RFID (Radio Frequency) wristbands are a hot topic. They are used as the wearable key that enables people to interact with all the fun and innovative applications of RFID technology that are becoming more widespread.
Users wear RFID wristbands where the inlays or chips inside the wristband interact with RFID readers and scanners over various radio frequencies. RFID is a contactless technology that means wristband wearers can interact without having to be in physical contact with a reader or device.
Some of the most fun applications of the RFID technology are:
- Access Control at large events. RFID wristbands have been used a large events as tickets to gain entrance to the venue. RFID wristbands replace tickets and are sent to event goers before the event. When you present your RFID wristband ticket to the gate it will automatically detect that you have a valid ticket loaded onto your wristband and you can enter without human intervention.
- Social Media Integration. RFID wristbands are used to upload status updates, check-in or up-load photos onto social media site like Facebook. This happens without having to log-on to your account by typing on a keyboard or pressing a mouse button. It is all contactless and non-invasive.
- Cashless Payments. RFID wristbands can be used as an e-wallet where you can pay for items without having to open your wallet, provide cash or use a card. It is all done in one contactless transaction. Your bank account or card has been previously linked to a virtual account loaded onto the wristband.
- Queue Management. RFID wristbands used to provide access to fast lanes and priority queuing at leisure centres.
So, if you want to buy RFID wristbands how do you go about it and what are the do’s and don’ts?
1) Do some research! Understand the technology better and that first interaction with a prospective supplier will be much more valuable to you. If you understand the basics then your progress will be quick and you’ll be taken seriously by the RFID wristband supplier.
2) Take technical advice. RFID wristbands don’t work by themselves. You need scanners to read the RFID chips and those scanners need to be connected by a network. All of this back-end infrastructure must be part of your consideration too. The majority of RFID wristband companies will be interested in a quick sale and will not be able to help you with the infrastructure part of your solution. Make sure this is top of your list of questions to ask in the first place.
3) Do not source from the Far East. Do not attempt to use far eastern factories for RFID wristbands. Long story short you will under-estimate the price and be liable for customs duty, freight and whole bunch of surcharges for anything to do with artwork or designs. Of course if you are experienced in far-east souring then this may be an advantage to you.
4) Don’t settle for standard. RFID wristband companies will in 99% of cases will be a reseller of products from a far east source. They will try to sell you something off the shelf that they have in a product range. If you are happy with this and this is all you need then great, however if you want more, find a good company that will listen and be willing to develop a bespoke requirement. A good RFID wristband company will be able to adapt to your needs and can answer questions about making changes to products.
5) Agree a specification. Before you hand over any money or confirm any orders confirm the technical specification of the RFID wristband you are going to get. Seek advice from your technical partner for this. Specifications to be included at a minimum are:
- Minimum reading distance
- The IC (Integrated Circuit)
- The protocol e.g. ISO (the International Organisation for Standardisation)
- Memory (if applicable)
- Environmental operating conditions (waterproofing, max temp, min temp etc.)
- Any artwork or designs specified on the products – you should get mock ups to approve
- The unit price!
- The production time from placing the order
You’ll probably think a lot of this advice is fairly intuitive but I hope it goes some way to helping you on your journey to buying your first RFID wristbands.
Good luck and happy hunting,
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