Many businesses have applications which would be well-suited to the use of RFID, and increasingly, they are taking the leap to implement this technology. A critical element of RFID success is engaging an knowledgeable technology partner to guide your project. CSSI can take you all the way from concept and scoping to implementation and go-live.
RFID differs from barcoding in that there are rarely cookie-cutter solutions. A successful implementation will need to account for your objectives as well as the unique challenges of your environment, the items being tagged, and the impact of these on RF signals.
Know the key components of an RFID system
- RFID tags — the most critical element, tags attach to the items being tracked. It’s critical to select a tag which can be read after taking into account myriad factors such as the composition of the item and the environment in which the tag will be used.
- RFID readers and antennas — depending on your project, you may utilize fixed readers and antennas, handheld readers, or a mix of both. Many form factors are available, and specification should be driven by your goals and the operating environment.
- Middleware — this is software which receives, interprets, and filters the stream of data coming from your RFID readers as they read tags. Middleware repackages this data stream so that it can be used by your back end system.
- Back end software or an interface with your existing back end — you may wish to utilize RFID data in your ERP system, or in a free-standing application. This is where the data is put to use for you.
CSSI will work with you in scoping, designing, and implementing your RFID project. Some of the critical steps and elements of the final solution will include:
- Scoping and planning — what are your goals, and is this project suitable for RFID?
- Process mapping — What is the current state process, and what will the future state look like?
- Tag selection — Critically, we must select tags which will be readable on the items to which they are attached.
- Antenna selection and placement — Depending on your desired goals and your operating environment, we will specify the necessary number of readers and antennas, and the optimal placement to ensure successful read rates.
- Middleware — This is where the system is configured.
- Back-end software development and/or integration — How do you wish to ultimately use the data gleaned via RFID? CSSI can either integrate data with your ERP software, or can design a standalone application based on your requirements.
Ready to explore RFID for your business? Complete the form at right to get started.