We use Radio Frequency Identification technology every day, sometimes unknowingly, for example when using public transportation, boarding a plane with a passport, or even paying in a store.
Radio Frequency Identification
RFID – – uses electromagnetic fields to identify and track objects with passive or active RFID tags. Passive RFID tags must sense energy from a nearby RFID reader, while active tags have their own energy source (such as a battery) to emit their signal, allowing the tag to be detected by a reader at a greater distance.
Like barcodes, RFID tags can be used to quickly identify an object, but unlike barcodes, multiple tags can be read at once and there is no need to physically see the tag, reducing inventory time. RFID tags can also contain much more information than barcodes, allowing more specific identification for each product and facilitating data storage and security. Because of their small size, RFID tags are already being used in everyday items such as passports, library books, clothing and payment cards.
But where did this technology come from? And when did it come into existence?
The BBC recently published an article featuring the Cold War spy technology we still use today.
RFID, the technology on which near field communication (NFC) is based, is said to have been developed during World War II. One of the precursors of this technology was the revolutionary electric musical instrument developed by Leon Theremin. Thanks to the waves generated by the instrument at static frequencies, it could be played without contact. The concept of this invention led to the development of the there min after World War II.
In 1945, a group of boys from the Soviet Pioneer Organization presented a hand-carved ceremonial seal to American Ambassador Harriman. Inside the seal was an antenna activated by radio waves sent by the Soviets to the American Embassy. This served as a microphone for transmitting private conversations. The seal, also referred to as a “thing,” was reportedly examined by the ambassador’s security staff to ensure it did not contain any devices, such as a microphone, but no batteries or wires were found, so the seal was placed in Harriman’s office. For seven years, this was a great place to eavesdrop on private conversations!
In the 1970s, RFID tags were used to track train cars. RFID tags are now used by many organizations, such as large distribution chains around the world, to optimize their supply chains, manage inventory, or control quality processes. Thanks to technological advances in RFID, this technology, based on a simple idea by Temin more than 70 years ago, can be used in numerous applications.
However, RFID was officially invented by Charles Walton in 1983, when he filed the first patent with the word “RFID.” NFC first made headlines in 2002 and has continued to evolve ever since.
What is revolutionary, however, is that the technology has not been quickly adopted, especially in the retail sector. Modern “RFID technology has been around for nearly 20 years, but initially many companies did not realize the benefits they could achieve due to the high price of the tags and the lack of means to analyze data. retreated from using RFID. Other challenges, such as integrating the technology with existing ERP systems, inventory management, and last but not least, the cultural changes needed to support this change, have hindered the use of this technology.
However, in recent years, major brands such as Adidas, Decathlon, John Lewis, Tesco, River Island and M&S have implemented RFID in their businesses, and all have seen a return on investment by reporting sales increases of up to 5.5% and inventory reductions of up to 13%.
What is NFC?
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a wireless communication technology based on radio frequency (13.56 MHz) that allows two electronic devices to communicate with each other by bringing them “about 4 cm” closer together. NFC is therefore more flexible than RFID and can be used by anyone with a smartphone. ‘Smart packaging’ and ‘smart marketing’. By scanning a label, customers can learn more about a product, enter a contest, or receive personalized content and recommendations.
NFC is a unique and secure technology that provides an exceptional customer experience and is suitable for both Android and some IOS models, giving brands endless possibilities in terms of customer engagement and satisfaction.
What is the future of Radio Frequency Identification technology ?
RFID is not only being used in retail, but also in new sectors such as automotive, aviation and healthcare.
With the advent of multi-channel communication and increasing consumer demands, RFID technology, especially NFC, is also opening up opportunities in other areas such as secure authentication, smart dressing rooms and packaging. By using RFID technology, digital marketers can better understand customer habits and adapt their marketing strategies.