[Webinar] 7 Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best RFID Tag for Your Application

In this roundtable discussion hosted by atlasRFIDstore and joined by Impinj, you'll have an opportunity to learn from Steven Wood and Martin Liebl, two leading experts with decades of experience in the RFID industry from atlasRFIDstore and Impinj respectively.

Rough Transcript

Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to this webinar where we will discuss the seven key factors to consider when choosing the best RFID tag for your application. My name is Suzanne Gotfryd, and I'll be your moderator for this webinar. Our two speakers are ready to go, but let's first introduce 'em.

So, we have Martin Liebl. Martin Liebl who heads up product management for RAIN, RFID tag chips and Impinj. He has 20 years of experience in semiconductors with a focus on different RFID technologies, including RAIN, RFID, NFC, and MiFare. Hey Martin, how are you doing today?

Thanks, Suzanne. Pretty good. Good to be here.

Good. Yes, great afternoon for it. And, uh, Steven Wood. Now Steven Wood is a veteran leader in the RFID industry and has helped the largest companies in the world with their RFID deployments. He now shares his experience and expertise as a leader of the Atlas RFID store sales team. Steven, good to see you as always.

How are you doing today?

I'm doing great, doing great, thank you.

Now that we have the introductions out of the way, let's jump straight into these seven factors. The following seven attributes should be considered when selecting a passive RFID. Frequency environment, mounting, surface size, attachment method, read range, memory. And then we also have some other considerations as well.

We'll throw in at the end that you might want to think about. So, let's jump into frequency. All right guys, we know that RFID tags, along with readers and antennas all have frequency ranges. Martin, what can you tell us? Like what do we need to know? How do we pick the correct range and how does this tie into our country's regulations?

Right. So, on the one side, I think it's, it's important to mention that the tag chips themselves can handle all different kind of frequency ranges. but you still have true comply to the regulations in a specific country. So, the readers that you install have to be compliant with the regulations. So, FCC for the us, ETSI for Europe, for example.

And then what you want to do actually is to see how you can tune your tag chips or your tag, including antenna to those frequencies. So now if you have the sole country where you want to operate, you can tune them to that specific region range. But if you want to have a global tag that kind of travels from one region to another, you want to make sure that the tag is also optimized for both of those regions.

Okay. That's a great start. And on this topic. So, Steven, what about if you're unsure about the frequency range to that your country operates in, how can you figure that out?

Yeah, I mean, it's one of the things that we can, we can give clients guidance on, right? it's one of the first questions that we ask when we're approaching an application is where is this going be deployed?

 but if you're curious about, uh, your specific, you know, your regions, uh, frequency range, GS1 has a, a document that outlines those regulations that, you know, we can provide as a resource that you can go to, to, that outlines that really awesomely.

Well, Martin, what happens if you don't go that GS1 website and you purchase the tags tuned to the incorrect frequency? What, what can you expect?

So, what, what you usually can expect that the, the performance isn't as good as it could be. So, you're still working, right? You're just shifting your optimal operating point, uh, into a region where you don't gain the, the most, read distance, for example. So, you're still operational, but you might not gather results that you expect.

Okay. All right. So, Steven, here's a, here's a good question for you. So, can you have an individual frequency band reader such as a reader tuned to FCC or ETSI and a global tag or vice versa? And how would that affect your system? Or would it affect your system?

Yeah, so, you know, when it comes to the, you know, you can't have, like Martin mentioned earlier, a, a global tag. You know, we have several clients that, you know, have global applications where tags are moving from continent to continent and region to region. So, in those cases, it's really important to select a, you know, a global tag. But it doesn't work the same way for readers.

You know, with readers, it is regulated since the reader is actually emitting a signal, uh, it's really important to adhere to those, uh, regulations. So, all the tag can be global. You know, the reader does have to adhere to those specific, uh, specific regulations.

Okay. All right. Go. Awesome. So, Martin, in the rare case that a user's, this might be a crazy question because I don't, I don't know a hundred percent, but that a user's ideal tag is available both in FCC frequency range, for example, and a global frequency range. Would it matter which one you chose? Like would one be better?

So, if, if the tag is available in both and, and you want to operate in either, so all things being equal and you reaching the, the desired, performance of the tag, you could choose either or based on, for example, availability or, or other parameters. But, if you really want to go to the edge of performance, you really want to be a, to be sure that, the reader system, attack system is, uh, fully aligned on each other.

Awesome. Awesome. So now we talked about how our global location affects attacks, frequency range. Let's talk about our physical environment. Steven, what type of environmental factors should we take into consideration when we're choosing the ideal RFID tag?

Yeah, I mean, we want to take into account as many factors as we can, but there's a few that, that really make a statement, right? you don't want to take into to account temperature, moisture exposure, whether the tag will experience any,  any impact, uh, you know, those are really important factors to consider. Uh, you know, especially when it, when it comes to, uh, you know, like temperature for example, TAG performance, uh, is a, can be affected by, by temperature.

But those are the, those are the main points, you know, you want to be conscious of when it, when you approach selecting an RFID tag. Okay. so back to you Steven, still, so liquids are a big factor. I know you, you kind of mentioned moisture. Mm-hmm, is there a wide selection of RFID tags that can survive moisture in the environment?

And how would I go about choosing a tag that I know could survive my environment's, watery areas?

Yeah, I mean, that's a great question. So, you know, just. Just about every other piece of technology, uh, available. You know, tags will have an IP rating too, or an ingress protection rating as well. So, you know, when it, when it comes to moisture exposure or dust exposure, you know, you're going want to look at that, that IP rating.

And if it's going to be in a really moist, maybe even submerged, you know, a tag being submerged in, in liquid, you want to make sure, uh, you're selecting a tag that's going be able to withstand that, that condition. Okay. and Martin, I know Steven mentioned high temperatures, but why are high temperatures important when it comes to a tag in general and the tax data?

Right. So, on the, on the one side of Steven mentioned, temperature is important also for the durability of the tag itself, of the material, of the connection between different components. On the other side, temperature has an impact on the data retention, as we call it, on the chip itself. So, kind of how long the data is.

Uh, reliable, readable on the, on the T chip. So, while you do have, on, on many of the new ICS measures to protect from false reading, you still want to make sure that you can read it. So if you expose a tack to high temperature, the memory kind of faster degrades in a way that the data retention time is decreased.

So you, you have an operating, distant operating temperature, uh, usually up to 85 DC for example. And those conditions, you have the specified data retention time. So if you expose the tag, and that's also the tip to higher temperature, you reduce the data retention time. So really want to make sure that if you, if you are, for example, in an environment where you have manufacturing temperatures that go beyond that, that exposure is not too long not to degrade that kind of parameter too much.

All right. And you mentioned Martin, operating temperature. So, I wanted to ask, I've heard talk about operating temperature versus like a peak temperature. So is it a general rule that if it can withstand x temperature, it can withstand it for short times, long times, whatever? Or is there kind of like a, a real big difference between those two?

 so operating temperature is really a temperature where you are working. You can read and ride tag at operating temperatures. If you go beyond that, you have kind of storage temperature where you can still store the tag or the chip for, uh, a long time without affecting functionality, but already affecting data retention.

Uh, and then there is a, there's a temperature that naturally. Starts to destroy components of the attack might be the mechanical closure, the antenna connection. So, if you have too long exposure to whatever, 200, 300 dc uh, you could start to see degradation there. Uh, all those specific tanks are also made to withstand kind of a half an hour, an hour of those kind of temperatures.

For example, if you're going to automotive industry and you're going to a paint shop, you typically have like two 50 TC for half an hour, an hour. And there are tags that also within that kind of exposure.

Awesome. Awesome. well, Steven, can you, hit on for us what kind of specifications or certifications I should look into an order for a user to find a tag that can withstand one of these issues, so mm-hmm. whether it's operating temperature, whether it's rugged, whether it's moisture, what should someone be looking for, on a tag? data sheet or page mm-hmm.

Yeah, I mean, the first thing I kind of already mentioned was the IP rating. You know, not, well, not necessarily a, uh, you know, formal certification. You know, it is an important thing to consider, but, you know, we, we have a lot of clients that are in the oil and gas industry, and in those types of environments, it's really important to have a, you know, a tag that's rated for those types of environments such as, you know, a ATEX, uh, certification, you know, and, and there's several other, other, you know, certifications like that, that are really important to consider.

And it's very dependent upon the environment that you're going to be in. But, you know, the IP rating is, is first and foremost the thing that you want to consider. Uh, and then, you know, whatever other factors your environment specifically requires for pieces of technology, uh, is going be important to consider.

Okay. All right. Well, we're not done there. I see we have some chat questions coming in for that one, but I'm going to go on to mounting surface and we'll answer those in the live q and a. So, let's dig deeper into application specifics and talk about mounting surfaces. So, every tag we mounted on a specific surface material, whether that be plastic, glass, metal, cardboard.

Martin, could you tell me a little about how a user's mounting service will impact their TAG decision?

 sure. So, if you think about, RFID as a technology, the service where you attach a tag to has an impact also on, on the characteristics of the tag. Kind of, you're shifting the, the parameters, the center frequency, the sensitivity to different points if you attach it to cardboard or glass or even metal water.

So, what you want to make sure is that. in, in the way that you use the tag, like kind of attached to a glass surface or attached to a metal surface, you're finding the op the optimal operating point, which means you want to choose a tag that's actually optimized to be put on those surfaces. So, if you don't do that, again, similar to what we said earlier, you still will have potential readability, but you degrade the performance.

So really want to make sure that the tags that you're using also fitting the surface and the environment that you put them on. Okay. so Steven, is each tag designed for a certain surface or are a lot of tags just designed for kind of some broad surfaces and then we have some, some key specific tags optimized for kind of like what Martin said?

Mm-hmm. like optimized for glass or. Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, you kind of have what, you know, I consider a consumable tag that's really designed for non-metal surfaces, you know, sinking, you know, cardboard, wood, plastic, things like that. Uh, that really just work on those types of materials, when you, uh, move to a metal surface, it's really important to, uh, select an on metal tag.

You know, one that's specific for, you know, that that metal surface and usually an on metal tag is also suitable for, you know, like a liquid, uh, liquid containing containers, right? You know, like a plastic container or something along those lines. Usually work fairly well, you know, like a on metal label or something along those lines.

 and then there's also tags that would be considered, you know, universal to a degree. Like they do, they do perform differently on different surfaces, but they're usually applicable for, you know, everything from, you know, a, a plastic surface to glass to metal. Uh, and, you know, those tags work really well for asset tagging.

You know, if you're trying to tag a bunch of IT assets and you have, you know, PCs with metal shells or plastic shells or, or keyboards and monitors and things like that, those tags are really useful for those use cases. Uh, it really helps narrow down the selection to a. You know, a singular tag that, that could perform potentially across those, uh, several different surface types.

Okay. now Martin, and I know Steven kind of talked on this a little bit, but we talked a lot about optimized. So I know there are a lot of tags out there optimized for metal, for glass. Can you tell us why those tags should only be on the metals that they're op the materials that they're optimized for?

So, for instance, why would I not use a metal mail tag if I have a bunch of metal equipment, but I also have a piece of cardboard? Why should I not use my metal mail tags that I already have in stock, whatever on my piece of card cardboard? So, I think there are two elements of it on, on one side and on metal tag uses more, materials that are actually making it work on metal, which also makes them more expensive than, than a normal tag that you put on a cardboard or on a label, on a hang tag for example.

So that, that's probably the most, important factor, but also the performance.  difference, I think is, is the other one. reflecting to what Steven said before, that there are universal tags that you can put on different materials. what I, what we also actually implement, in, in the new generations of tag chips are features like, the impinging auto, which is actually sensing kind of the environment, sensing the, the, the surface that you put the tag on and it's tuning itself to, to an optimal, operating point again.

So regardless if you put it on cardboard or on a jeans or uh, on plastic, it'll always try to optimize the operating point. It can do magic, but it can help you quite a bit to, to be more universal in the environment that you're. I mean, it kind of sounds like magic though, I need to be honest. just a little bit too meaning sometimes.

So, what, uh, just hitting on that last point, what kind of, what ICs do y'all have that have that auto team feature? That sounds super cool, but I know a lot of people out there might want, you know, a tag that can sense that. What can you recommend from, uh, from y'all's ICs? So we had it on previous generations as well, but the whole mantra, R six and R six P family had it already.

And the Impinj M 700 series of chips all have the autotune already in enhanced, variant implemented. Awesome. Well, we know where to get it now. All right, Steven, kind of what, uh, Martin said about materials Yeah. How do tags optimize for certain materials? So, like metal mount tags, compare cost-wise to just a general wet inlay.

Yeah, I mean, obviously with a non-metal tag, I mean, it's additional material, right? And mm-hmm. because of the additional material have additional cost. But, you know, in comparing what I would characterize as, you know, like I mentioned earlier, a consumable tag that we're putting on, you know, a, uh, cardboard packaging that we're, we're sending to a, to a retailer or something along those lines, uh, we're using, you know, millions of tags a year.

You know that that tag cost can be anywhere from, you know, 7 cents up to 20 cents per tag. You know, in some cases, in special case, maybe lower than that. Again, it depends on the material. you know, an on metal tag, I would say that they, you know, a pretty good range would be, you know, kind of start at a dollar, uh, and they, they move upwards towards, you know, as much as $20, depending upon what the requirements of the application are.

And another really important factor to consider when it comes to tag cost is volume. Uh, I mean, there's significant quantities of scale that we can take advantage of. Uh, when it comes to tag volume and, and, you know, and as, as the price relates to that. Awesome. All right, so now that we understand mounting surface, let's jump to fact number four, which is size.

So, when determining the ideal size for our RFID tag back to you, Steven. Mm-hmm, what should we consider? Yeah, I mean the, the size, you know, like the, the mounting surface, like how much area you have to mount the tag is going play a role. Mm-hmm. Yeah. you know, if you have a smaller surface area, you may have to go with a smaller tag.

 but uh, you know, and there's, there's factors to consider there too. The smaller the tag, the, you know, the less read ranger tip if you're going get. but you know, that will also help guide us towards making recommendations for tags, you know, guide, guide us and our, our, our team to give, you know, provide recommendations that are going provide you with the best performance.

Uh, kind of pack the best punch. Based, you know, regardless of their, their size, if that makes sense. So, you know, that's a, you know, important factor to consider is the size of the tag and how the range is going relate. Okay. Well, I have an IC question for the guy that knows the magic. how can the newer kind of more sensitive ICs combat the loss of range for a smaller tag?

And kind of to what extent can we see, I mean, if you have a really small, you know, space for tag, a really small tag, how can that sensitive IC kind of combat that, that range loss? so if you go smaller with a tag, like it's, if it's kind of, uh, if you have solar panel, a big one, you, you can get a lot of energy out of that solar panel.

If you're a small one, it's, it's usually less energy that you can grow from that. But also on the other side, if you compare, previous generations of T chip with newer ones, it's kind of comparing it between the light bulb and the L E D. So, it's really, magnitudes of power that you less required to light up the L led D than, than the light bulb.

So, if you compare M 700 tag chip, to a previous generation, we are measuring the sensitivity in DBm. And so we are, we, we were going from minus 21 dBm to minus 24 dBm. So it's just a number of three, but in fact it's a doubling, the, the operating distance potentially, uh, from one generation to the other.

So, and, and by doing that you can also see that if you shrink the tax size, shrink the antenna size while getting onboard a higher sensitivity chip, you can kind of compensate the read loss with that. Yeah, and kind of like I said, ear or before we were on this webinar, three dBm is actually such a big thing.

I mean, it's double everything. Mm-hmm. So even though three dBm seems like a small amount from going to negative 21 to negative 24, it's a huge. A huge impact actually. So, alright, I'm going move on to attachment method. now that we're more familiar with how an object's mounting surface affects choosing a tag and tag performance, let's talk about how we can properly attach RFID tags to these objects.

Mm-hmm. Martin, can you tell us what are some considerations for determining the best attachment method? So I think the use case, itself often dictates, uh, how you want attach attack. So, if you look into apparel, footwear, the tax that usually had, that you have on there was, uh, hang tags as a price tag, for example.

So it's simply having a paper within lane site, to kind of attach to a tag that you can also rip it off afterwards. other applications, industrial are kind of amounting it more durable to an item, because simply the environmental conditions out there. More difficult, or you still want to have the tag staying on the item, uh, for longer or even lifetime of attack.

So that kind of trend we also see today in, in other industries where embedding of tags also gets very popular in order to leverage the, the investments that you're already doing when RFID tags and readers, beyond, for example, an inventory use case. So, if you want to use that beyond that, you want to see that the tags are also staying with the item for a longer period.

Yeah. Kind of more on the lifespan of the object. Exactly. Yeah. all right. So, Steven, mm-hmm, what, how does the material and the shape of the object kind of dictate the attachment method? Because I know that we talked about material before mounting surface. How does that kind of stuff dictate how you can actually attach the tag?

Yeah, I mean, so. With the majority of applications by far and away in terms of just sheer volume of RFID tag, most of them are using a pressure sensitive adhesive. They're like a, mm-hmm., you know, like an envelope label, right? You peel 'em off a reel and you stick 'em on a package, and you're either doing that manually or with an auto applicator or something along those lines.

So, you know, that's really applicable for, you know, again, like a, you know, cardboard packaging or, uh, you know, a plastic surface, uh, or something along those lines, right? you know, but if it's a more, uh, sort of porous surface, right? Mm-hmm. Like a wood or, uh, you know, something along those lines, you may have to use, uh, a screw, right?

Or, you know, something that's really going to, to penetrate that surface. Uh, in other cases, you may have to use like an epoxy, right? Mm-hmm, if you're attaching a tag to a smooth metal surface, right, you'll, you'll want to, you know, potentially use an epoxy, especially if it's going be exposed to, uh, impact or higher temperatures.

And then also, I mean, there's, there's plenty of applications where a, you know, an industrial adhesive, like a 3M adhesive works really, really well, uh, to, uh, adhere that tag over the long term. So, uh, I mean, rivets, rivets are really popular too, like a thin plastic or metal surface that you're trying to attach that tag a rivet works really well too, and it's really a, a really efficient method of attaching, uh, you know, a tag, uh, really durable, efficient method of attaching a tag in a short period.

Okay. Awesome. So let's move on to one of the most popular factors to consider when choosing an RFID tag read range. I know there are a lot of factors that affect a tags read range, for instance, antenna gain, reader trans power. But let's walk through the, some of the ones that are directly correlated with the RFID tag.

 so Martin, I know that Steven talked a little bit about size, but can you quickly talk about that point again since it's such a large factor in determining read range? Sure. So, as I mentioned before, you can, you can think about the size of a tag being, like a sponge. Steven, thanks for the analogy from yesterday.

Yeah, sure. So the bigger the sponge, the more energy you can, include in there. And then also for pass forwards to, to the tag chip. So, if you have a large tax size kind of, uh, you can get a more operating list and more rearrange from that. Smaller, sizes would, therefore correlate to a shorter read range.

But as mentioned before, there are ways to, to kind of compensate it. If you have a higher sensitive tag chip, you can kind of compensate part of, making tag smaller. so why, why small tag is anyway desirable is, because it also correlates to, to simply cost because it's less material for the antenna and therefore also, a less costly, tag overall.

Mm-hmm. Okay. Awesome. So Steven, if what, if you're testing and receive a less than optimal rearrange, uh, what are some things you consider about the placement of the tag, that might impact that re distance? Yeah, I mean the, the placement of the tag is an important factor. you know, especially if you're tagging, uh, you know, say a uh, uh, You know, liquid contain, uh, containers with liquid inside it.

And like, you'll be, look, you, you really want to tag in an airspace where, where there's, you know, kind of removing the tag as far away from the liquid as possible, or potentially metal surface if it's just a, you know, a non-metal tag. you know, so like the placement's really, really important. But you know, like if, if you're able to use a bigger tag, use a bigger tag.

But, you know, there's, there's other factors too. Like you mentioned Sue's, you know, a higher gain antenna, increasing the transmit power. you know, looking at your antenna design, you know, like the antenna design of the inlay. There's a lot of performance that you might be able to gain by using a different size or shape antenna.

Like some tags are specified for item level tagging, you know, that are mm-hmm. that work really well in a dense environment. You know, like say you're, you know, pushing 500 tags through a, through a dock door and you want a hundred percent read rate, well, you know, you're only getting 80%. Well maybe, you know, like we need to.

you know, look at a different tag type, you know? Mm-hmm. Something that specified for something along those lines. All right. yeah, those are all good things. And, and what if those work too Well, Martin, what about getting too much rearrange, because these chips are so sensitive now, is that even, is too much rearrange a possibility?

And, uh, what steps could you take to actually control that reran? So I think it, it is an actual possibility that you want to read less text than, than, uh, than you actually get on, uh, into the reader field. Mm-hmm. so, the one side you can play around with the, the tax size itself. So, say you really do not need at all that kind of reran on the other side.

There are also ways on the, on the reader's side to contain the, the reading, volume if you wish. To, to only read the style tax. The other, the other thing that you can do is actually leverage, functionalities features from, the Chan two V two protocol to only this, uh, select, the tag that you really want to read based on the content.

Okay. All right. Awesome. alright. Right. Well onto our seventh Key factor to consider is flying time is actually flying by. It's kind of crazy. let's take a look at memory. So now everybody knows that each R P D tag has an integrated circuit and within that integrated circuit is the tag's memory. So, Martin, back to you.

What would you say is the average memory size for an R F RFID tag? And how would users know that they need more than average? So the, the average is around 96 to 1 28. Bit of memory. notably for everybody new tomorrow 30, we're not talking about bites, megabytes, terabyte by only bits. so very little

We really want to make sure to keep the memory requirement and the error requirements on the, on the chips, themselves low. So the 96 to 1 28 bit are actually perfectly fitting for numbering systems from GS1, for example, that are, numbering items, uh, according to manufacturer. the item identify itself, but also leveraging a serial number that's part of the S GT as it's called a serialized item identification number.

So, the those 96 to 1 28 bits are actually the most prevalent today. but they're also, and we are also in portfolio tax that have. much more than that kind of in the kilobit range of, of memory. And those are usually used when you want to have memory that's also available offline if you wish.

So with the 96 1 28 bit, you go online and have an online database that gets you the most important properties of the item. Mm-hmm. if you have more memory, you can store batch number, expiry dates, but also manufacturing data that should travel with the item on the tech itself. Yeah. So Steven, can you tell us a little bit more about that decision?

Mm-hmm. To, and I like the way you put it, Martin, online, offline. Mm-hmm. what, what really, what factors should users take into consideration when they decide to either encode that full data and use that kill API, which would be crazy mm-hmm, or do association to a database, like what are, what are some other factors and what applications typically make one decision or the other?

Yeah. I mean, I would say the first thing is just the amount of data and even the data format, but the amount of data is really going to dictate, you know, whether that's plausible or not. I mean, we're talking about a very, very, uh, small amount of data. So, you know, in most cases we're programming a unique ID to that RFID.

And associating that with information in a database. So when you read the RFID tags and your software's configured to query that database, when it does so, like you're, you're looking at information that's relevant to your, your business and, and helps you make business decisions because all that data is associated with, you know, an, you know, an asset id, you know, a, a lifetime of a, of a product like maintenance records and things like that.

 can I, can I cut in for a second? Sure. I have a good metaphor for that actually saw. Yeah. So a lot of people worry that people are going to read the tag and get the data off of it and that it's going hurt something somehow. But if you think of a tag having that number, it's almost like a license plate.

Mm-hmm. So you see people driving all the time with license plate, but you don't know that that number correlates to John Smith. Birmingham, blah, blah, blah. Mm-hmm, like, there's a database that associates those two things. So if you're just looking at that license plate on a daily basis, you have no idea what those numbers mean.

And, and that correlates back to the EPC number. Is that, I mean, is that a Yeah, that's a really good analogy. I heard that metaphor. The other I thought was great. Yeah, no, that's a really good analogy. So, yeah, and it just allows you to, you know, give a digital identity to, you know, that item, that asset, right?

Yeah. And, and store so much more information in, you know, in a database and, and, you know, build a UI on top of that that's really useful. Mm-hmm. that helps you, you know, pull reports and, uh, you know, ad hoc reporting and helps you make business decisions based on the, the information that's really relevant to you.

You know, in the other case, like, like we work with, uh, several automotive manufacturers that, you know, need data to pass from, you know, a tier three to maybe a tier two supplier or something along those lines. And, you know, that's where it's really important to have that, you know, some data offline. So when tier three encodes, the tag, tier two knows what that item is, when it was manufactured, what line it was manufactured on, what date it was manufactured on.

So, if there was a quality issue or something along those lines, they'd be able to track it down. And, and instead of, uh, you know, spending a tremendous amount of time on identifying where that error could have happened, they can really pinpoint, okay, this is the batch where the error was. And, uh, identify the error quickly, uh, more quickly than, you know, in the past.

Uh, and just reduce the investment that they're, they're spending on, on, on things like that. So that would be an example of when you might want to store that data offline. Another example would be in like the aerospace, uh, industry where, you know, you're tagging specific items that. have really, you know, like data that's going from airport to airport and, and uh, uh, you know, country to country.

And it's really important to have that data and a standard that, you know, several different, uh, companies are going to be able to read and understand. Mm-hmm. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense too. all right, Martin, you know, I'm going ask you this question, , how does a user's industry affect the memory type and size they choose?

 and I know that kind of has to do back with the iso numbering schemes and stuff like that. So if you're in a certain industry, I know I've seen some chat people coming through, I'm in this industry, I'm in this industry. How would your memory type and your size kind of play a part into, into your industry with that?

 I think it's, it's going back to, what Steven reflected on. It's kind of, uh, the online offline use of data, how you want to trans to, to reflect, Item level information on the tech or in the database? I'm, I'm not sure if it's really like unique per industry. I think there are simply different, implementations or possibilities, how complicated IT systems are for the one or the other industry.

Do you need to pass along, attack along a value chain that has different IT systems? So they are probably not even able to access the same databases, so you need to pass on information actually. So I think there are a lot of considerations on the content itself, based on the use case and the capabilities in your IT systems on, on the other side, I think the license plate that you mentioned, is definitely also something where you are abstracting, the identifier to, to a maxim right?

You only have a number, uh, on there, which does not, reflect any item level information, um mm-hmm. So these, these are things that we see coming up, but it, it requires a lot of integration into, into IT systems. Yeah, that's a great answer. alright, so now that we have gone through the top seven key factors for consideration when choosing an RFID tag, we're going quickly touch on a few factors that a user might consider in a specific application or a specific environment.

So, one example of this is privacy. Martin, can you take us through when privacy would be needed to be taken into consideration when choosing your TAG and what kind of features users can look for on RFID tags that might address that need? I think you, you both touched on it before, right? The more data you have on the tag, the more privacy becomes a concern for, for consumers mm-hmm.

In general. Yeah. Uh, where, you don't want to be identified by, uh, the tags that you have on, on you. If, if you are talking about. Embedded tagging as a trend. The tag would stay on the item on the product for a lifetime so somebody could go along and read your tags. And an actual, uh, topic in the industry and in certain regions, Europe has with the GDPR, a regulation, towards, privacy.

And it's very strict in what you can and should do, uh, with data. So, on the one side, they tend to be two protocol already incorporate some features, uh, under the untraceable command, which makes the tag either readable from a very short distance or it can hide certain amount later. Uh, what we started to implement also with the Impinj M 700 tag chip series is a feature that we call protected mode and the kind of points in the direction to say you can actually make the tag invisible, kind of in a Kindle kill state.

But you can also reactivate it with a password again in order to use it later on, kind of if, if you have a second life foot, the tag, in, in a scenario where in future you could tag products, uh, with a tag, embed tag into the product, you sell it and you deactivate it. So anybody who is walking around with a product wouldn't be able to be identified, but if you bring back the product into a store, they could reactivate it again with a password and, uh, do for example, warranty returns or simple product returns based on that tag identifier.

Yeah. And you told us, or talked a little bit about that yesterday and I thought that was so cool. And I got home and I thought, , it's almost like we had to kill command, but now we have the protective modes, like a fake, your own death command. But then , I can come, I can make you come back.

 alright, Steven, uh, well thank you for that. I'm privacy. Uh, Steven, what about the ability for an RFID tag to be custom encoded or printed on mm-hmm.  how common is that requirement and what type of applications or use cases are, do you typically see needing that? Yeah, I mean the case of, you know, class one, gen two, UHF tag, you know, chips and tags, you notice it's, You know, very possible to program specific data to those tags.

And, you know, in, in, you know, in years past, you know, many tag manufacturers provided their inlays with unique IDs, which, uh, you know, was sufficient in a lot of cases. You know, you received the tag you, you already have. You need, you need unique ID on the tag. However, you know, more, more often, and almost just about every, you know, order we help clients with.

Now they want specific encoded data on those tags so they are confident those tags belong to them, which is really where the GS1 standard is playing. A significant role here, uh, allows, allows a, uh, you know, a company or you know, a company's customers to identify that product as being their product, using their, you know, their company prefix and their style numbers and serial numbers all contained on that tag.

 So that's really becoming very important, especially with, uh, rollouts from, you know, Walmart and, and, uh, you know, other retailers that are following their lead is it's really important to have specific data that pertains to specific companies and manufacturers mm-hmm. so they can identify that product just by reading the tag.

So, it is, it's, like I said, it's a, it is very common in almost every, every customer we help someone with these days is, is requiring some type of encoding on their tags. Okay. alright, I'm going fit a real fast one in, Martin, relating back to application tag application features. Another question we get a lot about is about using tags for product authentication.

Uh, if I was going use a tag, I was looking for a tag for use for authentication. What are some things to consider, that, that you know of? . So, I think there are, there are different kind of, uh, authentications, historically and the future, or in the current space. So one side, having an RFID tag on a product already gives you a new layer of authentication if you wish.

Mm-hmm, right? Because it's, it's like having a product without and having a product with authentication. on the other side, if you look into other RFID, technologies in the past, that were starting very much like RAIN, RFID, was starting, with having just an identification number on it.

 many of those move to implementations that have actually cryptographic authentication on it because, it's simply more secure. And, and you do see if, if the valued interest is high enough, you will see someone, uh, copying tag. Uh, and, and also that kind of, undermining the authentication. So, what we brought out last year is, the Impinj authenticity solution engine, featuring also an Impinj M 7 75 tag chip that can leverage this cryptographic authentication.

So it's, it's combining a set of solutions, including the tap chip, including a backend service to have a more secure way of authenticating products. So we're working together with partners who actually then hold this item level database. This is something that we don't do. We only do the, the, the, the technology part, if you wish the authentication part and other partners are already hosting and, and handling item level databases for, for customers.

Awesome. Well, I, I know that there are some people out there. Did you want to clone tags? I had a question the other day, on our, one of our videos asking if I could help somebody get the, The information on the A cup at Universal Studio so they can get free refills from no one. So, there are definitely some people out there that need that, you know,

So. Alright, so that's it. before we jump into our live q and a, I just want to mention we have so many great resources for you guys to learn more about these Topics, and more on our website, which is atlas RFID store.com, under learn and the top menu bar. And if you're ready to start testing RFIDs, remember to check out our Impinj RFID sample pack, which can be used to test a variety of RFID tags for your application or create a custom sample pack from with one of our experts anytime in the chat feature.

So with that, let's go ahead and jump directly into our live q and a. I've seen a ton of questions coming in. If you have questions now for Martin, Steven, go ahead and send it in. we already have a bunch of questions in the queue, but if we happen not to get your question, we'll respond individually via email in the next few days.

So, I am going. Go straight into our q and a question. all right, so we have our first one, which is, if I'm only operating in an FCC environment, is it better to use a tag that is specifically manufactured for the FCC range? That's kind of kind of what the con we talked about earlier. Martin, can you give us a, answer for this, this person?

Sure. Uh, I think that the straightforward answer is yes. Uh, I would do so because you can optimize the tag better, the antenna better, uh, if you are optimizing it for a single frequency pack. Awesome. and this might be a good one for you too. Uh, what is the expected lifespan of the tag? A I think that's a, you're like that depends.

It depends. It really does. so, there is, there is, there are multiple components to that. On the one side we talked about data retention time, kind of how long data is, , uh, still on the tag and readable. Mm-hmm, uh, and this usually goes from 10 years or longer if you go to industrial applications. So that's, that's the, the kind of the IC point of view, but then you also have for sure the mechanic point of view after the antenna connection to the tag.

Mm-hmm. chip, but also the, the, the whole, tag lifetime, it's up. So I think it's, uh, it's a depends question and I think it's, it's best to, to understand also, uh, the overall, tag lifespan itself. Okay. all right. So, from a consumables product perspective, what concerns or recommendations are there for applying tags to flexible polyfill packaging?

Steven, do you know much about flexible, flexible polyfill packaging? Well, I mean, I think that yes, actually, yes. So like we've kind of had a lot of this, uh, lately with, uh, packaging suppliers for, You know, uh, retail stores like Walmart and, uh, Dillard and Nordstroms and, and, uh, others. Uh, I mean, like, it, it's really important to consider the type of adhesive that you're using.

 you know, sometimes that film can be, uh, a little, you know, stretchy, if you will. And like that'll affect the, how well the, the tag adheres to that, uh, to that material. Uh, we also have concerns about, uh, recycling that material. Right? And, you know, whether or not RFID tags are recyclable. Uh, you know, and since they have a, you know, a metal antenna, they're not recyclable with, you know, plastic, if you will.

So, uh, you know, with those, those customers, we usually work with them on a removable adhesive so they can apply the tag, but in order to recycle that, they can remove the tag and still recycle the, the plastic. But the tag is definitely, uh, you know, adhere to that material well. but the flexibility is one thing that we would need to consider when we select that adhesive.

Okay. Yeah. I like the removable adhesive factor. Mm-hmm. all right, so this is a good question. Maybe I'll get both of your insights on this. Uh, so if you have to reduce the read range of the tag, what would be the first thing you would modify? Would it be reader sensitivity, reader power tag, model size?

 this person only wants to know the first answer, so maybe I'll get it from Steven and then Martin . Well, I mean, I mean, that's a good question. I mean, there's so many and like we didn't, we didn't really have enough time today to cover this, know, but there's so many factors that affect it. It's hard to answer it with just one hand.

I know, but, but I would start with the reader transmit power. So yeah, just, you know, turning the volume down. But I think it's really important to cover the, the other factors really quickly, if I can, you know, uh, you know, you can reduce the transmit power. You can, if you're still getting too much range, you know, you can try a different tag type.

And one of the things that we can really help you with is, is, you know, we never recommend just a single tag when we're starting a project. Yeah. We recommend an assortment of tags that you can test to make sure you select the one that's optimal for your application. So, so the type of tag is, is the other factor, or the size of the tag.

Right? Right. And then also the antenna. So, like you, there's, there's tons and tons of different types of antenna. You only want one then. Well, I know, but it's really important to cover these things. It's really important. So, but the antenna gain, you know, like if you're using a really high gain antenna Yeah.

You know, and you're reading too many, you know, we can help you with a lower gain antenna, more mid-range antenna. Uh, and then the last factor is, you know, there's, there's, there's things that you can do to filter out tag reads that are just barely showing up. You know, like, yeah, disqualified those tag reads because they're just barely showing up.

They're not likely not in range and not within the area that you're willing to read. Sorry, I know that was more than one, but I That's okay. It's just really important factors. We'll see. We'll see. Martin, what do you, what do you say? Do you, are you, are you going go with Ditto on his answer or? I, I think Stephen covered it all.

I couldn't come up with something else. All right. All right. so, I have a, I have a question for you, Martin. Now, so someone wants to know why do mount on metal tags work better on metallic surfaces. So, kind of like, I guess the, the background of mm-hmm. of how, so they, they actually have incorporated different materials.

Inside the tag itself to help shielding mm-hmm. and focusing kind of the, the, the electro electric field onto the tag antenna itself. Okay. Awesome. all right, so Steven, here's one for you. Mm-hmm. for the fashion industry. Mm-hmm., which we're seeing a lot of stuff in retail right now. Yeah. If we want RFID attached inside of our garments, how small can they be and are the tags washable?

Yeah, I mean, it's definitely possible, and I mean, depends on the, the item type and just how small we're talking, right? Yeah. We do have to have enough area to, you know, make sure the tag's effective, right? Mm-hmm, you know, make sure we can have enough antenna surface area, so it functions. but we have worked with clients in the past, uh, that, you know, use a, You know, an inlay from, you know, an Impinj partner in our partner like Avery Dennison, where it's small enough to actually embed behind a logo, you know, where it's, yeah, you apply the tag and then, you know, stitch the logo around, uh, the tag.

So, it's embeddable in that product. In other cases, we've worked with clients that, you know, actually have a RFID tag and the tag of the, uh, you know, the, the neck tag on the, on the garment. Yeah. Uh, so it is, it is possible. It's very, very possible. Uh, sometimes we have to get a little creative with the attachment method, um mm-hmm.

but, uh, I mean there's, there's several small tag types out there that would, you know, likely fund function, but it's just important to keep in mind if it's a really small tag, it's going be, you know, a really small read range usually. Yeah. It probably depends on how many times they want to wash it too. I mean, are they talking one wash and then it goes on the floor, or are they talking like a wash, like a rental fashion company?

Yeah, and I mean, it comes in and it gets washed everywhere. Yeah, that's exactly right. You know, like there are tags that are more durable that can withstand up mm-hmm. to like 200 wash cycles. Mm-hmm. and, you know, the like repeated, you know, temperature exposure in a wash washer or dryer that are, you know, work really well for.

 you know, we see them in a lot, I see them a lot with, you know, with, with linens like in hotels, uh, and towels for, for gyms. But also,  you know, in the, the, uh, clothing rental industry where there's a tag embedded in the garment, it goes to the client, uh, and the client where's it for as long as they want and then, then they ship it back and it ships back and all watered up in a box.

But they sent it three , sent it through a portal, and it's like, okay, we got it back. You know, so, yeah. Uh, so yeah, there's, there's a few different ways that, that, that's possible. All right. Awesome. So, I've got one another metal question for Martin. when working with on metal tags, do you need to consider the type of metal.

That's a good question. I know, I know. I haven't thought about that. Uh, Steve, may I pass it on to you? Maybe you know that better. Yeah, I mean, that's a really good question. I, I mean, I don't, I don't, I have, I don't think so, like the placement of the tag, and usually you can find this on a tag data sheet or we can learn it from a tag, you know, tag manufacturer, you know, you know, manufacturer that's taking an Impinj chip and putting it on a, on an inlay or, you know, within a on metal tag.

But usually they do have some guidelines on, you know, attaching that tag to that surface. And sometimes it's, you know, uh, attaching it in such a way so there's more surface area on the right side of the tag versus the left side of the tag. But if it's, you know, if it's a metal, you know, material, aluminum steel, whatever it may be, yeah.

Uh, it's generally going to perform the same in my experience. I mean, there might be some like super minor differences, but they're usually, you know, negligible. Yeah. I've never thought about that before in my life, so I'm like, wait. Yeah. I have no clue. all right, so this one can be for Martin. I, I think this might be a no, but do you know of any tags that can be turned on and off while mounted?

So, it's already mounted on a piece of equipment. Can you turn it on and off? Turn it on and off in, let me answer it how I would answer it. Impinj protected mode can kind of turn a tag on and off. yeah. Or off and on if you wish. So, make it invisible and visible again. So, if that answers the question.

Other than that, so that, that would be the only way that I would need to turn tags off and on. I think so too. And with passive tags, it's not like they're always on, like an active tag would be so they're not broadcasting a signal constantly. If, if someone's worried about. You know, RF waves, that's not going be a problem unless you're trying to read it.

Mm-hmm. but yeah, that protected mode, that's exactly what I would suggest. Yeah. Mm-hmm. all right. So I don't really know who this one would go to, so feel free to download, throw it up there. Yeah. so we have this client, this person has an x-ray to monitor pallets in their facility, which X-rays are awesome.

Mm-hmm, what is the recommended tags to use, and I guess she's saying, you know, show telling us your, her setup. She's monitoring pallets and do the orientation of the tags matter? Uh, the x-rays are installed on the ceiling and pallets are made of PVC. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm, let me try maybe an, an part of the answer.

 so the, the orientation of a tag, if you wish, has also an impact on reading, reading distance, so, mm-hmm, if you look at a tag from one side or 90 degrees, rotated, you could get a very good reading distance and, and then probably not at all. but there are antenna designs out there that are capable to kind of have a, a globe shape of reading distance.

Mm-hmm. So you have the, the same reading distance from any angle that you approach the tag. You are kind of a little bit compromising, maximum reading distance by omni directionality. But it can help in an environment like that where you have a fixed reader infrastructure and you're not walking around and doing inventory from different sites, uh, in, in a shop floor, but you really are stuck to the direction of the, the tech on the pallet and the reader that's mounted somewhere.

Uh, and you may want to have that omnidirectional, reading capability on the tag in order to, to really hit all of them. And there's some good omnidirectional tags out there too. Yeah. that are also, called dual dye pool tags. Uh, I know we have a few on our website that are great. Mm-hmm. Steven, do you want to talk to, I guess she did mention also that they've got PVC mm-hmm.

 and they've got X-rays. So do you want to talk to about, since Martin kind of covered the tag and the orientation, you want to talk a little bit about, that situation? Anything you suggest? Yeah. I mean, the material isn't challenging, I don't think the material's, the issue. Okay. you know, it could be like if there's a high, you know, a high amount of static electricity, it could affect it.

But I don't, I don't, I don't think so, but I think that, you know, in my experience, uh, customers using, you know, the X-ray or the expand, you know, that, that, uh, offers, you know, a, you know, a gateway type read zone. Mm-hmm, uh, the orientation and sensitive tags have been the way to go. I mean, if it's possible to, if, if orientation sensitive tags, like the dual dipole tags are not an option, you know, maybe, maybe just a bigger tag, if that's possible.

Yeah. You know, like that will help too. Okay. And then another important thing to consider is the, the tag density. If they're just, if they're stacked in there, there's a possibility you could have tag shadowing, you know, like kind of one tag stacked on top of another mm-hmm, if it's really, really dense.

So, in cases like that, you know, it may require adjusting the hardware placement, you know, where the kind of, where the, the x-ray is, like how far off the floor it is, uh, you know, things like that, that, that are really important to consider. Okay. just quickly, alright. You mentioned Yeah. The dual tax form omnidirectional reading mm-hmm.

 what we actually started to, to, also have in the portfolio is, reference antenna designs for omnidirectional reading for single dipole antenna. So leveraging behind sensitivity, uh, of the 700 family you can use. now the single dipole as well for omnidirectional reading. So, it's, I did not know that coming.

I guess. Oh, awesome. That's great. Yeah. I can't wait. That's awesome. Mm-hmm. well we got an inside scoop now, so everybody in the audience they know now. all right, so we have an attach a method question. for either of you. We have some instances where we need to use epoxy on our RFID tags. How can we approve our read rates in these scenarios?

I'm guessing they're not getting the read rates they wanted to, and, and they're maybe thinking that they're attachment Methodist to blame. Yeah. Is that a problem when you think epoxy could be a problem? I can take a stab at this one. I mean, it, it's a possibility. You know, normally what we will, what we'll encourage customers to, to do when they're approving, you know, testing their tags is use, you know, just for the sake of placement.

If possible, use something like a. a, uh, double-sided tape so you can get the tag, you know, up against that metal surface mm-hmm, so you can effectively test it, you know, you're testing, you know, a bunch of different options, you know. Right. And, and it kind of helps you narrow it down to the ones that are performing best and then move to like kind of more permanent attachment method.

Uh, so you don't have to just chip all those tags off of that surface. But, you know, the thickness of the epoxy could be a factor, you know, if there's a lot of epoxy between the tag and the surface. Mm-hmm, it could be a factor. Sometimes the metal, like the, if it's optimized for a metal surface, it's going perform better when it's touching that metal surface.

and again, you know, like a lot of tags that, you know, are epoxy type tags are relatively smaller. Mm-hmm, you know, like the ceramic type construction tags are smaller, so sometimes the range isn't as good as what you'd see from other, you know, other on metal tags. Yeah. And I think what you said, like getting a good baseline, like maybe just put it on the, the, the product or whatever, don't use the epoxy and kind of get a baseline for what you can get without the epoxy.

Mm-hmm. And then try to figure out maybe is the epoxy the issue. Yeah. And then I've also, and like, it's really important, like there are some metal based epoxies out there, you know? Oh, they have, have, uh, you know, like metal chips in 'em, right? Mm-hmm. So you want to make sure you're using a man, not, forgive me, this may not be the right term, but a polymer based epoxy, uh, if it's, if it's got metal reinforcement, that could definitely affect it.

You know, like you're throwing something at the tag that it's not expecting. So it'll really have an effect on performance. All right. Well, we, I mean, we only have one minute left. Can I throw another quick question here? someone asks what is kind of generic, but I guess just throw out your guesses.

What's the best tag for it? Gear. I have this one. Okay. Okay. Go, go. It's, it's, it's, it's the, uh, It's the steel wave micro two, which uses the Impinj Monza. Right now we still have some with the Monza four qt mm-hmm, but it's transitioning to, uh, the new M seven series soon. Uh, and then also the silver line blades, which uh, use the Monza Seven series chips.

So those are, those are our go-to tags for IT assets. Well, thank you guys. Martin, anything to add in?

No, just a very, very great quick question in answer. Yeah, yeah, it really was. Yeah, I was just trying to throw it in there. Yeah. Alright, so if we didn't get to your question, we will email you and we will answer your question.

I mean, all these questions are important. I, I didn't even get to pick through 'em, I just had to, because there's like already like four or five pages worth. So, thank you. So, thank you so much, Martin. Thank you so much, Steven. Of course. This has been amazing. I know I've learned a lot, and I, I bet some people have here too.

Thank you for everybody for joining us. Hopefully we can do another one of these soon. And we just, we really appreciate every single person in here. Uh, if you need any guidance or feedback, our website, Impinj’s website too. And I think we have a handout on, uh, in an email going out after this as well.

So, stay tuned for that. And, uh, just let us know if you have anything else that y'all, uh, have questions about. Absolutely. All right, thanks. Bye guys.