What is the Downside of RFID?

By RFID Journal

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Can you please identify some of the disadvantages of radio frequency technology?

—Name withheld


I’m not sure how to answer the question. RFID is just a tool, similar to a hammer or a computer. What are the disadvantages of a hammer or a computer? Well, a hammer can’t be used to tighten a screw, and a computer can’t be used to saw a piece of wood.

Every tool can be utilized for certain applications, but not for others. Radio frequency identification can be employed to identify an item and determine its location within a fairly small geographic area. It is not suitable for tracking ships on the open sea, however, or hikers in a forest.

Does RFID have disadvantages vis a vis other automatic-identification technologies? Sure, it does. All auto-ID technologies have strengths and weaknesses. The bar code’s advantage over RFID, for instance, is that the data carrier (the bar code) is cheap, compared to creating an RFID tag. RFID’s advantage, meanwhile, is that it is cheaper to read the data carrier, because you don’t need to hire people to read the tag.

Every company must examine the tasks they want to undertake and utilize the technology—the tool, if you will—that is most cost-effective for their particular applications.

—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal