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Choosing Hardware Cost-Effectively

To optimize a project's price tag, you can't just focus on tag costs.
By Yedidia Blonder
May 09, 2011When implementing a radio frequency identification system within their business, companies tend to fixate on the price of a specific type of tag, in order to choose the least expensive one. While such an approach might appear to reduce a project's cost, that is often not the case.

A wiser approach would take into account the vision of the entire project's total cost. Since every venture has its own unique needs, one type of hardware might be cost-effective for a specific project, but expensive with regard to another.

Projects tend to have six key elements:
• RFID tags
• RFID readers and room locators or zone IDs
• Additional infrastructure
• Implementation time
• Ongoing maintenance
• Software


Each element has its relative price in every project, which varies significantly from one technology to another. Therefore, in order to optimize a project's total cost, the anticipated price tag for each venture and every technology being considered must be weighed vis-à-vis each of these six elements.

Some deployments involve simply tracking thousands of items, identified only if they are at a specific location. Such an endeavor would require a large amount of RFID tags, but a small quantity of readers. In such an undertaking, tag price is more important than reader cost.

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