Is all BAP RFID the same?

For an upcoming magazine article, I was asked about emerging trends for RFID in the vehicle and equipment yard management markets.  It’s an interesting question and, to me, the answer is directly tied to the emergence of the ISO/IEC standard for BAP RFID − sometimes referred to as “Class 3” RFID.

Products based on the ISO/IEC 18000-6:2010 (Class 3) standard for battery-assisted passive RFID (BAP) deliver longer range and enhanced capabilities for reading/writing to tags in RFID-unfriendly environments involving metals and liquids. These conditions that are commonly found at worksites and vehicle/equipment yards.  While the ability to read/write at long distances has previously existed in some active RFID solutions, these solutions were typically very expensive – limiting deployment.  Class 3 BAP RFID provides similar capabilities to the more expensive active RFID but at a significantly lower price point – a price point that cost-effectively enables large-scale adoption and deployments for yard management applications.

Because Class 3 BAP RFID has read ranges of 300 feet (approximately 100 meters) it is easy to deploy at worksites/yards without having to redesign workflows or create choke points or portals through which vehicles/equipment must pass at entry/exit.  And, because the tags work around metals, they can be more easily utilized on trucks, tractors, trailers and other equipment to provide significantly improved visibility for improved asset management and utilization.

Class 3 BAP tags can also store information about an asset on the tag because of the on-tag memory capabilities. Sensors can also be added to monitor for temperature, humidity, vibration or other conditions.

But, it’s important to make the distinction between Class 3 and Class 1 BAP tags.  While Class 1 tags can utilize a battery to enable some applications, their range, data transfer rates between the tag and reader, and their battery life don’t match the capabilities of Class 3 tags.  Take away: not all BAP is created equal.  Make sure you know what you’re looking at.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

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