Why do standards matter for the RFID industry?
Standards are important with many types of technologies, not just radio frequency identification. One key reason that RFID standards are so vital is that the technology is often used by supply chain partners. Tags might be put on returnable transport items, bins, clothing or parts that are shipped to customers. The customers then need to be able to read those tags in order to obtain any benefits from them. If they are not standardized, then it would not be possible for multiple companies to read the same tags.
Even if you are using RFID internally—say, to track jigs or tools at your factory—it is still a good idea to use standardized technology. One reason is that if you can source tags and readers from multiple vendors, you will get a better price than if you buy proprietary equipment from a single provider. What’s more, if you buy proprietary technology, you are locked into it for the life of that system. That means that if other technology providers innovate and add features you might want, you might not be able to get them since proprietary technology providers have less reason to innovate. Additionally, there is always the danger that your provider might go bankrupt, leaving you with no one to maintain the system or provide new equipment.
There are, of course, some reasons to go with proprietary technologies. There are solutions that do some unique things that you might need. There is no standard for ultra-wideband (UWB) systems, for example. But UWB systems provide greater location accuracy than other active RFID systems. If that location accuracy is critical to your application, it would make sense to go with a proprietary UWB system.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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