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What is RFID and how is it used today in the retail industry?

May 10, 2022
Tyler Kern

While many have likely not heard of radio frequency identification (RFID), it’s likely most consumers are using it now. For instance, the newer ‘tap’ credit card feature — the one that allows you to skip the fuss of inserting your card into the credit card reader — is a more recent example of RFID technology. Datascan’s Vice President of Technology Strategy, Herb Billings, explained the current and future use of RFID technology to host of Herb’s Hot Takes, Tyler Kern, in part one of this five-part podcast series.

RFID is a “chip with a globally unique identifier in it and an antenna that can be read using radio waves.” While this technology may appear new, its origins start in WWII.

First developed by the British to help them distinguish friend and foe airplanes, it was later adopted for electronic article surveillance seeing much commercial success. Now in the modern age, RFID technology is found in everyday conveniences, like hotel door locks and vehicle toll tags, and many industries, including agriculture and retail.

There are two main types of RFID: active and passive. With active RFID, there is a power source, such as a battery, that delivers a longer read range. Conversely, passive RFID has no power source, causing a shorter read range.

Datascan understands the potential for this technology to continue growing, and retailers look to RFID to help improve their inventory management tasks, customer experience, and bottom line.

Given the future of this technology, Billings announced: “We are very excited to announce a partnership… with Frequentiel, Europe’s premier RFID company. They have a system called OCTO+, which is an industry-leading platform that we are marrying with our extensive retail inventory counting experience.”

Find more information about RFID by tuning into this series on Herb’s Hot Takes or connecting with Herb Billings on LinkedIn.

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