The convergence of RFID and consumer electronics manufacturing gives brand owners, supply chain partners, and consumers new methods to more easily track, trace, configure, update, secure, service, authenticate and integrate products.
Wireless product track and trace throughout product lifecycle
- Invisible electronic serial numbers
- Integrated asset management
- Improved forward and reverse logistics management
Provisioning and authentication
- Wireless “in-the-box” product activation
- Wireless product authentication protects the brand owners and retailers from fraudulent or incomplete returns
- Wireless, “in-the-box” firmware updates anywhere in production/distribution
- Wireless enabling of product features supports product derivatives based on common design
- Custom configuration of device for individual customers creates upsell opportunities
RFID Features Beneficial to Application
- Unique serialized identification
- Read/write memory
- No line-of-sight requirement
- Simultaneous access to multiple tags
- Easy installation on PCBs
- Power source not required for communication.
- Electronic bridge from wireless RFID to on-board processor (RFID tag chip versions that include I2C bus interface)
Track and Trace
Integrating RFID tags within the printed circuit boards of electronic products early in the manufacturing cycle (using PCB traces or a slot as the tag antenna), has many benefits including: protecting the tag from damage and tampering, providing an invisible electronic serial number, and supporting wireless access to product status, even when sealed in a box and not powered, from the manufacturing floor through shipping, distribution channels, out onto the sales floor, and even after purchase for returns and servicing.
This serial number integrated into the product has no unattractive external markings, doesn’t need line-of-sight for reading, and may even be accessed when inside sealed product cases or packaging.
For asset management, the ability to invisibly read electronic serial numbers on every piece of equipment—where multiple assets are identifiable simultaneously without line-of-sight requirements—means managing their deployed locations, servicing, consumables, etc., is tamper resistant, easier, and more cost-efficient.
And for forward and reverse logistics, RFID tags embedded into products facilitates storing of the production date, firmware and die reel numbers directly on the board, with later wireless access to this information. It also provides the means to log a product’s repair history (on the RFID chip), so supply chain partners can access it without disassembling the product. The ability to wirelessly validate critical internal components curbs fraudulent returns, assists with warranty service status and routing, and helps to alleviate gray and counterfeit market activity.
Provisioning and Authentication
RFID-enabled electronics support the deactivation of the device after production with reactivation only possible at the point of sale or other brand owner-managed location. This approach provides an effective and cost efficient means to deter theft. The unique serialization of the product via RFID also provides retailers a way to verify product authenticity. This capability has real cost benefits to brand owners, retailers, and consumers in an industry where product counterfeiting is increasingly prevalent. It also protects against unscrupulous customers who purchase products from unauthorized Internet or gray market channels and then return these counterfeits to retailers as defective, fraudulently receiving a genuine version in exchange.
Embedded RFID adds new capabilities and flexibility during manufacturing, within the supply chain and even in the after sales process including:
- Ability to update firmware anywhere in production and distribution via products such as NXP’s UCODE I2C tag IC, which has a built-in I2C bus interface that acts as a bridge between the wireless RFID communication and the PCB-based microcontroller
- Support for fast reaction to market demands for new features and functions by using one design for products with many derivatives, and then selectively enabling features wirelessly
- Customization of products with individual customer features, such as inclusion of gift certificates with a tablet, customized wallpaper to suit the gift occasion, personalized gift messages, or pre-configured WiFi credentials.
Simplified Bluetooth Pairing
Embedding NFC chips within electronic devices supports Secure Simple Pairing (SSP) by providing a means to exchange the pairing information required for Bluetooth devices to interoperate correctly. This approach enables user-friendly and elegant connection by merely tapping the NFC-enabled device to the Bluetooth accessory that has an embedded NFC tag. Examples of such pairing include an NFC-enabled smartphone with an external speaker or a Bluetooth headset.
Getting Started with RFID for Embedded Electronics
UCODE passive UHF transponder ICs offer high anti-collision rates and long operating distances, and can help protect your brand—ideal for supply chain management and logistics applications requiring high speed, long-range operation.
With its NFC technology, NTAG offers the ultimate in convenience for connecting all types of consumer devices and enabling rapid and easy communication—the perfect solution for exchanging data in our increasingly complex and connected world.
ICODE is the industry standard for high-frequency (HF) smart label solutions with billions of ICs in the field and thousands of successful installations. ICODE is a proven technology and supports ISO 15693 / ISO 18000-3 compliant infrastructure.