In terms of record keeping and data information processing, is an RFID tag 100 percent reliable as a source of a unique numerical identifier? Or might different divisions within the same company, or third parties used by that firm, end up utilizing duplicate serial numbers?
—David from Texas
The answer really depends on the type of radio frequency identification being employed. If the parent and sibling firms use Electronic Product Code (EPC) tags, then different divisions should utilize blocks of serial numbers to ensure each tag ID is unique. If a third party is involved, however, it usually employs the manufacturer's tag IDs, and should also be provided with separate blocks in order to ensure uniqueness.
If a company and its divisions or partners use generic ISO 15693 tags and write serial numbers to them, there is no guarantee the serial numbers will be unique. However, many semiconductor manufacturers write an ID number into a chip that can be read, and if all of the tags are from the same chipmaker—and if that chipmaker burns a serial number into the chip—then you could use that ID to guarantee uniqueness.
—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal
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