IoT Devices: What You Need to Know About RFID and RFID Asset Tracking

Understanding what IoT Devices are and what they do can help you make informed decisions for your organization. Here is what you need to know about RFID and RFID asset tracking.

Two employees working in a warehouse using RFID tracking software to locate inventory
RFID is an important part of IoT and tracking assets and inventory.

As a leading provider of global RFID asset and inventory tracking software, we understand the importance of staying informed about the latest IoT tracking devices and technologies. In today’s world, smart devices have become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives. This includes smartphones and home appliances to sensors and beyond. Thanks to advances in information technology and electromechanical components, these devices are now capable of processing and computing data quickly and efficiently. One of these technologies is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). 

What is RFID and how does it work?

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology automatically identifies and tracks objects in a wide range of industries. RFID tags contain microchips that store information about the object they are attached to. These can then be read remotely by a scanning device using radio waves and electromagnetic fields. The RFID tag has a built-in antenna that communicates to a scanning device that reads the data remotely. The data is then transferred from the scanning device to the enterprise application software that houses the data. Each RFID tag has its own unique identifying number.

RFID also records the movement of assets and personnel. You’ve probably experienced RFID tags on the windshield of your vehicle during toll scans or even in newer biometric passports. RFID is increasingly becoming popular as a replacement to barcode for scanning and tracking.

The components of RFID

Using radio waves and electromagnetic fields to send data, RFID tracking systems consist of three main components:

Component #1 – RFID tags: There are two types of RFID tags: passive and active. Passive tags are popular in retail settings since they do not require a power supply. Active tags have their own power source and can collect more detailed information about the object they are attached to. RFID tags can be attached to objects or embedded in devices like cameras and GPS sensors, allowing you to identify and locate them easily.

Component #2 – the RFID reader: An RFID reader is a device that scans RFID tags and collects information about the asset or inventory item attached to the tag. These readers can be hand-held or wired, and work with USB and Bluetooth.

Component #3 – the RFID applications or software: RFID inventory or asset tracking software controls and monitors RFID tags associated with your assets. This can be a mobile application or a standard software package. Most of the time the two work in conjunction. For example, Apptricity’s RFID asset tracking software allows users to assign tags via our mobile application or through the software. The software receives the information from the reader’s scans, relaying that data to the user for up to real-time asset and inventory tracking!

What are the benefits of RFID technology?

RFID tracking technology offers numerous benefits, including increased efficiency and accuracy in tracking, real-time visibility in managing inventory and assets, reduced labor costs, improved supply chain management, and enhanced security.

Increased efficiency and accuracy in tracking

Since this technology uses radio waves to identify and track assets, it provides a much faster and more accurate tracking process than traditional methods. With RFID, enterprises can receive real-time scan data the moment that readers scan assets, inventory, and even personnel. If implementing with a proven infrastructure, such as Apptricity’s enterprise-level tested system, your team can track all of these in real-time. This eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing errors and improving overall efficiency.

Real-time visibility in managing inventory and assets

With RFID tags, enterprises can track location, movement, lifecycle, custodianship history, and more data in real-time. This greatly improves asset and inventory visibility. In addition, Apptricity’s technology has the ability to pair with sensor data such as light sensitivity, pressure, temperature, etc. This enables enterprises to make informed decisions about inventory management and asset utilization. By acting upon the data, enterprises reduce the risk of stockouts and increasing productivity.

Reduced labor costs

RFID tracking technology eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing labor costs associated with tracking inventory and assets. This is especially true when considering cycle counting. Employees spend lots of time locating lost or misplaced assets. During cycle counts, this time increases as employees manually search and scan every asset and inventory item. With an automated RFID tracking solution, the process becomes streamlined. Employees get to focus on more important tasks, such as optimizing inventory, rather than spending time manually inputting data.

Improved supply chain management

In addition, this technology provides enterprises with end-to-end visibility in their supply chain, from raw materials to finished goods. With RFID, businesses can easily track the movement of their goods, including where they are in the supply chain, their shipment status, and their expected time of arrival. Apptricity’s RFID inventory tracking software can scan items even within vehicles. This provides inventory managers with real-time updates on how much inventory is onboard vehicles. The software also sends alerts the moment inventory exits a vehicle or falls below user-defined thresholds.  When these thresholds break, managers use the software to automate purchase orders from preferred vendors. This level of visibility enables enterprises to optimize their entire supply chain processes, from purchase to retirement or sale. The whole process becomes easily visible and manageable with Apptricity.

Enhanced security

RFID tracking technology can help enhance security by allowing businesses to monitor the movement of assets and personnel in real-time. Simply put, RFID tags can track employees who have access to certain areas, ensuring only authorized personnel can enter. It can also restrict certain personnel from checking out tools or equipment that they do not have clearance to operate, preventing injuries and ensuring employee safety.
This technology can also help identify potential theft or loss of assets. Missing items become easier to track and recover. Users can also establish geofences to restrict assets from leaving specific locations. The same users can receive alerts as these assets get closer to their geofences. The same goes for personnel, which is especially important for large enterprises where safety is a chief concern.

How do I get started with RFID tracking?

Getting started with RFID tracking involves selecting the right tags, readers, and software for your specific needs. It also requires implementation of the RFID tracking hardware to pair easily with the tracking software, to give users an easy asset and inventory management experience. The best place to begin RFID tracking is right here! The US Army, US Air Force, Verizon, Komatsu, Brinks, and other Fortune companies trust Apptricity to help them automate their supply chain management. You can start by watching a demo to see the software in action!

Where can I find RFID readers?

RFID readers can be found through a variety of sources, including online retailers and specialized RFID hardware providers. Apptricity offers a range of RFID readers and related hardware. Apptricity’s patented IoT edge devices are the fastest tracking edge solutions on the market. Named the “I-Connect Controller,” this series reads RFID and BLE tags and transmits that data to the cloud via secure WiFi, LTE, or ethernet connection. These track assets and inventory, both in-transit and static environments and report to the Apptricity asset and/or inventory tracking software in real-time.

What is a RFID inventory tracking system?

A RFID inventory tracking system is a software solution that allows you to track and manage inventory using RFID tags and readers. It typically includes features such as real-time tracking, automated data capture, and analytics tools for reporting and analysis. Apptricity’s RFID inventory tracking system is synonymous with asset tracking and supply chain management. Where other companies may focus on the overall record of your assets, inventory, and equipment, Apptricity is your boots on the ground. With our RFID inventory tracking system, you can track items in up to real-time along with important data such as lifecycle, ownership history, geofence capability, mapping, details for each item, and so much more.

What is the difference between RFID inventory tracking versus RFID asset tracking?

RFID inventory tracking focuses on tracking inventory items, or items that will eventually be sold to a consumer. RFID asset tracking tracks a broader range of assets, including equipment, tools, and vehicles. In other words, these assets do not have selling intentions and knowing data such as lifecycle, upcoming warranties, and maintenance schedules become the priority. Apptricity’s tracking solutions are customizable to the needs of your enterprise. You can track these data points for any asset or inventory item in your supply chain, whether in-transit, or in a warehouse, or other enclosed location.

What is RFID employee tracking?

RFID employee tracking refers to the use of RFID technology to monitor the location and movement of employees within a facility or worksite. This improves security and safety, while also increasing tracking productivity and efficiency. In situations where clearance is important, Apptricity’s tracking solutions offer the best RFID employee tracking solution. By enabling geofences within the software, you can receive alerts anytime an employee is not where they should be. In addition, if check-in/out is a priority for your team, users can configure permissions to restrict personnel from checking out items they do not have permission to attain. This keeps your team safe, reduces shrinkage, and enhances security.

What is RFID asset tracking software?

As stated earlier, RFID asset tracking, in Apptricity terms, is synonymous with RFID inventory tracking. The main differentiation is the data associated with the items you are tracking. For example, you may track lifecycle data for your assets. On the other hand, you may want to use RFID to track how fast inventory items leave certain facilities. Both are achievable with Apptricity’s RFID tracking software. We give your enterprise real-time, 360° visibility for all assets and inventory, so you can focus on other important tasks.

Where can I get reliable RFID asset tracking software?

To get started with RFID asset tracking software, you will need to select a solution that meets your specific needs and requirements, and work with a provider to implement and configure the software for your organization. Whether you want to track assets and inventory within one warehouse or one thousand, Apptricity scales with your business by offering real-time RFID tracking. If you eventually need to upgrade to Bluetooth tracking or Satellite GPS or Satellite LTE, we do that too! Get everything you need in one easy-to-use tracking solution.

Why is Apptricity the best RFID asset tracking software?

In Apptricity tracking terms, “asset,” “inventory,” and “equipment” are interchangeable. With this in mind, Apptricity is considered the best RFID asset tracking software because of its accuracy, reliability, and ease of use. Trusted by the US Army, US Air Force, Verizon, Brinks, Komatsu, and more Fortune companies, Apptricity leverages a combination of RFID tracking technology, Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) beacons, patented edge devices, and proprietary software to provide real-time tracking of assets and inventory. Apptricity’s system boasts up to real-time location tracking, which is critical for enterprises needing to track assets, inventory, or their fleets. Additionally, the system easily integrates with other enterprise systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) to provide a comprehensive solution for RFID asset tracking. Overall, Apptricity’s RFID Asset Tracking software solution is a top choice for enterprises looking to improve their tracking capabilities.

Contact us today to learn more about how RFID technology can benefit your organization.

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