Can I Obtain High Read Rates When Tagging a Cellphone’s Packaging?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan I Obtain High Read Rates When Tagging a Cellphone’s Packaging?
RFID Journal Staff asked 9 years ago

Do you know of any RFID use cases of identifying cellular phones at the ítem level using tags attached to boxes?

—Name withheld


Australian telecommunications firm Telstra conducted an RFID trial in which it tagged the packaging of 12,800 mobile phones, then tracked them from its Sydney distribution center to six retail outlets around the nation (Telstra Takes On Two RFID Trials). The pilot revealed that if Telstra rolled the system out across its 130 retail outlets, it would save the firm up to AU$4 million (US$3.2 million) in annual labor costs and product shrinkage. I do not know if Telstra ever rolled the system out, though if it did, we probably would have heard about it.

Dixons Carphone Group, said to be the largest mobile phone retailer and services company in Europe, uses RFID to manage repairs of its customers' smartphones. The company's CPW Logistics Centre processes thousands of mobile phones and tablets daily, moving them through all types of repairs. The firm tracks the phones at the item level in tagged bins, via a solution provided by TrackerPoint (see Dixons Carphone Group Simplifies Tracking of Phone, Tablet Repairs).

I know a number of telecommunications companies are looking to track smartphones at the item level. Phones have some business features that make them ideal for RFID tracking. There are many different models, which makes managing inventory a challenge. They are high in value and often disappear within the supply chain. And they have a limited shelf life, meaning that when people want a hot new phone, it needs to be in stock, or else they will go elsewhere to get it.

There have been challenges when tagging phones, which contain a of lot metal parts. But I believe that with the high-quality tags currently available, you should be able to achieve high read rates when tagging a cellphone's packaging.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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