RFID has come a long way. What started as a secret tool for the United States military in the 1940s has since become an essential tool in modern access control systems. In fact, it’s a tool that may very well be in your pocket.

But just what is this everyday wonder? How does it work? Let’s find out.

What is RFID?

RFID is short for Radio-Frequency IDentification. As the name suggests, RFID uses radio signals to ID an object, then allow or deny that object access. In a sense, RFID is a compact form of radar.

RFID emerged as a concept in the 1940s. Not long after, the US military used a primitive form of RFID as a surveillance tool. RFID became commercialized in the 1970s, but its cost and complexity limited it to government agencies and major corporations. It steadily became more streamlined and compact, gaining widespread use in keyless entry systems for business by the 1990s.

Military Radar Technology

RFID evolved from military radar technology , such as this 1940s US Army radar installation

How does RFID work?

There are two key components in RFID:

  1. A reader, usually embedded within a cabinet, is a device that constantly sends radio waves. Think of it as a gatekeeper.
  2. A tag is an object that carries an ID signature; it’s often used within a card or fob that a user waves or taps in front of a reader.

The reader’s radio signal sends a charge into the tag; that charged tag sends back an ID signature. If the reader recognizes the ID signature, it will activate its programmed action—usually some form of entry. If the reader doesn’t recognize the tag, then tough luck for the tag holder.

How do Senseon RFID locks improve customer service?

Senseon RFID locks can help businesses in several ways:

  • RFID can eliminate the need to manage physical keys. An RFID tag can serve as keyless entry for doors and buildings—as long as an administrator allows a specific tag access for that opening. That means less time fumbling through physical keys and more time serving customers.
  • It simplifies things. Where a lost or stolen physical key can require you replace the whole lock, an administrator can simply delete the lost/stolen tag’s access and program a new one.
  • It can be hidden. There’s no visible access point, so no visual cue for thieves to target. An RFID user can mount a proximity reader under a cabinet surface.
  • It can preserve nice designs. Pertaining to Senseon, an RFID reader, hub, and lock can be seamlessly integrated into a cabinet-level drawer design. This allows for a clean aesthetic—a major design plus for high-end retail environments.

These benefits can thus lead to greater business efficiency and design.

Why did Senseon adopt RFID?

Simple: RFID is a proven technology that is used every day in the world of wireless access control. This provides a comfort level and confidence for the customer looking to use this technology.

What does Senseon do with RFID that makes it stand out?

Senseon simplifies the administrator set-up by incorporating a single administrator card to perform all programming functions. It also allows for those proximity readers (as well as hubs) to be concealed underneath a surface. The proximity reader’s compact size allows it to fit into very small spaces.

There you have it: A primer on the evolving role of RFID, and the ever-growing need for it in the business world today.

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