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Do You Think Bluetooth Low Energy Tags Could Ever Replace RFID?

Posted By RFID Journal, 03.21.2015

Will BLE take the place of real-time location systems and low-cost passive RFID devices?

—Name withheld


No. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons were designed to communicate with cell phones over relatively short distances compared to active RFID systems. They are not designed for the real-time location of assets, so I do not see them replacing active RFID-based real-time location system (RTLS) technologies. What's more, they are expensive and have a battery that needs to be replaced, so they will never replace low-cost passive RFID devices.

I would expect BLE technology to evolve over time, and it might take the place of active RFID systems for some applications, but I think it would be farfetched to think it will ever evolve to the point at which BLE will replace all active RFID systems.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal


Steffen von Buenau 2017-01-12 09:12:39 AM
In the past, Bluetooth was not the strongest competitor. Now, with Bluetooth Low Energy, it is offering completely new capabilities to asset tracking at a fraction of the cost of other standards. RFID is decidedly impractical for mid- or long-range tracking as well as projects that extend beyond registering entry and exit. As companies try to modernize their current infrastructures, Bluetooth continues to grow in popularity. It looks like 2017 may be the year it really catches on. In case you want to find out more I’ll be heading a free webinar on 18th Jan, 2017 at 4:30 pm GMT on behalf of beacon provider Kontakt.io. Let’s talk! http://goto.kontakt.io/real-time-asset-tracking-with-beacons?utm_campaign=LEWebinar&utm_medium=sidebar&utm_source=website
Michele Curioni 2017-12-05 06:23:02 AM
Hi Mark, would you still stand by your response today, or has BLE matured enough to make it a replacement for Active RFID systems?
Daniel Zuluaga Arcila 2017-12-05 10:25:47 AM
BLE beacons are being used by some companies to track assets. There are still companies opting for 433 MHz, 915 MHz and 2.45 GHz active RFID systems. Bluetooth has some advantages over these systems, such as cost. Improved localization capabilities have made BLE beacons as an attractive option in some cases, but there are still reasons that companies might want to use active RFID. I think the longer term question is whether improvements in passive RFID overhead systems makes these an option instead of active systems.
jayshree chauhan 2018-03-12 08:31:32 AM
No I don't think that Bluetooth Low Energy Tags Could Ever Replace RFID. Please checkout the comparison between RFID and Beacons here - https://blog.roambee.com/supply-chain-technology/evolution-in-supply-chain-visibility-barcodes-to-rfid-to-ble-beacons. I am sure that you will find a reason why Beacons is always a good choice than RFID.

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