RFID – A History of the Technology

NXF Mifare S50

RFID – A History of the Technology

 Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, has been around for the last 60 years or so. It’s not a new development by any means, and yet people are just starting to use it in new and exciting ways. It may be old technology, but don’t think it obsolete because of its age – there’s a lot that you can do with RFID. We feel that it’s so important that it deserves a proper examination, so we’re going to be delving into its history to find out more.

An Innovative Beginning

The beginning of RFID is one which takes place in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It came about as a combination of radio broadcasting technology and radar, which first appeared in 1920’s America. Here in the UK, you’ll find that it didn’t come into use until 1930. A variant of it was used during the Second World War to identify enemy aircraft and distinguish it from friendly ships.

RFID - A History of the Technology Impress

But to see the results of the innovation, we need to jump ahead 40 years or so to reach the 1970’s. At this point, people began to experiment properly with RFID technology in situations which were outside of the military or the government. Farmers began to take RFID and use it to implant a transponder into a cow, which would transmit a location as well as a unique set of information. It helped them to identify their livestock and also to track it.

Modern Applications

Of course, there are modern applications for the technology as expected. At the moment, businesses use them primarily for contactless cards. The technology has evolved and improved over time which makes it ideal for all kinds of solutions, whether it’s the technology that tracks livestock or other items being transported around, or it’s the reason why an alarm goes off when you try and leave the shop without paying for something. Alternatively, they’ve been used as forms of identification for employees of a corporation.

Thanks to the versatility of such items, you can program these cards and tags to do pretty much anything you want. There’s also the option in a lot of variants to have things like barcodes and mag strips added, to make sure that they are fit for purpose. The modern RFID technology sees use in hundreds of different areas because it’s easy to program and very reliable.

To summarise, the history of the RFID system is a varied one. It began as a way for the military to target opposing aircraft and safeguard their own forces. But over time it became more widely used and adopted into different areas. It’s apparent that it now has a use as a security and identification system. Shops and farmers can use it to track products and livestock from start to finish. It’s especially useful for transportation across large distances – you can make sure that every shipment of a product arrives when it is supposed to. Contactless plastic cards are also very useful in this regard because they are easy to produce and exceptionally versatile.

RFID - A History of the Technology Impress


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