible for sales of RFID performance measurement solutions, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with several companies and their design professionals around the world using very different methods for measuring UHF tag performance. Which is the best method then? I’d say it depends on your requirements – for a single basic measurement you may use various methods and even a simple method can be sufficient. However, if you are looking for a way to improve the throughput and efficiency of your R&D team in tag design the differences in methods are huge. So, where does the efficiency come from?
RFID reader frequencies are controlled by governments and limited to narrow frequency bands that vary around the world. When the performance of an UHF tag is evaluated, focusing only on the narrow reader frequency bands is misleading. I have seen in several RFID projects, how the tag performance in field conditions is different from what is expected, leading to delayed projects and expensive re-planning. Testing in a wide frequency band is needed to get the correct information about and good visibility into UHF RFID tag performance. Read more about wide band testing and what it reveals from UHF RFID tag performance!
One of the hot topics at this year’s RFID Journal Live! trade show in San Diego was passive RFID sensing. The show featured several new sensor products from companies like RF Micron, Smartrac, Phase IV Engineering, Farsens, and many others. But what is passive RFID sensing all about? And should you already be working with it?