Four Common Applications for USB RFID Readers

Anyone with an application requiring a small, low cost reader would do well to consider USB RFID readers. USB readers have most of the basic capabilities of their larger counterparts, just with a little less power. If you have an application that would be great for RFID, but you want to keep the budget in check, take a look at the ThingMagic USB Pro and the Identix miniPad USB Reader. To give you an idea of a USB Reader's capabilities, I've listed four common applications below.

Race Timing

When race timers prepare for races, they obviously need readers, antennas, cables and tags for the race; however, pre-race preparations require a little something extra. When you purchase RFID chips for your race bibs, you have to encode the tags before affixing them to the bibs. Sure, hefty industrial readers play their part, but what about something smaller, more mobile, and easy to use? That’s where USB RFID readers come into play. A small USB reader will help you encode tags at a relatively fast rate all from the convenience of your desktop. On race day, since these readers are small and versatile, they are carried to races for last minute entries who need bibs encoded on the spot.

File Tracking

For those of you who don’t know much about this RFID application, wet inlays are used to track documents, files, and other records in offices. If you are in a law firm with thousands or hundreds of thousands of documents, managing a mountain of sensitive documents is quite the hassle. Instead of taking days to locate assets, simply affix your wet inlay on documents and encode it with a desktop USB RFID reader. Since this reader is extremely small and agile, it really comes in handy in the office atmosphere.

Point of Sale (POS)

Point of sale is another quick and easy use for USB RFID readers. In retail environments, a small reader is perfect to keep at the desktop or counter-top to catch reads from items leaving the store. Since USB readers are relatively inexpensive, it is easier and more cost-effective than having handheld or fixed readers on the counter which might interfere with normal, day-to-day operations. When people check out with a bunch of tagged items, the USB reader will read all of them thanks to an integrated antenna. The ThingMagic USB Pro can read up to 50 tags per second which would be more than adequate in a retail environment.

Tool Tracking

If you store your tools in one convenient place such as a tool crib, a USB reader and some RFID tags will help you keep track of your items. The tools can be wheeled up to the USB reader for easy access. USB readers typically have a decent read range generally reaching from 3 to 36 inches at full power. Also, you can develop an RFID system where employees check out tools.


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