Wearable technology is becoming more advanced and common day by day. Bluetooth bracelets and smartwatches are the most prominent examples of wearable technology. You can wear these gadgets around the wrist and track valuable information. Speaking of which, RFID Solution is a key technology to realize object recognition. So, in order to let you understand completely about our RFID bracelet, we wrote an in-depth introduction on what is RFID technology and how can it be used, and then how’s our solution.
RFID is a short form of Radio Frequency Identification. The working mechanism of RFID devices is almost similar to the magnetic strip or bar code. So RFID solution gives a unique identifying number for each object. By scanning the code, you can retrieve the information.
Each RFID solution consists of four key parts:
- RFID tag
- RFID reader
- RFID software
An RFID tag consists of an integrated circuit (IC), an antenna, and a substrate. The part of the RFID tag that encodes the identification information is called RFID Mosaic. Technically, a tag is just one of many RFID transponders. However, in industry slang, “tag” is often used as a general term for various RFID transponders including tags. RFID tags are small devices with built-in electronic microchips and antennas. The microchip encodes information about the tagged object. Passive RFID tags have no power supply; They will receive energy from a radio signal transmitted by an RFID receiver. These tags work when the reader is close to them (no line of sight required). The antenna coil will act as a power source and medium to transmit data to the reader.
There are three main types of RFID tags:
- Active RFID. Active RFID tags have their own power supply, which is usually kept running by the tag’s battery.
- Passive RFID. The passive RFID tag receives energy from the reading antenna, and the electromagnetic wave of the reading antenna induces a current in the antenna of the RFID.
- Semi-passive RFID. This means that RFID is run by batteries, while communication is powered by an RFID.
Embedded non-volatile and Low power memory is very essential in the RFID system. RFID tags contain no more than 2,000 KB of data, and unique identifiers/serial numbers are involved. There are two ways tags support, they are read-only and read-write. And the reader can add the data or overwrite the existing data. Several factors decide the read range, for example, reader type, tag type, the surrounding environment or interference, and RFID frequency from other RFID readers or RFID tags. The reading range of active RFID tags is larger than that of passive RFID tags because of their stronger power supply.
Both tags and readers have antennas and can communicate with each other. The read range between them is partly decided by the tag antenna size and partly by the reader antenna shape. And there are two shapes of RFID system antennas — linear and circular.
- Linear antennas propagate electromagnetic waves along a plane, either horizontally or RFID tags must be aligned along the same plane of the linear antenna, which provides a high degree of reading consistency from a longer distance than circular antennas of the same strength when you have predictable control over the location and positioning of the RFID tag.
- The circular antenna propagates the electromagnetic wave in two planes, covering the reading area of the electromagnetic wave in a helical or spiral pattern. This allows circular antennas to provide a wider reading Angle than linear ones. Therefore, when the label direction is unpredictable or the degree of control is low, the performance of a circular antenna is better than that of a linear antenna.
There are different tag antennas in various sizes. Larger antennas can absorb and return more energy from larger distances. The larger the antenna, the larger the size of the tag itself.
By combining the transceiver and scanning antenna, here come RFID readers, which can be divided into fixed RFID readers and mobile RFID readers. RFID readers can be carried or permanently connected to a network-connected device that uses radio waves to transmit signals to activate tags. The tag sends a wave to the antenna once activated. An RFID reader collects data from the tag, and it does not need to “see” the tag directly in order to read it.
- Fixed readers are installed in specific positions to monitor items as they move from one place to another, functioning somewhat like checkpoints that automatically track the movement of tags.
- Most mobile readers are handheld. It allows you to scan individual items or pallet items. Handheld readers are ideal for use in retail environments and other situations, especially for quick viewing to locate specific asset ids, room listings full of RFID-tagged items, or real-time tag details.
Reading an RFID tag just for the sake of reading an RFID tag is not enough for business. No RFID solution is complete without allowing you to obtain and use the collected data. The software provides this link and enables the information to be meaningfully manipulated and used.
There are usually three different types of software to deal with RFID solutions.
- The first is firmware, the software that resides in the RFID hardware itself, which is mainly responsible for running the device.
- The second is application software, which leverages the data collected by your RFID to address specific business needs. Examples range from inventory management software applications to employee time and attendance applications.
- Between the firmware and the application is the middleware that collects the raw RFID data and shares it with the application software. The middleware runs behind the scenes of your solution and is able to control and track the RFID hardware and overall system health. The middleware acts as a communication link between other RFID components and the application.
What are the types of RFID systems?
There are 3 main RFID systems based on different frequencies: low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF), and Microwave RFID. The frequency varies by region and country.
Different RFID applications will affect the frequency used, and the actual distance collected is sometimes different from the evaluated distance. For instance, the State Department first announced that e-passports with RFID chips issued can be read from about four inches away. Later, the State Department showed that RFID tags could be read at distances of much more than four inches. If a longer read range is required, the use of extra power tags can even increase the read range to over 300 feet.
Different RFID frequencies and range
|Frequency Band||Typical Band||Range||Data Rate|
|Low-frequency RFID system（LF）:30 – 300 kHz||125 – 134 kHz||10 cm||Low|
|High-frequency RFID system(HF):3 MHz~30 MHz||13.56 MHz||30m||Low to moderate|
|Ultra-high frequency RFID system (UHF):300MHz~3000 MHz||433 MHz||1–100 m||Moderate|
|Microwave:2.45MHz||Up to 200 m||High|
The history of RFID technology
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is believed to be invented during World War II. One inspiration was the revolutionary electronic instrument developed by Leon Theremin, which produced waves of static frequencies.
In 1945, U.S. Ambassador Harriman received a ceremonial seal to broadcast private conversations. Inside the seal was an antenna activated by Soviet radio waves directed at the American embassy. The ambassador’s security personnel would check for electronic bugs and other spying equipment with a seal then known as “The Thing.”
RFID tags were used to track railway cars In the 1970s.
However, RFID was officially invented in 1983. Charles Walton filed the first patent for “RFID.” Later, the NFC made headlines starting in 2002 and has continued to grow since then.
The technology was not quickly adopted, especially in retail. Although RFID technology has been around for nearly 20 years, its investment value has not been seen by many companies due to the lack of valuable data and transparent cost accounting.
It is only today that RFID tags are being used in many organizations such as the NHS and large retail chains around the world to track assets, manage inventory, or control quality processes with RFID solutions.
Many companies reported a return on their investments, reporting a 5.5% increase in sales and a 13% drop in equity holdings.
Compare RFID technology and other technologies
Compare RFID with barcodes
The use of RFID solution as an alternative to bar codes is increasing. RFID and barcode technologies are used to monitor the inventory in a similar way, but several key differences between them still exist.
|Individual objects can be identified without a direct line of sight.||Scan required a straight line of sight.|
|Depending on the tag and type of reader, items can be scanned from a few inches to a few feet away.||A closer distance is required to scan the objects.|
|Data can be updated in real-time.||Data is read-only and cannot be modified.|
|The power supply is required.||No power supply is required.|
|The time to read each tag is less than 100 milliseconds.||The read time for each tag is half a second or more.|
|Contains a sensor attached to an antenna, usually contained in a plastic case, which is more expensive than a bar code.||Printed on the outside of the object, more easily worn.|
Compare RFID with NFC
NFC uses high-frequency short-range wireless communication technology to exchange data between devices. NFC combines the interface of a card reader and a smart card into a device.
|Radio frequency ID||Near-field communication|
|Range more than 100 meters||Range no more than 0.2 meters|
|Continuous sampling||No continuous sampling|
|Bit rate varies with frequency||More than 424 Kbps|
|Power rate varies with frequency||<15 milliamperes|
Benefits of RFID technology
Save time and money
RFID applications can automatically track shipments and upload information to ERP or financial management systems and also save labor costs by using fixed readers at key locations. In addition, RFID provides enhanced management information for planning and operational purposes because it enables data to be obtained in real-time at the product life cycle or different stages of the asset. Companies can use these insights to further improve efficiency.
Improve data accuracy and availability
Because data is collected and uploaded electronically, RFID can avoid data duplication and data errors when collecting data from a large number of projects at the same time. In addition, RFID data not only supports real-time monitoring by employees but also can be shared with customers.
Enhance health and safety
RFID systems enable businesses to check when vehicles and equipment have been inspected or should be inspected and to make restrictions on their use if certain conditions are not met. This makes it an effective way to administer inspection and reporting regimes and facilitate the enforcement of procedures by insurers or regulators.
Better control production
Because RFID is able to identify components or individual items, it’s suitable for complex or custom manufacturing processes. For example, making sure a particular die is filled with the right amount of liquid and fired at the right time, or getting a particular component into the right production line. This greatly reduces cost and waste and improves efficiency.
Enhanced quality and traceability
RFID systems are also able to help make sure that items go through all the correct processes or checks, improving quality and reducing the number of returns. In addition, RFID tags can also ensure traceability by tracking the origin of goods.
Improve customer satisfaction
Companies using RFID are able to provide a service that increases customer satisfaction and creates competitive differentiation.
Reduce delivery time
RFID technology can be integrated with other supply chain or manufacturing technologies like automated picking systems and pallet handling to reduce the time from order to shipment and delivery.
RFID is cost-effective and the increased revenue can quickly cover the cost of the initial outlay.
Challenges of RFID technology
RFID technology is a reliable and often more cost-effective solution, although it has some limitations compared to barcodes. However, if you are determined to choose RFID technology, here are a few challenges to consider:
The cost of RFID is higher
Whether it is software or hardware, RFID requires more expensive equipment to support, and maintenance is necessary throughout the lifecycle of the solution. In addition, the high cost of labels, whether they are active, passive, or semi-passive, is prohibitive for certain small businesses. It has not been widely adopted though prices have been reduced with RFID upgrades since the 1970s.
Metal and liquid problems
RFID has struggled to work between liquids and metals since its inception, as both make it more difficult to get a correct read of an asset. Metals bounce radio waves around, and liquids destroy RFID by absorbing the signals from the tags.
Techniques that are difficult to master
Understanding the different tags and frequencies and how to use RFID devices can be a challenge. To train their employees about RFID and new work processes, managers are required to master the technology.
RFID collision process
When signals from two or more readers overlap, workers encounter reader and tag collisions. When card readers collide, staff may be interfered with by other card readers. Many systems use anti-collision protocols (also known as simulation protocols). The anti-collision protocol allows labels to be passed to readers in turn. Tag collisions are a little different because workers using a reader face problems reading a large number of tags at once. This happens when multiple tags reflect a single signal, which confuses the reader.
Problems with RFID standards
Because global standards are still being developed, different manufacturers now implement RFID in different ways. This can lead to situations where, for example, some RFID devices are never intended to leave their network, which can cause problems for the company. Consumers will also have questions about RFID standards. If each company had its own system, consumers would be asked to use many different devices. There are several major standards organizations for RFID technology: ISO, EPCglobal, and IEC. There are related standards for each RF, including ISO 14223 and ISO/IEC 18000-2 for LF RF identification, ISO 15693 and ISO/IEC 14443 for HF RF identification, and ISO 18000-6C for UHF RF identification.
Security and privacy issues of RFID
- After the item leaves the supply chain, the contents of the RFID tag can be read.
RFID scanners are pretty handy and portable and can read RFID tags from a few inches away to a few yards. RFID tags cannot distinguish between different readers. So when you walk down the street, anyone can see the RFID attached to your wallet or pocket.
- RFID tags are difficult to remove
Some RFID tags are difficult for consumers to remove or find, some are very small, and some may be hidden or embedded in the product, so consumers can’t see them. Some RFID tags are even “printed” directly on the product, with no way to remove them.
- RFID tags can be read without you even knowing it
Since tags can be read without the need for swiping or obvious scanning, anyone with an RFID tag reader can read tags in your consumer goods when you’re not aware of it. For example, before you enter a store, you might be scanned and told what you have on you. The clerk may then find you and recommend accessories or other items.
- RFID tags can be read at longer distances using high-gain antennas
For various reasons, the RFID reader/tag system is designed to keep the distance between the tag and reader to a minimum. However, high-gain antennas can read tags from farther away, and privacy concerns may arise.
- An RFID tag with a unique serial number can connect to a personal credit card number
Currently, UPC implemented through barcodes enables each product sold to have a unique number identifying the product. Work is currently underway on a global product identification system so that each item has its own number. The RFID tag number of a particular item can be associated with a credit card number when an item is scanned for purchase and paid for.
Different Applicable Scenarios for RFID Solution
Retail outlets and other organizations are utilizing RFID tags and IoT solutions in wearable devices. Because there are plenty of scenarios where you can apply the RFID solution. For example, you can insert RFID tags into different shipping boxes.
The tags carry an antenna and a circuit. Plus, they also contain almost 2Kb memory on a chip. Then, you can retrieve the stored data using a dedicated reader from a range of about 20f. The reader emits radio waves that power the chip after reaching an antenna. In this way, you can retrieve data from the chip and this retrieving process is known as backscatter.
Here are some applicable scenarios for RFID solutions:
RFID in Retail
Retailers use RFID tags for sales marketing. They track different objects using this technology. If a customer wearing an RFID bracelet walks into a store, then the salesperson can recommend different items based on his purchase history.
In addition, RFID can quickly locate items in a store and develop the best way to automatically restock them, reducing labor costs and time. Miraculously, the retail industry can even incorporate the use of apps that record everything in a shopper’s basket when they leave a store to automatically deduct fees, avoiding the usual hassle of long checkout lines.
The RFID Student Bluetooth bracelet
Students can use a smart bracelet watch for punching in and out to get their bus on and off. In this way, students will not miss their school bus. Similarly, parents can accurately check their kids’ sports and health data after returning from school.
RFID Access Control Band
RFID cards have replaced membership and door cards. This is another important scenario where you can apply this technology to boost productivity. You can use the cards in communities, swimming pools, sauna rooms, gyms, supermarkets, and lockers. The company also prefer RFID card or badge for attendance management. It is possible to embed different features based on different scenarios. The integration of RFID technology of this reduces wait times and labor costs, thereby improving the customer experience.
Smart Watch Bracelet as a Traveling Buddy
Many trackers help you to turn right and left while following routes. Many people use smartphones to find out routes. In that way, you need to look at the screen of your smartphone consistently. However, a smart Bluetooth bracelet is an amazing invisible guide that guides you where you should go.
Medical and hospital
RFID technology can be used to track the movement of medical devices, update drug inventories, and authorize access for medical experts. RFID tags can store a lot of data, such as personal information, medical records, and so on. Through RFID, errors in the process of medication can be avoided and customer satisfaction can be improved.
In addition, RFID implementation can also track the location of patients in the hospital and guide them in other operations if necessary. Not only that, but pharmaceutical companies have adopted the technology to prevent counterfeit products from entering the market.
Logistics and shipping
The development of RFID tags is most widely used to improve the efficiency of logistics and transportation. Manual recording of inventory movement requires a lot of labor and time, while RFID readers can easily and accurately read hundreds of tags in a few seconds, which greatly improves work efficiency. In addition, the RFID reader installed on the gate can also record the situation of inventory in and out of the warehouse location.
Automation of the manufacturing process
RFID technology is one of the important promoters of the concept of smart factories. At each stage of production, RFID tags record the movement and status information of products and update it to the database, which helps enterprises to realize the automation of different stages in the manufacturing process.
Placing RFID tags on livestock makes it easier for farmers to track, update and identify information about the animals under management. Administrators or veterinarians scan labels, and animal information (weight, age, whether fed, vaccination data, etc…..) It can be picked up in seconds.
Baggage handling in aviation
Handling large numbers of passengers’ bags has always been a burdensome task for airlines, with mishandled bags often costing millions of dollars a year. RFID technology effectively helps airlines solve this problem, and RFIF tags do not need to read the information from a line-of-sight perspective, which is an advantage over bar code scanning. The operator is notified if the luggage is placed in the wrong place or transferred to a different location.
Automatic Vehicle Identification
Another scenario where RFID is widely used is to automatically identify items passing through a particular point. RFID systems make it easier to track cars entering and leaving the country and collect traffic data. Tracking the number of vehicles using a particular road, ETC charges, and monitoring a vehicle’s service history are all examples of new applications where RFID is proving invaluable.
One of the most widely used use cases of RFID technology is loss prevention. An earlier $1.5 million robbery foiled by an RFID poker chip embedded in it illustrates this point. Many people will also choose to embed RFID in the home’s more precious assets or safe boxes.
Tracing Traffic Inside the Location
Tracking everyone who enters your facilities has been a big trend. The COVID-19 pandemic requires businesses around the world to keep track of everyone who enters a location. Wear an RFID bracelet or badge for everyone who enters your store or building to make sure you can track infected people. RFID can also track devices and products. You can plot the movement of items throughout the store to help you optimize the process based on historical data.
How to select an RFID Tag
Factors that influence label selection include:
- How far away do you want to be able to track items? (within inches? From a few feet? Etc.)
- What environment do you want to track the project in? (outdoors? In a warehouse full of metal shelves? In a crowded showroom? Etc.)
- What type of surface are you marking? (Metal, plastic, wood, etc.)
- Does your RFID scheme have a size limit? (i.e. tags cannot be larger than x x Y x Z inches)
- Do you need to consider special environmental conditions? (Too cold, too hot, damp, shock, etc.)
- What attachment method do you prefer? (Adhesives, epoxy resins, rivets/screws, cable ties, etc.)
What tag you need depends on the item you want to track. Metal and water are two elements that can interfere with RFID tags and prevent readers from being able to collect their data. Experienced solution providers can add value and help you choose the best RFID technology for your needs.
The key to selecting labels is to thoroughly test the various labels in your environment on the actual items you wish to tag. The RFID tag sample pack can be customized for your application so that you can narrow down the tags that are appropriate for your application.
Features of RFID Bluetooth bracelet
Manufacturers are now combining RFID technology with Bluetooth bracelets. For this purpose, you need to place a chip in the smart band. As a result, fitness tracker bracelets are coming into the market. The smart wristband supports high-frequency scanning. In addition to this, all devices have a unique identity having RFID in the background system.
You can refer to a chip-enabled bracelet as a Bluetooth bracelet. Then, these smart bracelets or smartwatch bracelets track valuable information. These smart gadgets can track the user’s health-related data such as heartbeat, walking steps, sleeping, etc. In simple words, these devices make users’ life very tranquil.
Nowadays, smart bracelets contain various cutting-edge features. They come with multiple feature sets. Each bracelet varies in features. Here are some incredible features of RFID smart trackers:
- Battery: All fitness tracker bracelet comes with a rechargeable lithium battery. For example, the W6 Tracker contains a 220mAh battery and can last up to 13 months.
- Range: Support a maximum transmission range of 150 meters (492ft) in open areas without barriers.
- Sensor: Built-in high-end 3-axis accelerometer sensor that can detect falls, movements, vibrations, and shocks.
In addition to this, the Bluetooth bracelet comes with personalization. For example, this product’s color, parameters, and logo can be customized to match the client’s requirements. It also contains an IP67 water-resistant mode for swimmers. So you can utilize this device even inside the pool.
Functions of RFID watch
Smartwatches are everywhere due to their diverse functionalities. Everyone ranges from sportspersons to health professionals, and from swimmers to instructors are wearing these incredible gadgets. Why? It is because you can keep the wearable with you every time either you are traveling or exercising.
Above all, these gadgets provide valuable functionalities. Here are some of the useful functions of the RFID watch:
- Notification display: You can find this function in almost all fitness bracelet trackers. You can receive real-time notifications on your smartwatch or bracelet. After receiving a notification, you can respond immediately. Likewise, you can also receive calls and text messages notification. Smart bracelets or watches are very helpful in a workout.
- Alarm and Task Reminders: The majority of smartwatches and bracelets come with these features. After connecting your device to a smartphone, you can set alarms and task reminders.
- Location tracker: RFID bracelet support location monitoring and navigation. This function can be extended to various applications.
- Automate payment: With an RFID bracelet, you don’t have to line up for payment.
- Daily activity tracker: Smartwatches contain different sports modes for hiking, cycling, hiking, and running. You can enable this mode while exercising.
- Sleep tracker: These incredible stopwatches can monitor your sleeping activities. For example, it can track your waking and sleeping time.
- Blood pressure: The device allows you to measure your blood pressure. Nowadays, blood pressure is the most common issue in many people. Fitness bracelet trackers help you to keep an eye on your blood pressure.
- Heartbeat monitor: You can monitor your heartbeat 24/7.
- Stopwatch: It seems awkward to take your smartphone with you while exercising. You can use this amazing feature from your smart bracelet.
- ECG: This is another incredible feature for heart patients.
Bluetooth fitness trackers are all in one device. These functionalities make your life very easy. You can listen to music, watch time, calculate the heartbeat, etc.
How much storage Capacity a Smart Bracelet has?
The storage capacity of a wristband is an essential thing to discuss. RFID smart watch bracelet comes with different storage capacities. For example, passive RFID tags contain about 3720B storage capacity. It means you can store up to 3.72 KB of data in your Bluetooth fitness tracker.
You might be thinking that 3.72 is a small amount. Right? This is enough storage in which you can store your name, date of birth, and other personal information. In simple words, the device can store all essential data that the local admin wants to monitor.
Similarly, some tags have an 8 KB storage capacity. These are ultra-high frequency tags that are used only in the aerospace industry. The majority of RFID smart bracelet watches or fitness bracelet trackers have a 3 KB storage capacity. Plus, such tags don’t carry sensitive data like security numbers.
RFID tags can store ID credentials and vouchers. Besides, it also contains purchasing credentials and social media integration. So these functionalities help you to control your activity on social media.