Often we see bid specifications and results that would lead one to infer that 'all tags are essentially the same' in spite of the differences in cost.
Sameness comes from the general specifications used in many documents such as ISO 15693, 18000-3, HF, 13.56 Mhz and other similar terms. The mainstream is using ISO 15693 and the rest of the specifications can be largely inferred except perhaps for memory. The common memory footprint is 1024 but there are a few tags with 256 bytes. The ISO 28560-3 Draft standard can fit in this space but the larger tag is preferred to handle a full data set and extensions. ISO 28560-2 memory is undetermined in the USA. Australia and the UK have established a profile that requires 1024. The major manufacturers tell us that the difference in cost is negligible and volume purchases could offset any difference.
But the REAL comparisons in tags are rarely specified.
Recently, we've heard of customers returning tens of thousands (and some returning hundreds of thousands) of tags because of performance. What if you didn't find out until it was too late?
Our Company is dedicated to the delivery of the BEST RFID System. We will never be the least expensive but we will always be the best. When we began developing RFID solutions, we made the decision to be the best and that required careful analysis of every product, and consistent testing to ensure that we could back up our decisions. Our Technology Research Lab recently produced an internal document that illustrated the differences in performance for the four leading tag manufacturers. To ensure validity, we used different models of gates.
The results were quite surprising. I expected a 10-15% deviation and a likely variance of 20% but what we found was actually disturbing. Compared to our standard, another mainstream tag tested 26% lower in performance.
Performance can be easily measured by distance for a quick assessment. Place tags above a pad and measure how far the tag can be moved from the tag and still be read. One model of tag measured 9 inches less than our standard which, as you might infer tested the best at 29 inches from the pad.
Casual testing to see that a system 'works' isn't sufficient. Distance translates to reliability of detection through the gates and consistent checkout of stacks of items. Consider a tag that performs 25% less than our standard. This doesn't translate to a 25% reduction in gate detection - that would be misleading. But even if it's a 10% reduction, is ANY library willing to invest thousands of dollars in gates and tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in tags to then tell their board that 10% of the materials may not be protected against theft - or - 10% of the items in the collection may cause circulation errors during self service check out.
The numbers relating to failure are conjecture. There are other factors to consider when measuring actual performance, far too much information to cover in this article.
If ever the phrase 'penny wise' had merit, it's in learning that a 2 cent lower tag price translates to as much as a 30% reduction in performance.
If you have questions, we have answers. Our position is clear:
We guarantee the delivery of the best RFID tags/System in the market
You are welcome to use other brands of tags but you should perform tests before making a decision to buy a cheaper tag and we will provide the test matrix and guidelines to help you make an informed decision.