What's the difference between tracking individual items using IoT technology and RFID technology? Aside from the costs associated with each - Oh wait! It's the costs of each that 's keeping both from gaining ground. Both technologies can provide item level identification but RFID can now be considered 'old' tech while IoT (Internet of Things) is the current darling of the development world. Here's what I see happening over the next few years.
RFID has been around for a while and has always (still does) had a slow uptake with regard to supply chain integration. That's both sad and understandable. RFID came along before current connectivity options were widely available. It requires specialized readers, and has very short distance requirements for communication. But most importantly, consumers were still afraid of what it meant. Some even went so far as to call it the 'mark of the devil' believing it would become embeded in every person and allow unwanted tracking and identification.
That was a decade or two ago. Today consumers are accustomed to being tracked and identified. Mobile devices commonly use GPS, WiFi, cell radios, and even Bluetooth to detect and report location information to applications and to social media audiences. The concern over privacy has diminished significantly for many.
Today's tech enables identification and communication with devices like appliances and is termed the Internet of Things. As an extension, new tags are available that use Bluetooth enabled sensor tags. The tags are small enough to be attached to things that commonly become lost - think about your keys and your TV remote. If one of these tags is attached to your lost item, simply launching an app on your smartphone can guide you to your device.
The tags are still too expensive to deploy on every consumable item - but so were RFID chips. Major manufacturers like TI are providing both the tags and easy to deploy apps. Over the next 5 years the costs will plummet. Consumers' fears of being tracked will become benefits of being able to locate everything they own.
Say goodbye to RFID and hello to IoT tags