Radio-frequency Identification (RFID)

RFID means radio frequency identification. This technology, which is very powerful in logistics, enables automatic and contactless identification and static localisation.


  • Precise positioning
  • Tags as a mass product very low priced
  • Wide range of applications in logistics


  • Special infrastructure must be established
  • Range of conventional tags very small
  • Not suitable for mobile applications

An RFID system consists of a transponder and a reader. Data can be stored on the transponder – also radio tag or RFID tag. These can be used for orientation, for example, by passing on target coordinates stored on an employee ID card to the output device of a building management system, such as a touch screen terminal. Starting from the location, a static route in the form of a route description can then be displayed on the map. Another possibility is the routing of driverless transport systems in industry, in which a kind of rail system is simulated via a series of transponders embedded in the floor. The system only works for defined routes.

In typical RFID applications such as access control or in warehousing and logistics, the range is typically 0.5 to 3 meters. So-called active transponders, which have their own power supply, theoretically even reach transmitter ranges in the kilometre range. However, the unit price of the transponders, which is partly in the cent range, increases considerably. This also makes the transponder considerably larger. Passive tags or transponders receive the energy to transmit their information from the radiation field of the reader. RFID transponders also have their own memory on which information can be stored. The storage capacity ranges from a few bits to several kilobytes.

Disadvantages of RFID for location-based services

RFID alone is only partially or not at all suitable for the implementation of location-based services. A major disadvantage is the rather small range, but above all the fact that although it is possible to identify whether an RFID tag is in reader A or B, the path in between cannot be detected. However, it is precisely this information that is necessary for the optimization of logistical processes. This disadvantage also makes flexible positioning or even indoor navigation impossible. A combination with Beacon technology is optimal for warehousing processes and eliminates most of the disadvantages.