The Problem With Software Packages Developed by RFID Hardware Vendors

By Yedidia Blonder

No single type of RFID hardware is the best option for every aspect of a project. Therefore, end users need to select a software solution that is entirely hardware-agnostic.


Most software solutions on the market have been developed by hardware manufacturers merely as a vehicle to sell their particular hardware. Besides the fact that software development is generally not those manufacturers’ core competency domain, these solutions are typically limited to the products offered by each specific hardware vendor. This limitation is a very severe constraint to project performance, and represents a great risk to a project’s ability to remain state-of-the-art over years to come.

The great majority of RFID projects contain many different aspects demanding specific hardware solutions. The most common example is passive RFID versus active. While expensive items may be tracked and protected using active RFID tags, inexpensive equipment (furniture, screens and so forth) can normally be protected with less costly passive tags. In other cases, objects may be too small to be protected using active tags (for example, specimens in hospitals), and a company should, therefore, have the capacity to track them via passive RFID in order to be able to read many of them remotely, and with a single scan. Combining active and passive RFID technologies is a must, but is often impossible using software solutions developed by hardware manufacturers.

Even with active RFID, different hardware products or technologies may be advisable for different elements of a project, depending on the particular use and settings: persons or assets, the environment, available infrastructure, indoors vs. outdoors and so forth.

Simply put, there is no single hardware or brand that is the right solution for every aspect of a project—hence, the great importance of selecting a software solution that is entirely hardware-agnostic, and that can easily be combined with a mix of technologies from various vendors, in order to create an optimized solution.

New technologies arise all the time, bringing drastic improvements in performance, functionality and price reduction, and a user must be guaranteed to be able to benefit from these new products. This is only possible when employing a solution that is truly hardware-independent, with a firm commitment by the software provider to integrate with any new hardware upon the customer’s request.

Furthermore, it is strongly advisable to prefer a software solution offering exhaustive application programming interfaces (APIs), as well as a software development kit (SDK), so that an end user and its systems integrator can remain independent from the software developer as well.

Yedidia Blonder is the product manager of Vizbee, a provider of a real-time tracking software platform designed to support all leading RFID technologies, including different types within the same project.