RFID has gained widespread acceptance as an access control and identity management technology with applications in different fields. The technology can be divided into LF, HF and UHF RFID based on the frequency range it operates in. Two years ago, four companies, including Impinj, Intel, Google and Smartrac, founded the RAIN RFID standard that promotes UHF RFID.
“RAIN RFID is based on a single, global standard called UHF Class 1, Gen 2 or ISO/IEC 18000-63. This standard provides guidelines about how RAIN RFID systems work, what frequencies they operate at, how data is transferred, and how communication works between the reader and the tag. The standard also helps ensure that RAIN RFID products are interoperable, regardless of the vendor or user,” said Craig Cotton, VP of Marketing and Product Management at Impinj.
According to Cotton, international organizations that issue RAIN RFID-related standards include GS1, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Standards Organization (ISO), and the Joint Technical Committee (JTC 1), a committee formed by ISO and IEC.
“Many industries have developed standards outlining best practices for particular use cases. Some example organizations that oversee RAIN RFID standards for specific industries include the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the American Trucking Associations (ATA), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA),” Cotton said.
Various markets can benefit from RAIN RFID, one of them being retail, where end users use the technology to address issues such as limited inventory visibility, inventory overstocks and understocks, poor customer experiences and theft and shrink. “Implementing a RAIN RFID system increases sales, provides context for engaging in-store customer experiences and captures data for analytics. Retailers use a mix of RAIN RFID-enabled apparel hang tags, adhesive labels and/or sewn-in labels to identify, locate and authenticate their inventory. System integrators, service bureaus and inlay/label providers assist with tag selection,” Cotton said.
Healthcare operators also stand to benefit from RAIN RFID as they deal with such issues as inefficient asset utilization, over-purchasing medical assets, poor patient experience and complex Medicare reimbursements.
“RAIN RFID helps healthcare providers know where medical supplies, equipment, and staff are located at all times, keeping the focus on patient care and not on operational tasks. With RAIN RFID healthcare solutions, hospitals and other medical facilities can save time, reduce inventory spend, and improve patient care – allowing clinicians to spend more time doing what they do best,” Cotton said. “Options for tagging include embedding a RAIN RFID inlay into an item’s packaging, attaching hard tags to durables found around the hospital and attaching sticker-like tags to biological samples destined for testing in the lab. System integrators and inlay/label providers assist with tag selection.”