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Can I Buy an RFID-Tracking System That Would Only Cost a Few Thousand Dollars?

Posted By RFID Journal, 06.30.2014

I have objects moving within an enclosed space and would like to continuously record information about which ones come close to a given item. Is there any low-cost, RFID-based product that can do this? The best scenario would be for the information to be sent back to server.

—Name withheld


The short answer is that there is no low-cost solution able to do what you describe. An ultra-wideband (UWB) RFID system could provide accurate information about the locations of objects to within a few centimeters, and software could record the location of every tagged item every half-second or so, and you could then utilize the collected data to calculate which objects came close to other objects. If you don't need it to be that accurate—if you are measuring to within a feet over an area spanning hundreds of yards—then other active RFID-based real-time location system (RTLS) solutions could provide you with the locations of objects to within 10 feet.

There are also passive systems that can tell you where an object is located to within 10 feet or so, but such systems are not in the few-thousand-dollar range. They would require a more significant investment—active tags can cost $50 apiece. Their size could also pose a problem if you are trying to track small items, as each tag is roughly the size of a pack of cigarettes.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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