AIDC Technology Delivered by Capturity
AIDC is an acronym for automatic identification and data capture. This refers to technologies like RFID and barcode that automatically identifies items, collects their data, and enters that data directly into software systems.
To determine the AIDC technology that will best serve your organization, it’s helpful to understand each of the available technologies.
Because visibility is not required, RFID-tagged items can be tracked with near perfect accuracy using a portal that consists of an RFID reader and antennas. The RFID tags are read as they approach the portal – without human intervention, thus decreasing costs.
- Active RFID tags contain their own power source, enabling items to be read up to 100 meters away.
- Passive RFID tags receive their power from the electromagnetic energy transmitted by the RFID reader. Therefore, the read range is shorter – up to 25 meters.
RFID Technology – Radio Frequency Identification
RFID is an AIDC technology that’s somewhat like a barcode, but also very different. To read the information contained in a barcode affixed to an item, the barcode must be visible and items must be read one barcode at a time. RFID tags, on the other hand, can be read without visually locating the item or the tag.
Additionally, with RFID technology many tags can be read simultaneously.
Barcoding has been around for a while because it works! This inexpensive AIDC technology allows tracking in multiple ways including employee/member badging, low cost item scanning, and even with invoice/purchase order tracking in some cases. Although at a very low cost, this efficient way to track items is limited to what it can do.
In some ways, NFC addresses the limitations of HF-RFID and vice versa. But one is not better than the other. It’s simply a matter of determining which technology has the right features for the intended use.
NFC – Near Field Communication
NFC and RFID are very similar – in fact, NFC is a subset of HF-RFID (High Frequency RFID) – but there are key differences.
Although both AIDC technologies operate at the same frequency, NFC conducts two-way communication at close proximity (5cm or less) while allowing only one tag to be read at a time. These features make NFC ideal for transactions requiring higher security such as payment processing and peer-to-peer communications.
RTLS – Real-Time Locating Systems
Real-time locating systems automatically locate and track items and people in real time via tags or beacons affixed to the item and fixed reference points equipped with antennas. Although the transmission of location information is typically conducted through radio frequency, certain systems employ infrared or ultrasound technology. What’s particularly interesting is that tags and references can both be used to send and/or receive information, enabling many configuration and AIDC possibilities.
GPS – Global Positioning System
GPS is a space-based navigation system consisting of 24 satellites sent into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense and made available for civilian use in the 1980s. As satellites circle the earth, they send information to GPS receivers to determine location (including altitude) and other data such as velocity, bearing, sunrise/sunset time, distance to destination and more. Although the GPS is highly accurate, certain conditions can interrupt or weaken service.