Tag Identification Message Formats


Tag identification is the process of identifying and tracking physical objects or people using electronic tags. These tags contain unique identifiers that can be read by special devices, enabling businesses to locate, monitor, and manage their assets more efficiently. Tag identification technologies have revolutionized many industries by providing real−time data on a wide range of parameters such as location, temperature, humidity, and movement.

Types of Tag Identification Message Formats

Tag identification message formats refer to the various ways through which tags or labels can be identified and their information transmitted from one device to another. Two common tag identification message formats are Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Near Field Communication (NFC). Both technologies use wireless communication protocols, but they differ in terms of range, speed, and reliability.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)

RFID is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to transmit data between a reader and a passive or active tag attached to an object. Passive RFID tags do not have internal power sources and rely on the energy emitted by the reader to transmit their data.

Active RFID tags, on the other hand, have built−in batteries that allow them to broadcast their information over longer distances. There are several types of RFID tags used for different applications.

For instance, low−frequency (LF) RFID tags operate at 125−134 kHz and are commonly used in animal tracking, access control systems, and car immobilizers. High−frequency (HF) RFID tags operate at 13.56 MHz and are widely used in contactless payment systems, electronic passports, and inventory management systems.

Ultrahigh−frequency (UHF) RFID tags operate at 860−960 MHz and are preferred for supply chain management, asset tracking, vehicle identification. RFID technology has several advantages over traditional barcodes or QR codes.

For example

  • It does not require line−of−sight between the tag and reader.

  • It can read multiple tags simultaneously.

  • It can be integrated with other sensors such as temperature or humidity sensors.

However, there are also some disadvantages associated with RFID technology such as:

  • The cost of implementation is higher compared to other tagging methods.

  • RFID tags can be easily disrupted by metal and water, reducing their effectiveness in certain settings.

  • There are concerns over privacy and security risks associated with the transmission of sensitive data over wireless channels.

NFC (Near Field Communication)

NFC is a wireless technology that allows devices to communicate with each other when they are in close proximity (less than 10 cm). NFC uses magnetic field induction to create a short−range communication link between a reader and an NFC−enabled device or tag. Unlike RFID, NFC operates at 13.56 MHz and is used for contactless payments, access control systems, smart posters, digital content sharing, among others.

NFC tags come in various forms such as stickers, key fobs, wristbands, and cards. There are three types of NFC tags: Type 1 to Type 3.

Type 1 tags have a storage capacity of up to 96 bytes and are used for simple tasks such as launching a website or displaying text messages. Type 2 tags have a storage capacity of up to 48 bytes but can be rewritten multiple times using an NFC−enabled device.

They are used for more complex tasks such as storing contact information or launching apps on smartphones. Type−3 tags can store up to several kilobytes of data and can be read at high speeds.

NFC has several advantages over other tagging methods such as:

  • It is easy to use with most smartphones equipped with NFC capabilities.

  • It can work without an internet connection or mobile network coverage.

  • It provides real−time interaction between the user and the tag.

However, there are also some disadvantages associated with NFC technology such as:

  • The range of communication is very limited compared to other technologies.

  • The speed of data transfer is slower than other wireless technologies.

  • It requires close proximity between the two devices, which may not be practical in certain settings.

Comparison between RFID and NFC Technologies

Differences between the two technologies

RFID and NFC are two different types of wireless communication technologies used for tag identification. Although they share some similarities, there are also some significant differences between them.

One of the main differences is the range of communication. RFID has a longer range; it can communicate over a distance of up to 100 meters, while NFC has a short range; it works within a radius of about 10 centimeters.

Another significant difference is their frequency ranges. RFID operates in high frequency or ultra−high frequency, while NFC operates in very high frequency.

This difference in frequencies affects their applications and capabilities. RFID can be used for long−range applications such as tracking shipments while NFC is more suited for short−range applications such as mobile payments.

Similarities between the two Technologies

Despite their differences, there are several similarities between RFID and NFC technologies. The most obvious similarity is that both technologies use electromagnetic waves to transmit data wirelessly from tags to readers or mobile devices. Both technologies also use passive tags which do not require an external power source; instead, they draw power from the radio waves sent by the reader or mobile device.

Additionally, both technologies have gained popularity due to their convenience and efficiency; they allow quick and easy data transfer without requiring physical contact. Overall, while there are distinct differences between RFID and NFC technologies regarding range, frequency, and application suitability; both offer reliable tag identification solutions that businesses across various industries have been able to leverage for improved efficiency in their operations.

Tag Identification Message Formats in Different Industries

Retail Industry: Tracking Inventory, Reducing Theft, and Improving Customer Experience

In the retail industry, tag identification message formats play a critical role in inventory tracking and loss prevention. RFID tags are used to track products from the warehouse to the store shelves, allowing retailers to maintain accurate inventory levels.

Additionally, RFID tags can be used to prevent theft by triggering alarms if a product is removed from the store without being purchased. Beyond inventory and security, retailers are using tag identification message formats to improve customer experience.

Healthcare Industry: Tracking Medical Equipment, Monitoring Patient Movements and Ensuring Patient Safety

In the healthcare industry, tag identification message formats are crucial for tracking medical equipment and ensuring patient safety. RFID tags allow hospitals to keep tabs on costly medical equipment such as wheelchairs or respirators so they don't go missing or get misplaced between patients. Additionally, RFID tags can be placed on hospital patients' wristbands for accurate tracking of their movements throughout the facility.

NFC technology is also being implemented in the healthcare industry to ensure patient safety through medication adherence. NFC tags can be placed on pill bottles or packaging so patients can tap them with their smartphones for reminders about when and how much medication they should take.

Logistics Industry: Tracking Shipments, Optimizing Supply Chain Management and Reducing Costs

The logistics industry relies heavily on tag identification message formats for efficient tracking of shipments and optimization of supply chain management. RFID tags allow logistics companies to track packages as they move through various checkpoints along their journey. This not only provides real−time visibility into package location but also helps reduce the likelihood of lost packages.


Tag identification message formats are revolutionizing industries ranging from retail to healthcare to logistics. With RFID and NFC technologies, businesses are able to improve inventory management, prevent loss and theft, monitor patient safety, optimize supply chain management and reduce costs. As technology continues to advance and integrate into our daily lives at a faster pace than ever before, we can expect even more innovations in tag identification message formats that will continue to transform industries for the better.

Updated on: 11-Jul-2023


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