A Brief Overview of RFID Tags

by Maverick Label | July 20, 2015

What Is A RFID Tag?

RFID tag opened to show different layers of a RFID tag

Radio Frequency Identification Tags, or RFID tags, are a microchip and antenna attached to a paper-thin base that can be placed in a label. The microchip antenna is the conductive element that enables the microchip to send and receive data. The RFID tag picks up signals from and sends signals to a reader. The tag contains a unique serial number, but may have other information, such as a customer's' account number. RFID tags can be active, passive or semi-passive.

The tags are read by an RFID Reader, which is a device that has one or more antennas which emit radio waves and receive signals back from the RFID tags. The reader is sometimes called an interrogator because it "interrogates" the signal from the microchip.

Why Is RFID In Demand?

RFID can have many benefits; from controlling shrinkage in retail environments to speeding distribution throughout entire supply chains to tracking individual purchases of specific items and so on. The uses are many and varied - based on saving resources or gathering valuable data or both. The real limits to RFID have more to do with costs of implementation and ongoing use and support than they do with the actual benefits available. RFID can be costly and the business that looks into RFID needs to be very specific about their expected return on investment. That said, RFID is used by thousands of companies - and growing daily.

Who Is Using RFID Labels?

As RFID technology costs diminish, more and more businesses are relying on RFID. From wholesale distribution to retail sales, from animal tracking to property protection, RFID is used across all industries. Recently, the big box retailers like WALMART® have introduced initiatives to ultimately place an RFID label on every item they sell. While it may be some time before consumers take home a bag full of RFID embedded products, the emerging trends are clearly leading in that direction.