Location-based technologies have been around for a while now, but in the past few years, they have gained traction. The reason it is increasing is because of the value it delivers to companies in virtually every industry. And as it goes with the world in general, we now have several means to utilize this technology, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, iBeacon technology, and more. While options are great in general, they do often make it difficult for companies to choose between them. The same holds for companies looking to integrate location technology in their operations — should they opt for RFID tags or iBeacon technology?

To answer that question, we must first understand the basics. So, RFID — this one is a rather old tool wherein the RFID tag with an integrated antenna and circuit, sends data to the reader. RFID reader converts the data into a readable format and then transfer it into a host system. It is for storage, analysis, and more. iBeacon is Apple’s version of the beacon technology, which involves small wireless transmitters sending signals to nearby devices via Bluetooth Low Energy technology. Now that we know how the two technologies work, it is now time to demonstrate how they fare against each other in the context of some critical aspects.

  1. Accessibility: When it comes to RFID, you will, admittedly, need plenty of hardware and other equipment to set up and get the system going. Considering it involves things like RFID tags, readers, host systems, software, and more, it goes without saying that the upfront investment is rather significant. Oh, and don’t forget, it is not compatible with mobile devices out of the box. Beacon technology, on the other hand, just needs battery-powered beacons and can be easily set up with mobile apps. So they offer several advantages, such as scalability, portability, etc.
  2. Security: RFID technology is associated with standard IP network solutions, which renders any IP-based communication between RFID readers and the network inherently secure. But it also suffers from the lack of identification for both tags as well as readers. Then there is the iBeacon technology that is basically just devices that detect and send signals. So there is no risk here, but that’s not to say there’s no risk at all. The mobile apps that use beacon signals are, however, susceptible to some degree of risk.
  3. Accuracy: RFID scores reasonably well in this department. It allows identification of as many as 1,000 tags per second with a 100% read rate. However, the accuracy is dependent on factors such as readers, reader antennas, tag antennas, and frequency, among other things. As for the other option — well, beacons are radio transmitters, which makes them prone to interference, thanks to the possibility of radio signals being absorbed by a variety of mediums in the vicinity.

Well, there you have to folks. So, when you set off to work on GPS based applications, this guide will help you decide which location technology you should integrate.

Author's Bio: 

Kaushal Shah manages digital marketing communications for the enterprise technology services provided by Rishabh Software. This article focuses on the comparison of two location technologies RFID and iBeacon (BLE).