When exploring asset and inventory tracking, and location solutions to implement into your business, you will most likely be looking into RFID and Bluetooth technology. As you are doing your research, it can appear that these technologies are similar, but it is important to note the differences that can help you determine the best technology to pursue for your business needs.
What Is RFID Technology?
RFID stands for radio-frequency identification technology, that is primarily used for your asset and inventory tracking needs. These technologies consist of radio transponders, radio receivers and transponders. With these pieces, RFID works by employing an RFID transponder (or tag) and a reader. The RFID transponder is comprised of a microchip that holds information to identify an object, product, or person and an antenna for transmitting this data to the reader. The antenna transmits the data to a reader that converts the radio waves to usable information. Put simply, RFID is similar to barcode technologies, but uses radio waves to capture data from tags, rather than optically scanning the barcodes on a label.
What Is Bluetooth Technology?
Bluetooth technology is a global standard for a small radio module to be plugged into computers, printers, mobile phones, etc. A Bluetooth radio is designed to replace cables by taking the information normally carried by the cable and transmitting it over radio frequency in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz frequencies to a receiver Bluetooth radio chip. This technology not only enhances the convenience and productivity of various devices by taking cables and clutter out of the workspace but also enhances the bottom line by eliminating cable-related costs. Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows the data exchange between devices, like mobile phones and computers, using wavelength UHF radio frequency.
What Is the Difference Between RFID and Bluetooth Technology?
From the information presented above, it appears that both technologies are the exact same, however, both have their own environments where they will give you the best efficiency when implemented. When using RFID technology, with the advances made, RFID uses radio waves to share the data that is gathered, so that when your asset is far from your warehouse, store, or wherever your asset can live, you are always able to get that real-time visibility to where your asset is at. With Bluetooth technology, this relies on device-to-device connections which limits the use of this technology and data inside your warehouse, store, or wherever your assets are currently living. The key characteristic of RFID technology is that RFID does not need the label or tag to be seen to read its stored data, whereas Bluetooth requires close proximity-based environments in order to read that data and keep the connection between those shared devices.
Where Can These Technologies Be Applied?
- Retail and Hospitality
- Give your customers the experience that keeps them coming back through item-level inventory management and store replenishment, omni-channel fulfillment, lost prevention and brand authentication.
- Transportation and Logistics
- Deliver non-stop service that improves your employee safety, fleet, inventory and supply chain management, and mobile dispatch.
- Manage your inventory across your supply chain that creates efficiency in warehouse and yard management and pick and put away processes.
- Retail, Transportation and Logistics, Healthcare, Warehouse and Manufacturing
- In all of these environments, Bluetooth technology will allow you to transfer necessary files and data that empowers your workforce to complete tasks with high accuracy no matter where your workforce finds itself within the workplace.