Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

Retailers and brands are turning to EPC-enabled RFID in order to quickly and accurately identify, capture and share product information and locations. 

Each RFID tag uniquely identifies an object, so you can use EPC-enabled RFID tags to track individual objects as they move along the supply chain.

Some companies also use EPC to significantly improve their internal processes or logistics operations. For example, companies can use EPC-based RFID for tracking inventory or reordering stock.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is technology used to track and trace objects using radio waves. This technology is part of the family of Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) technologies that ranges from the traditional one-dimensional barcode to two-dimensional barcodes (like the GS1 2D Datamatrix) to RFID and beyond.

Each RFID application consists of RFID tags, readers, and a computer system. Tags are made up of a microchip and an antenna and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

The Electronic Product Code (EPC) is a unique number that is used to identify a specific item in the supply chain. This unique number (EPC) is stored on a RFID tag. An EPC is much like a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), which is found in a standard barcode. EPC is a way to uniquely identify a pallet, case, or individual product.

It is the ‘next generation barcode’, but unlike the bar code, which needs “line of sight” to be read, EPC tags use radio waves to read product information faster and more efficiently.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is the generic name for automatic identification through the use of magnetic fields to transfer information from ‘chips’ to ‘readers’. EPC is a standardised form of RFID developed by GS1 especially for use in the supply chain.

  • You need to identify a lot of objects very quickly – RFID can count and identify multiple objects simultaneously
  • You need to identify objects that are part of other things (e.g. airframe parts, medical kits, cases of goods.) – RFID does not require line-of-sight, like bar codes, so there’s no need to disassemble kits to count components
  • You are operating in a hazardous environment or in open space (e.g. truck or rail yard.) – RFID can “read” across long distances, keeping personnel out of harm’s way
  • You can’t afford to devote human labour to the identification task – RFID does not require a human to align and scan an object; counting happens automatically
  • You need to add information associated with the product over time – Most RFID tags now are re-writable, or can be written in segment, so information can be easily added to an RFID tag over time.
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Read some of our case studies and reports involving RFID:

The New Zealand RFID Pathfinder Group is an incorporated society consisting of New Zealand commercial, academic and association-based organisations that have come together to drive the adoption of RFID technologies in New Zealand.

The initiative is designed to bring together both individuals and companies interested in investigating, trialing and deploying EPC standards within their business in New Zealand. Other members of the NZ RFID Pathfinder Group include strategic industry associations, systems integrators, consulting firms, research and academic institutions.

Access the RFID Pathfinder website here.

NZ RFID Pathfinder Group Objective

To establish an EPC/RFID community to meet, exchange information, drive pilots, research, share experiences and provide a support environment as the technology evolves in New Zealand and internationally.

Find out more about how you can be involved with the New Zealand Pathfinder Group.