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Can RFID Thwart Thieves?

Posted By RFID Journal, 08.19.2014

Is there an RFID solution for catching a petty thief within a large open space workplace? And would it work with tags 1 millimeter in diameter?

—Name withheld


SimplyRFID offers a security solution called NOX, which integrates RFID with video surveillance cameras. When a tag is read, the system flags the time and location so that the video footage of the tagged item can be quickly retrieved (see Companies, Agencies Use Clandestine RFID Systems to Catch Thieves). However, this system was designed for higher-value assets and might be too costly to justify being used to catch someone stealing USB drives, for instance.

You could try to set up your own system to do the same thing, but using tags that are just 1 millimeter in diameter would reduce the tags' read range, as well as the likelihood of the system reading those tags as thieves walked out the door. It seems to me that an easier solution might be to simply use a Dropcam pointed at a desk where an item that might be stolen is left out. You could purchase a package allowing you to record a week's worth of video. The downside to this option is that you might have to spend time viewing hours of video (though you could probably fast-forward through most of it). The upside is that it would cost only a few hundred dollars, versus a few thousand for an RFID system that might involve tags that would be conspicuous.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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