Which asset-tagging and -tracking solution on the market right now is the most cost-effective, with tags that can be read through metal foil, etc.?
It would not be possible to point to one company’s solution and say “This is the most cost-effective,” any more than you could point to one IT system and say “This is the most cost-effective system.” It would depend on what your company needs. Passive UHF RFID tags are inexpensive, so a passive UHF RFID system would be the most cost-effective for some applications, but generic passive UHF tags can only be read from around 30 feet away, so they are not useful for locating containers in a large container yard, tools in a large automotive factory or medical equipment in a large hospital.
Passive UHF labels cost less than 10 cents apiece, so they are cost-effective for tracking many items, such as clothing in a retail store. But a generic label cannot withstand temperatures of 250 degrees Celsius (482 Fahrenheit), so tracking items exposed to those kind of temperatures requires a special transponder. Readers and software also must be chosen based on the application. In some cases, using a handheld reader to take inventory is the most cost-effective way to go. For other applications, such as identifying a large number of cartons moving down a conveyor, fixed readers are more cost-effective.
I wish I could provide a better answer for you, but the choice of what RFID system to deploy must be based on the items you want to track, the distance from which they must be monitored and other factors. This is why it is important to educate yourself about what different systems can do and evaluate vendors at a trade show. It’s not like buying a few barcode scanners off the Internet.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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