What are the advantages of RFID compared to barcode?
Although RFID is more costly than barcode, it proves to be indispensable for a variety of automated applications involving data acquisition and object identification.
No line-of-sight contact necessary
The major advantage of all kinds of RFID system is that they work contactlessly and require no line of sight.
Transponders can be read through a whole number of substances, e.g. snow, fog, ice, paint, dirt, and in difficult constructional scenarios where barcodes or other optical reading technologies would be no use at all.
Speed of an RFID system
RFID transponders can be read at remarkable speed even in difficult conditions, and in most cases respond in less than 100 milliseconds.
The reading/writing capability of an active RFID system is also a significant advantage in interactive applications, e.g. when tracking products in process or maintenance jobs.
Reliability in tough environments
In difficult external conditions RFID has the advantage of being able to communicate contactlessly and without direct line-of-sight contact with the data medium. Where the transponder is doesn't matter either -- it can be read through substances like dust, paint or ice.
Active and passive systems working at HF and UHF frequencies detect a number of transponders in the field. This property is called bulk capability. In practical terms it means that every data medium needn't be scanned singly, but is automatically detected during a read operation.
RFID is surely not able to completely replace the traditional barcode. Rather, both technologies will exist parallel to each other in the future and will be used depending on the application. The decisive benefits of an RFID system are their scanning speed, lifetime and high noise immunity vis-a-vis environmental influences.