Everything from highway toll booths to passports uses radio frequency identification (RFID). To make your travel experience more convenient, here is everything you should be aware of this evolving technology.
RFID Technology is widespread nowadays. For example, it is used in all contactless credit card payments or while swiping the smart subway passes.
Although RFID simplifies our lives in many ways, it has generated certain privacy issues. To safeguard your privacy as a traveller or travel service provider, you need to know how RFID works.
What Is RFID Technology?
To put it simply, an RFID system is a low-cost technology that relies on radio waves for signal transmission between the chip and the receiver. Though it is like the barcodes, RFID uses radio waves to communicate information over short distances instead.
For radio-frequency identification (RFID), there are two components: a tag and a receiver. An embedded microchip in the tag transmits an encoded signal, and the receiver contains components to decode the signal. These tags can be passive (no battery, triggered by the receiver) or active (with batteries, transfers signal picked by the receiver).
There are various RFID tags based on shapes and sizes. UHF RFID tags (ultra-high frequency) may be read from a distance of 10 to 20 feet for low-frequency and high-frequency range tags, respectively. Semi-passive RFID tags may be read up to 60 feet away using readers with phased array antennas. Other environmental variables that affect radio signals’ intensity can also impact read range.
RFID technology has a long history, dating back to World War II when soldiers used radar to warn of the oncoming bombers. Aside from that, it was first patented in the 1970s. There has been an enormous surge of interest in RFID technology in recent years, as the technology has grown more affordable and additional applications are created to make it user-friendly. RFID technology can be used in various sectors, depending on the tags and readers used.
RFID Technology In The Travel Industry
Laypeople often use RFID technology by going through pay-less electronic toll booths on roads or using the “Fastpass” entry system used at many amusement parks.
In the travel industry, RFID plays a key role. For example, U.S. passports have been equipped with RFID chips since the mid-2000s. There are no personal identifiers on the chips, according to the government. Instead, the chips lead to a secure database where border authorities may access your photo and other biographical information when you check-in.
Passengers returning from overseas use the government of United States’ Global Entry programme, which lets passengers with low-risk status scan an RFID card at customs upon their homecoming. The border crossings became more efficient after the new RFID system was implemented.
Electronic toll lanes, where vehicles with RFID tags may pay fees straight from the pass, are one of the most prevalent ways in which the technology affects travellers in the United States.
RFID has a high impact on rental vehicle drivers. There will be prepaid access cards available for those renting automobiles in cities to pay cashless in tolls. It’s also possible to unlock a vehicle door with an RFID tag instead of the traditional key.
Subway passes are a typical use for RFID technology. In addition, an embedded chip in the card can keep track of how much cash is stored on the card, making additions when extra money is deposited and deductions when the card is used.
Access control systems and asset monitoring are commonplace in hotel and travel firms. In addition, RFID, Bluetooth, and NFC (near-field communication) technologies have seen a surge in use because of the pandemic’s impact on contactless guest journeys.
The MagicBand ticketing system at Disney, Coachella Music Festival, and Royal Caribbean is the greatest illustration of how RFID technology can effectively enhance the passenger experience.
Benefits Of RFID
An interesting alternative for businesses wanting to improve the guest experience might be RFID technology because of its comparatively cheap cost, convenience of usage, and operational efficiency potential. A few of the specific uses of RFID are as follows.
- Access to amenity areas that are restricted
- Cashless payments on-site
- Management of inventories
- Theft protection
How To Avoid Misuse Of RFID?
If you opt to carry your valuables with you while travelling, you might add RFID blocking devices to help prevent digital thefts from taking place. This extra layer of security may be carried in a pouch or a belt bag. It can even be tucked away in a pocket in your clothing.
If it’s within range, your passport and credit card information might be read by someone using an RFID scanning gadget.
Despite its rarity, security experts have proven that some RFID-equipped credit cards and passports can be hacked. Therefore, your information may need to be safeguarded before this type of digital theft becomes more prevalent in the future.