Why Integrating Both RFID Tags and Barcode Generators 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 began implementing RFID and NFC technology as an anti-counterfeiting measure for their exports. With a smartphone app, people could not only verify the authenticity of a bottle of Rémy Martin’s Club cognac, but even verify whether or not it had been opened. Talk about exciting new frontiers for data encoding technology!
Yet despite these emerging applications for RFID tags and barcode generators, many industries are still ironing out one little wrinkle in the technology: interoperability between the two technologies. When the RFID reader was introduced—and at many points in the technology’s evolution—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, and both are preferable in certain contexts. To absolutely maximize efficiency, enterprise applications should always strive to accommodate functionality and compatibility for both. This is the basic premise of interoperability: creating systems that support both, and that can 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, it can be easily applied to any product, they allow for incredibly accurate data collection, and the technology to read them is universal—a reader in one country can interpret the information from a label printed anywhere in the world. 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, 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!