What is Mobile RFID and Benefits ?

RFID devices use Radio frequency waves for verification of identity of an object or a person. Mobile RFID (M-RFID) is defined as a RFID that provides data on items having a RFID tag over the network. Thus the reader or interrogator of a Mobile RFID can be installed in a mobile device such as a mobile phone or a palmtop computer. This makes the reader a portable device.

Therefore mobile RFID has mobile readers and fixed objects bearing tags unlike fixed RFID. Thereby instead of using some fixed readers to cover a large area, lesser number of mobile readers can be employed. The tags of Mobile RFID are based on ISO/IEC 29143 which is the first standard to be developed for Mobile RFID .

NFC forum-  RFID readers are integrated into mobile phones using the Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum. The Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum was established in 2004 by Nokia, Philips and Sony. Their goal is to develop secure and easy connections among devices mainly for payment, ticketing and feedback applications. NFC-enabled mobile phones give consumer access to the RFID global Network.

Mobile RFID Applications

Mobile RFID finds major applications in areas like asset tracking, security, m-commerce, toll payment, etc. Support through movable readers is the main reason of Mobile RFID being preferred rather than fixed RFID.mobile rfid

  • Asset Management : Mobile RFID is a great tool for asset management. It helps in tracking while the product is manufactured, transported and delivered. Therefore Mobile RFID is used in the supply chain management. Another major application base of RFID is managing of received products. Thus could include detecting the defected materials and maintaining logistics. RFID does these things in an arranged way keeping track of all products.
  • m-commerce :  Mobile RFIDs are also implementing m-commerce.  The customer in the supermarket can scan the Electronic Product Code from the tag and connects via the internet to get more information.
  • Toll payment :  Mobile RFID helps in providing the identification of the vehicles passing the booth. This renders the orthodox toll collection process useless .The RFID used has to be mobile because the tags are fixed on the car while readers are at various places. The information of the passing vehicles is stored by RFID and the database is recorded and used later for toll collection. This also avoids congestion at toll sites.
  • Used by Major retailers : Many supermarkets and retailors have been using Mobile RFID for product management. Anti-theft check of the various portable stocks by scores of industries is a major area where Mobile RFID finds genuine scope today.

Benefits of Mobile RFID

Mobile RFIDs have major benefits like cost affectivity, efficiency and flexibility. A mobile RFID reduces up to 75% of the total costs of RFID hardware.  

  • Flexible and cost Effective : The advantages of M-RFID over RFID include the absence of wires to fixed readers. Also a single reader can be used rather than fixed reader being stationed at a number of places. This reduces cost and increases flexibility.
  • Generates Minimum Error : Mobile RFID increases efficiency of processes. There is low error generation from the technology due to its flexible and thorough usage.
  • User Friendly : Mobile RFID is user friendly and Readers are wireless. Mobile RFID installation is easier than the fixed RFID. It is also easier to read the tags by Mobile RFID than by normal ones.
  • Feedback, Traceability and Visibility : Mobile RFIDs can help in generating feedback and is a traceable device. The technology can be used to gauge the user’s choices through its Visibility. This can be done easily and at various places due to the Readers’ portability. For example, this is especially beneficial for sales division.
  • Accurate Inventory and Out of stock conditions prevented : RFID ensures inventory accuracy. Mobile RFID provides further visibility of product which may not be at a single place. Therefore Inventory loses are reduced. Unavailability for various goods is also prevented by Mobile RFID. This is a major benefit for production places, supermarkets, military, etc.
  • Tracking and Securing Goods : Tracking movable goods and increasing their security is made possible efficiently with Mobile RFID. The tracking of information about objects moving a large distance can be done easily through using a single Reader via Mobile RFID. The tags also trigger security alarms if removed.
  • Decrease in labor requirements : There is a minimal need of contact and staff. Labor  costs of supporting multiple readers are also reduced by Mobile RFID.

Limitations of Mobile RFID

With RFID itself being a new technology, mobile RFID will take some time to be properly implemented. High costing due to low demand, security concerns, inaccurate readings due to multiple reads are some of the limitations that Mobile RFID deals with .

  • Young Technology thus High cost – Since RFID technology is relatively new, RFID devices can be used at only those places which have RFID readers. The technology is still in its early stages. The cost issue is due to the low demand problem.
  • Security concerns – Mobile RFID have the limitation that the tap and go style of device can be intercepted easily. This is because of the fact that the tags can be read by anyone who possesses a reader. With the reader being mobile and easily available, the chances of breach only increases.  Therefore it is fairly manageable to hack into the information of the tag.
  • Accuracy related concerns – Mobile RFID may not be wholly accurate due to multiple reading by the mobile reader. There may be other reasons like Tag collision-more than one tag being read, Reader Collisions- more than one reader reading a single tag, etc. But this inaccuracy is steadily decreasing with rise in innovative technology. 

Conclusion

A combination of fixed and mobile RFIDs is used in major sectors.  There have been so many changes in the last few years in reader and tag capability that expands the amount of applications that RFID have. With the modification of technology, Mobile RFID will prove to be the way forward for RFID based Application.

In a Case Study , for example, of Metro group, it was found that there was a marked improvement due to Mobile RFID. Around 14% of labor costs were saved, there was 11% more stock availability and 18% reduction in number of lost goods.

Motorola, Cisco, Intermec.inc, Impinj are some of the major companies producing mobile RFIDs.  Mobile RFID is one technology which promises to be an innovative and uprising field.