In the latest of our series of blogs looking at quality assurance, we focus on a clever piece of technology. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a versatile way of tracking and identifying items, and is widely used in a range of industries. Here at CAS, the use of RFID assists in our processes to keep documents and data physically safe, electronically secure, and easily accessible for our clients. We’re going to be taking a closer look at the technology, and the way in which we deploy it in our warehouses.

The technology: identifying and tracking items

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically stored information. Unlike a barcode, the tag need not be within the line of sight of the reader, so it may be embedded in the tracked object.

RFID tags can be either passive, active or battery-assisted passive. Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves. A passive tag is cheaper and smaller because it has no battery; instead, the tag uses the radio energy transmitted by the reader. An active tag has an on-board battery and periodically transmits its ID signal. Active tags have a local power source (such as a battery) and may operate hundreds of meters from the RFID reader. A battery-assisted passive (BAP) has a small battery on board and is activated when in the presence of an RFID reader. However, to operate a passive tag, it must be illuminated with a power level roughly a thousand times stronger than for signal transmission. That makes a difference in interference and in exposure to radiation.

A wide range of uses – but a note of caution

RFID tags are used in many industries. For example, an RFID tag attached to a car during production can be used to track its progress through the assembly line. In the pharmaceuticals sector, RFID-tagged drugs can be tracked through warehouses. Tags can be used in shops to expedite checkout, and to prevent theft by customers and employees. And implanting RFID microchips in livestock and pets allows for positive identification of animals.

Since RFID tags can be attached to cash, clothing, and possessions, or implanted in animals and people, the possibility of reading personally-linked information without consent has raised serious privacy concerns. These concerns resulted in standard specifications which address privacy and security issues.

How RFID helps in our warehouses

CAS deploys Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to individually bar-code and scan storage boxes across all our storage facilities. It is one of the most advanced systems to track clients’ documents and provides new levels of accuracy and efficiency far beyond standard barcode management. RFID systems support UK and EU compliance regulations for privacy, while asset tracking means faster, more cost-effective report generation. It also enables comprehensive audits to be performed in close to real-time with 99.999% accuracy, and a secure audit trail of all clients’ transactions.

RFID plays a part, therefore, in our ability to deliver such levels of service as our commitment to accessing files in live file storage, or our scan-on-demand.

If you’ve got questions about any of our services, then contact one of the team today.

About Clarks CAS

CAS provides comprehensive and secure document digitisation, information storage and facilities management services. For more than 20 years CAS have worked with NHS Trusts, Financial Services providers, and corporate and private clients. Our head office is just four miles from the City of London, supported by our advanced storage centres across the UK. CAS has an impressive array of International certifications (ISOs), which prove our compliance with the strictest national, European and international laws. They also demonstrate our commitment to provide innovative systems for security, confidentiality and quality control in keeping your files safe and well managed.