Do you need to keep track of hundreds or thousands of different items? Maybe you have a CD collection that has been growing for years and constantly trying to remember what you own or where the CD is currently located is taking up your time and money. You may want to create a database of everything you own but how do you track the physical items? RFID tags can help.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is an method of tracking physical materials through a small flat transponder attached to the item. You can apply an RFID tag to an object and use radio waves to read and track the item. A standard RFID tag contains an integrated circuit for storing the information you can read and an antenna for transmitting the signal. Many companies and manufactures use RFID in their supply chain management process. The companies apply RFID tags to the items to track and they are able to track their supply easily. You can use the same ideas behind large supply chain management to your home.
You may have heard about RFID tags tracking our every move and are apprehensive about tagging the items in your home. After all, you really would not want someone with an RFID reader to be able to see what you have in your home. Labeling your home inventory and collections with RFID will not announce to other people what you own because the tags will actually not have any specific information on them.
To begin labeling your products at home, you should purchase passive RFID tags. Passive RFID does not actively broadcast a signal, the RFID information is only readable by a RFID reader in close proximity. If you are cautious about possible exposure of your inventory to others you can test your reader and your RFID tags before applying the labels to your products.
RFID tags are so small now that you can actually purchase labels that contain a RFID chip embedded in the paper. The chips are also very thin so you may not even notice the chip at all. If you want to make labels for a collection of products or to mark your home inventory, choose a label that is not too large and fits your budget. The paper labels are so easy to use that you may start to label everything you come in contact with.
You can usually find these RFID labels at stores that sell products to warehouses or online. If this is your first purchase of RFID labels, you may want to seek out a store in your town and discuss your options with a sales clerk. Many companies will try to sell you a printer, labels, and an elaborate RFID reader but there really is no need to over purchase your supplies. All you need are the labels and a RFID reader, which can be purchased second hand through Ebay or other website. If you visit a local store, you may want to request a demonstration of different readers and different labels in order to choose the right labels for your needs.
You will need to purchase an inventory database program for your computer, of if you have the time and the desire, you could make your own. There are many different database programs available online, it is simply a matter of finding the program that meets your needs. To keep your work down, choose a database program that can store the RFID information in them. This allows you to enter all the data pertaining to the items you want to track into one location and scan the RFID label you attach to the product.
Also, you may want to spend a little time thinking about why you are labeling the items in your home in order to purchase the best database program for your needs. If you loan items in your collection out, you can use your database to track which items you have loaned out. If you want to create a home inventory in case of loss or theft, your database program can be much easier and simpler.
Because of the demands of many large companies, RFID tags have become very thin and very cheep. You really do not need to do anything special to create a useable RFID label for your home, just slap a pre-made paper label on the items you want to track. With the proper database program and reader you will not need to write anything on the label, just attach, scan the chip, and record the data on your computer.
The hard part of this tracking process, will be collecting the data into a database you can use. There are several companies that sell a database and RFID reader package to allow the home user to start an RFID inventory. And who knows, once you begin using RFID tags in your home, you may start to discover additional uses for these handy RFID tags.