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Active Tracking With RFID

Active tracking of assets with RFID can make your business more efficient with automation. Use a combination of both Active RFID and Passive RFID systems to enable active tracking of your valuable assets.

Active Tracking Methodologies

There are two primary means of active tracking of assets with RFID

  • Passive RFID - Using passive RFID tags on assets with fixed readers.

  • Active RFID - Using active RFID tags on assets.

Passive RFID

Passive RFID Tags are attached to assets that need to be tracked. Passive tags don't have batteries. They can't communicate by themselves. In order to enable active tracking, they need to be powered by an external RFID Reader.

Passive RFID Tag Overview

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  • RFID Antenna - The antenna absorbs RF which is used to power the tag.

  • RFID Chip - The chip is the brains of the RFID Tag and is used to facilitate data processing

  • RFID Substrate - This is the material that the antenna and chip and placed onto.

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RFID Tag Example

RFID Readers

A Passive RFID Tag won't help with active tracking unless it is powered by an RFID Reader. There are two primary kinds of readers:

Mobile Readers

Mobile Readers are handheld readers with RFID built into them. They are typically configured as an RFID gun where you pull the trigger to start reading RFID tags nearby. 

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Integrated Mobile Reader

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Sled Mobile Reader

Fixed Readers

Fixed Readers are designed to be mounted on a wall or ceiling. Fixed Readers have ports where RFID Antennas can be attached. Integrated Fixed Readers have the reader and RFID antennas bundled up into a single package. RFID Tracking is enabled whenever an RFID Tag comes within range of the Fixed Reader.

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4-port Impinj Fixed Reader

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Integrated Fixed Reader

Only fixed readers enable active tracking with passive RFID

Active tracking with RFID requires an automated system that automatically provides update without a human interaction. Mobile RFID readers are meant to be used by a human and don't work with active tracking.

Active Tracking With Passive RFID Best Practices

Active tracking with passive RFID involves setting up Fixed RFID readers at strategic locations to be able to see asset movements.

Setting up location tracking for Passive RFID can be challenging. It is very important to choose the right hardware and software to ensure success of the RFID tracking project.

Identify the areas you want active tracking:

  • RFID range can be up to 30 feet in an ideal environment, but in reality it is closer to 8-15 feet.

  • Will your assets be within read range at the Fixed Reader location to enable active tracking?

  • When choosing which locations you wish to track, keep in mind that Fixed RFID readers can be more than $2,000 per reader.

Active Tracking with Passive RFID at a Room level

Room tracking is one of the easiest ways to enable active tracking with passive RFID.

  • Place Fixed RFID readers at room entrances for room level accuracy.

  • Doorways are typically quite narrow so ensure maximum reliability for RFID Tag read ranges.

Active Tracking with Passive RFID in an Open Space Environment

Active tracking in an open space environment is especially challenging. Because there are usually many paths that an asset can take, it is harder to place your Fixed RFID Readers in locations that will ensure reliability.

Strategy #1 - The Grid Layout
  • Place Fixed RFID Readers in a grid to provide general location awareness for assets.

  • From an active tracking perspective, the asset will be able to tell you which grid cell it is in.

  • Combine this approach with a mobile RFID reader Geiger Counter screen to pinpoint asset locations.

Strategy #2 - Key Area Layout
  • Identify key areas, such as work cells or shelves, that assets are placed and position Fixed RFID readers at these points.

  • Active tracking with key areas is powerful if you can be sure that your assets always flow through specific spots.

  • Combine this approach with a mobile RFID reader Geiger Counter screen to pinpoint asset locations.

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pinpointing asset location with geiger counter feature

Read The Complete Guide to Passive RFID Tracking

Active RFID

Active RFID tags have batteries built into them. This allows them to communicate without requiring an RFID interrogator.

InfinID Technologies has 3 product lines which can be used for active tracking of assets with active RFID:

V-Tag Active RFID Tags

V-Tag is a powerful Active RFID Tag that has a patented mesh network architecture.

V-Tag Active RFID Tag mesh network means that the tags can talk to each other, forming a dynamic, wireless network which can route messages.

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Active Tracking With V-Tag Active RFID Tags

V-Tag Active RFID tags are a natural fit for active tracking of assets.

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Simply stick a Fixed Location tag wherever you want to enable location tracking. 

  • The Fixed Location tags create their own ad-hoc wireless mesh network which is used for communication across the network.

  • V-Tag messages passed to the mesh network are automatically routed to the nearest V-Tag Gateway.

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Attach an asset tag to any asset you want to track.

  • When asset tag is moved, it automatically discovers nearest Fixed Location tag and reports to the mesh network.

  • Asset tags also have a beeper which can be remotely activated.

Learn More About V-Tag Active RFID Tags

V-Tag Beacon Tags

V-Tag Beacon tags are an active RFID tag that doesn't participate in the mesh network. Instead, the V-Tag Beacon tag must be within range of a V-Tag Gateway in order to update it's location.

The biggest advantage is in form factor and battery life. Since the V-Tag Beacon tag doesn’t participate in the mesh network, it requires a much smaller battery than a regular V-Tag.

Active Tracking With V-Tag Beacon Tags
  • V-Tag Gateway units are installed at each spot where you want to enable location tracking.

  • The closest Gateway is identified as the winner Gateway and automatically updates the tag's Gateway location.

V-Tag Beacon technology allows for very rapid location updates. This makes it a very good choice for personnel tracking. People move around a lot and receiving rapid updates can prevent injury in hazardous work environments.

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Learn More About V-Tag Beacon RFID Tags

V-Tag GPS Active RFID Tags

Active tracking in outdoor spaces tends to be challenging. Outdoor environments tend to cover much larger areas than indoor spaces.

V-Tag GPS is a cutting edge outdoor Active RFID tag with a range of up to almost 4 square miles with no subscription costs. V-Tag GPS tags enable previously unimagined cost savings.

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Compact V-Tag GPS Tag

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Whip Antenna V-Tag GPS Tag

Active Tracking With V-Tag GPS Tags

The Compact V-Tag GPS tag has a range of almost 4 square miles

. This makes it perfect for active tracking in most outdoor tracking environments. 

  • Simply attach a V-Tag GPS tag to the asset you wish to track.

  • Whenever the asset is moved, it automatically updates its GPS coordinates.

  • Updated GPS coordinates are sent to a V-Tag GPS Gateway unit which updates the software system.

Because of the extremely long range, V-Tag GPS tags are a very good fit for active tracking in many different industries:

  • Laydown Yards - Get visibility on where your equipment is across your storage yards.

  • Car Lots - Find any car across multiple car lots

  • Shipping yards - Find any container coming in or out of harbor

  • Aerospace facilities

  • Oil & Gas yards - No more jobs being held up because necessary equipment can't be located.

Learn More About V-Tag GPS Tags

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