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What Type of Technology Would Be Needed to Integrate RFID and Social Media at Events?

Posted By RFID Journal, 07.25.2013

We currently offer a third-party RFID solution for social media, such as Facebook, and would like to develop our own event-entry system for check-in, social integration and other novel ideas. Where would we start? Specifically, what type of reader, tag and so forth should we use?

—Name withheld


There are basically two choices, passive high-frequency (HF) or passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF), each of which offers advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a look at HF first. If you chose to employ Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, a form of passive HF RFID, then phones with NFC readers could also be used to check in at events. The reader in the phone can emulate a tag. That's a pretty significant advantage, since a growing number of phones are now incorporating NFC readers. The downside to using NFC is that it is designed to be a short-range technology, so an event attendee would have to swipe a phone in order to check in—you would not be able to check in people automatically as they walked through a doorway or gate.

Passive UHF has a longer read range, so guests equipped with a UHF bracelet, bib or badge could be checked in automatically from a distance of 8 to 10 feet from a reader. The downside is that you would need to provide a bracelet, badge or other wearable item with the transponder in it, as there are no UHF tags in phones or other items that people typically carry.

Once you choose the technology that is most appropriate, you can contact vendors that supply tags and readers. You will find many hardware providers listed on RFID Connect. You can search for "NFC" or "UHF" on that site, and find a number of businesses that manufacture tags and readers of each type.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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