What is RFID?

RFID is an acronym for Radio Frequency Identification. It is a technology which makes use of some form of taggant attached to an antennae (such as a label or physical tag) to encode data that uniquely identifies the item to which it is attached. This data can then be captured via radio waves by different types of powered reader devices. While similar in purpose to a barcode, RFID is seen to have at least two big advantages – the ability to identify objects uniquely (such as via an Electronic Product Code) and the capacity to do this without the need for line-of-sight (unlike a barcode). It is a technology that is used in a number of different settings, such as libraries, collecting road tolls, tracking and identifying animals to name but a few. Its use within retail can be tracked back to the late 1990s/early 2000 when initiatives such as the MIT AUTOID Centre began to develop standards and technologies suitable for use on a wide range of retail products.