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Why RFID Vendors and Users Speak Different Languages
Vendors look at RFID from an engineering perspective, which often confuses end users who are trying to figure out what RFID does and how it can be used to improve the way they do business.
Feb 22, 2010—I've been working on a special report that aims to explain all the different types of radio frequency identification systems, and to put them in a context that will help end users better understand the different "flavors" of the technology, so that they can choose the type that will work best for their particular applications. I was doing a little research on RuBee, a form of RFID that uses sophisticated devices that communicate with each other, when I came across this sentence on Wikipedia: "RuBee is often confused with radio frequency identification...RFID protocols use what is known as backscattered transmission mode...In contrast, RuBee is similar to Wi-Fi and ZigBee in that it is peer-to-peer, and is a networked transceiver that actually transmits a data signal on demand."
So RuBee, which uses radio waves to remotely identify objects or people, is not RFID because it uses a different communications method. A few years ago, the CEO of a company selling RuBee-based systems told me RuBee was not RFID because the tags have an onboard CPU and can dynamically change their own IP addresses.
I know there are some end users, even on the business side, who are technology enthusiasts and understand all of this. But most end users are confused by it—and it's our fault as an industry.
My view of RFID has been clear and consistent from the day I launched RFID Journal: If a device or system's main purpose is to identify an object remotely, it is RFID—regardless of any technical specifications. If a sensor is wireless but does not communicate an ID—it just tells you if it's hot or cold—then it's not RFID. And if an ID is a critical component—it tells you which specific item or location is hot or cold—then it's RFID.
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