Should we use passive HF or passive UHF RFID?
RFID is being used by a number of schools to track student attendance. The right solution depends on what approach you prefer to take. If you want students to present a card at the entrance of the school or each classroom, a passive high-frequency (HF) system would work fine. The downside to this approach is that students might forget to scan their badge, leave their it at home by mistake or ask another student to swipe them in.
A passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) system offers a longer read range, so if students were to wear badge tags, it could pick them up automatically. However, water absorbs RF energy at the UHF frequencies and the human body is mostly composed of water, so it can be a challenge to read tags consistently. I recommend using UHF battery-assisted tags for this kind of application. A potential drawback is that it can be expensive to place readers above every doorway in a school to record attendance in each classroom.
Another option would be a Wi-Fi-based system with battery-powered tags. If your school has Wi-Fi already installed throughout the building, you might be able to add some additional access points to locate students in real time. You would then need to develop software that would mark them present when the system located them within a specific room. The downside of this approach is that Wi-Fi tags are much more expensive than passive HF or UHF tags, or than battery-assisted UHF tags.
Here are a few articles that might be relevant to your question:
• RFID Protects Students and Teachers
Skyview High School deployed a safety solution that can summon help in a disciplinary, medical or violent emergency.
• Oregon University Uses RTLS to Ensure Disabled Students Get Accessible Classroom Furniture
OSU knows the locations of 480 specialized tables and chairs throughout its 40-building campus, thanks to AeroScout Wi-Fi RFID tags.
• ScholarChip Mobile App to Allow School to Track Students On the Go
The Westbury School District plans to test the new solution on its buses, so that its staff can use NFC-enabled cell phones to read the RFID tags in ID cards carried by students.
• Idaho School Installs RTLS to Make Students Safer
Employees at Skyview High School wear Ekahau Wi-Fi badges that can be used to call for help in the event of a security threat or medical emergency, and also to trigger a lockdown.
• New Jersey Schools Adopt RFID to Secure Their Facilities
The Belleville School District is deploying active tags and readers to track the locations of all personnel and students within its schools and on its buses, as well as at “blue light” telephones on the campuses.
• RFID Empowers Teachers and Protects Students
WIU Crossroads School adopted a security system than can summon help quickly when conflict situations arise.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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