RFID vs Barcode: Comparison Between RFID and Barcode Technologies


Barcode has been a universal fundamental element of all industrial products since the 1970s. It remains and should last for the next 1-2 decades in global industries, although some new technologies like RFID are emerging, it benefits from the significant features of barcode technology:

  1. Lowest cost and based on well build barcode infrastructure under international standard,
  2. Fast one by one reading, billions of products scanned at the checkout counter,
  3. Easily accessible cyber-physical data connection plays a crucial role in collaborating with the back IT management system,
  4. Easy to attach on any product, no doubt, be an essential element of the management system.

Industries and retailer businesses are recently facing a comprehensive challenge caused by competition of similar product global purchasing, labor and production cost continually rising, flexibility requirement ever-increasing from the market. All facts had been leading to tighter profit margins, more efficient industrial processes. Most successful business owners were mindful of a promotive solution to improve inventory control, asset tracking, and supply chain management, and auto-industry as well.


With our experience in the global Auto-ID industry during the recent two decades, radio frequency identification technology is no doubt the best-upgraded version of barcode technology. And sure to be wildly applied in all industries production management, chain supplier, and logistics management in the coming years to meet the trend of new era global industry regarding the characteristics of RFID as below.

  1. Group multiple reading (bulk reading) instead of single reading by barcode,
  2. Omni-direction and penetrating reading, the RFID tag can be read even inside a container.
  3. 50 to 70 times faster than barcode data collection
  4. Convey data capacity several times more significant than a barcode, with secure data protection.
  5. RFID data deletable after a whole  process cycle,
  6. save a lot of labor work to move packages by a designed auto data collection with an array of RFID antennas and readers, no need to open the package for checking.
  7. integrating RFID data algorithms in inventory management systems, for accurate retail warehouse inventory realized with RFID handsets, or some RFID fixed on-site readers, approved in many apparel retail management systems.

Besides RFID in industry and logistic applications, billions of item-level RFID tags used on high value-added, high accuracy, and efficient logistics requiring products, like clothing, cosmetics, medicine, alcohol, fresh foods, and military products in the recent 5 years.

The prime advantages of RFID on item level

  1. through an RFID tunnel or an RFID chamber, RFID item tags in a container can be read at high speed without opening the package. A sophisticated allocation package can ensure a transparent and efficient operation.
  2. securely encrypted RFID data to protect the business information and prohibit most of the counterfeit products into the supplier chain.
  3. A tamper-evident seal RFID tag gets fake products by an authorization APP operated by end-users or distributors.
  4. Brand owner published APP allows end consumers to get online support directly with operation videos and instructions with NFC enabled mobile devices, which cover most of the market. All tracking information found through mobile phones. After-sales service, re-ordering, quality feedback, and tracing becomes much more straightforward.
  5. RFID technology can realize the complicated management to avoid those lost in barcode systems, including cross-boundary selling, lack of stock and overstock, vicarious inventory, overdue orders.
  6. brand owners are very interested in Dual-Frequency RFID (both UHF and NFC work in the same microchip) for expensive alcohol or pharmacy products. It can work both long-range readings around 8 meters and can be read by NFC mobile phone simultaneously, fulfill both fast logistics and chain supply, as well as NFC’s supported functions at the end-customer side.
  7. A proper design whole processes management by RFID can cover the whole history of the product life, beginning from the production management, supply chain, distribution, verification before purchase, and customer’s after-sales service, as well ax re-ordering.

Additional subscriptions before RFID application:

  1. RFID is probably an updated version of barcode, and it means if you have successful experience of most management systems based on barcodes, RFID offers a smooth transition from existing data-based systems to achieve the targeted performance. In other words, it is better to establish an RFID system based on industry-standard 3.0, cooperating with RFID middleware and hardware to achieve the desired goal.
  2. To fulfill an efficient inventory of mass products, a expect RFID regular rate up to 100% on-site, client need to provide the details of the product with the package (especially the high humidity or and metal include), and to stack way on a pallet. We design and develop a customized RFID tag and read facilities to work together and get rid of interference caused by RFID sensitivity of the environment.
  3. RFID applications must work with regulated and managed policies in standardized operations toward automatic in and out data collection.
  4. RFID project investment is still relatively expensive, although RFID tags and readers have been 10 times cheaper than 10 years ago. An excellent ROI (Return On Investment) can achieve long-term consideration instead of some risk caused by cheap parts.

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