Gather Data With RFID - People Tracking
RFID can be used to gather data about people and then used to make informed decisions. If a person wears an RFID tag (such as on a bib, lanyard, badge, or wristband) and is within range of the intended RFID system, the RFID tag will be read and recorded. These reads are used for a variety of purposes depending on the system – to locate or track individuals, record timestamp associated with locations, or infer a person’s interest in a specific area, such as with an attendee visiting a certain location at a trade show.
If you would like to learn more about Gathering Data with RFID in general, click on the link below. If this is your first time learning about RFID, or if you need a refresher, checkout our Beginner’s Guide to RFID.
People Tracking Examples
Runner #8958 completed Mile 1 in 00:11:08.
Attendee #9759 stayed in booth #789 for 00:14:47.
Student #9586739 attended Class X on 08/17/2020.
How is RFID Used for Gathering Data via People?
Typically, an RFID tag is attached to a person via a lanyard, wristband, bib, key fob, or badge and the person is asked to wear the tag while within the confines of the RFID deployment, which could be a building, race track, arena, or conference center.
RFID hardware is set up at specific places or intervals, and, when the RFID tag is read, the data is recorded and time stamped. When the data is collected, software is used to turn this data into meaningful information such as race lap time or attendance records.
Common Misconceptions About ‘Tracking People’
The phrase ‘tracking people’ along with ‘RFID’, is commonly misunderstood and misinterpreted as people can be “tracked anywhere” with an RFID tag.
However, RFID tags must be within a certain read range of compatible equipment in order to be read, usually between 1 – 20 meters. Once the tagged individual has moved outside the system’s range, the RFID tag can no longer be read.
In addition to the read range limitations, the only data typically stored on an RFID tag is a unique number that means nothing unless the reader has access to a specific database built for the application.
For instance, if an attendee at a conference leaves with an RFID tagged lanyard and the tag is read outside of the conference, the received data would be a unique number, something like “45139845625568458454563”.
Without access to the specific system that houses the attendee’s name, company information, and booth attendance, the tag’s ID is meaningless. An everyday equivalent example is seeing a license plate on a car, but knowing nothing else about the vehicle’s owner without having access to the DMV database.
What Industries Gather Data via People?
Any industry that could turn a manual data gathering process into a hands-free automated process can use RFID to Gather Data about People. Currently these types of applications are used in sports, education, travel, manufacturing, and the services industry.
Why do Companies Gather Data via People?
Companies choose to gather information about specific people depending on the application. In a data gathering application, RFID is implemented as a way to automate a manual process that has a high degree of error, or takes up valuable time, and make it more efficient. For example:
- Tracking Attendance - RFID is used to automate the manual and time-consuming task of taking attendance in schools and businesses.
- Race Timing - RFID is used to automate the manual clock timing process of a person pressing a stopwatch and recording the lap time and participant’s number.
- Attendee Tracking - RFID is used to automate the process of capturing an attendee’s email address and information when they visit a booth at a trade show or conference.
Learn About Specific RFID Applications That Gather Data via People
- Attendance Tracking - Capture attendance data for schools and businesses, or even specific areas or rooms within buildings.
- Attendee Tracking - Capture data like Booth Traffic, Session Attendance, and Conference Traffic Patterns.
- Race Timing - Accurately time Races, Marathons, and even Individual Lap Times.
- Sports Metrics - Capture data on athletes like speed, distance traveled, orientation, and acceleration.
Learn More with These Top Articles on Gathering Data via People
- From Marathons, to Mountain Bikes, to Motocross – Timing Your Race with RFID
- RFID Insider Podcast 1: RFID Race Timing and Impinj Speedway Readers
- 4 Types of Race Timing Systems
- Race Timing Best Practices
- Build Your Own RFID Race Chip Timing System
- All About the Timing: RFID is Changing how we Race