Why Integrating Both RFID Tags and Barcode Labels into the Same System Is Essential
As time goes on, the ways in which businesses and consumers are able to make use out of barcode and RFID reader applications is constantly growing in new and exciting ways. Just this year, French cognac producer Rémy Martin implemented RFID and NFC technology as an anti-counterfeiting measure. Talk about exciting new frontiers for data encoding technology!
Despite these emerging applications for RFID tags and barcode generators, many industries are still ironing out interoperability between the two technologies. When the RFID reader was introduced people thought that this was the death knell for barcode technology. But as time wore on, one thing became clear: both barcode and RFID systems have their strengths and weaknesses. Both are preferable in certain contexts. To absolutely maximize efficiency, applications should always strive to accommodate functionality and compatibility for both. This is the basic premise of interoperability: creating systems that support both. Systems should seamlessly integrate data collected from either source into the same database.
The strengths of a barcode generator lie in its relative simplicity. A barcode label:
- is inexpensive to produce,
- can be easily applied to any product,
- allows for incredibly accurate data collection, and
- technology to read them is universal
However, their applications are:
- limited to line-of-sight,
- may be easily damaged,
- the labels are read-only, and
- scanning multiple codes is time-consuming.
RFID, on the other hand:
- can provide more detailed information from a distance,
- read multiple tags at once, have read/write functionality, and
- can even be encrypted—though it is not without its own limitations.
While certain industries may find that they only have a use for one of the other, most will find that they have a need for the functionality of both. This is to create a truly comprehensive data-collection strategy.
For a truly balanced enterprise-level asset management system, investing in the technology, infrastructure, and other strategic elements to accommodate interoperability is the way to move forward. As the old adage goes, don’t work harder—work smarter. When you fully integrate barcode generators and RFID readers into a single, cross-compatible system, you are working smarter indeed!