What is RFID?

Zebra ZT231 RFID printer in action

What is RFID?

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses radio waves to identify and track tags attached to objects and, in some cases, persons. Specific radio frequencies energize and activate RFID tags allowing RFID readers to access stored information. Unlike passive tags, battery-powered RFID tags constantly transmit and don’t need to be energized.

RFID was invented during WWII

Rudimentary forms of the technology served as listening devices that radio waves could energize or as powered transponders that identified friendly aircraft during WWII. In our modern world, the best example of the technology today would be the debit/credit card in your wallet.


How does RFID work?

How RFID works in a nutshell

RFID waves are the same as your car's radio but at different frequencies and for specific uses. For it to work, you'll need a reader/scanner (the transceiver) and a tag/label (the transponder). RFID readers/scanners transmit radio waves that energize RFID tags and read the stored data. Unlike barcodes, it doesn't need a direct line of sight or proximity. However, a reader's transceive range can vary; Zebra's RFD40, for example, can read tags up to 20 feet.

Types of RFID

Low Frequency (LF)- covers 30 to 300KHz with slow read speeds but is less prone to radio wave interruption. For example, livestock tracking uses low frequency.

High Frequency (HF)- operates at 3 to 30MHz, and is moderately prone to radio interference. Useful for ticketing, checkout, and data transfers.

Ultra-high Frequency (UHF)- starts from 860 to 960MHz. While most prone to radio interference, manufacturers like Zebra have designed antennas that experience less interference. Most use cases for RFID belong to the UHF category because tags and readers are easier and cheaper to manufacture. UHF applications range from inventory management to anti-theft and anti-counterfeiting systems to wireless device configuration.

What’s inside an RFID tag/label?


What's inside an active RFID tag

Tags can typically store up to 2KB of data or 128KB for some battery-powered tags. Tags are like mini radio receivers; they contain a circuit, and an antenna, enclosed in durable plastic. Modern RFID readers can read battery-powered active tags or energize passive tags. Tags can be read only or read-write. Read-write tags require specialized equipment like Zebra's portals, making deployment harder.

Smart label

Smart label on a shirt

If you've ever ripped up a price label on a shirt or a kitchen appliance, you've encountered a smart label. Modern use of RFID comes by way of smart labels. Which consists of simple circuits on an adhesive label with a barcode. These labels can be attached to anything, from Amazon packages to a hospital patient's wristband. And are very quick to deploy and encode with desktop RFID printers. It's hard to choose what's right for your business; we're here to help demystify it.

Why use RFID?

Man pointing handheld RFID scanner at containers

Incredibly accurate

Scan many tags and labels in one go because it doesn't require a direct line of sight, so they can reduce human error, which can occur with scanning individual barcodes.

Increased efficiency in automation

RFID readers can scan more items so that production processes can scale faster. As well as increase productivity for automated storage and retrieval systems in warehouses.

Cost savings

It introduces manufacturing and supply chain efficiencies, enabling businesses to trim operational costs.

A safer work environment

Safety systems integrate seamlessly with RFID for asset tracking, collision avoidance, equipment maintenance tracking, and more. It helps safety managers monitor safety on the production floor or at a construction site.

Theft prevention and asset tracking

It makes inventory management, stock checks, audits, and shrinkage reduction easier. Anti-counterfeiting operations can effectively clamp down on fake goods.


RFID VS Barcode

Tags Labels Barcodes
No direct line of sight required No direct line of sight required Needs direct line of sight
Active tags can be read up to 300ft with UHF Can be read up to 20ft* Can be read up to 70ft*
Can be updated Read-only Read-only
Physical device Printable label Printable label

*Depends on the scanner



Is RFID risky?

Active tags with read-write access are risky. Thankfully, most tags and labels are passive and read-only, with encryption built into the circuits and readers. Most readers have radio shielding to prevent radio interference and signal cloning attempts.

The real risk for lies with personal devices or tags that reside inside debit/credit cards, where malicious actors can "skim" your cards and steal the information stored inside. Our solutions offer end-to-end security, from the tags/labels and readers to secure wired/wireless devices. Get peace of mind when you choose us.

Need help determining if RFID is right for your business? Let us help guide your transformation. Get a free consultation.

Can AI safety technology replace humans for fleets? 

As exciting as AI safety technology in self-driving vehicles is, optimism for the technology is starting to wane. Vehicle manufacturers and self-driving tech companies find it much harder to develop the tech to compete with human drivers. Tesla’s autopilot is unable to achieve the mythical level 3 or conditional driving automation. Wherein the system has environmental detection.

With over 160,0001 truck-related crashes in 2021, insurance premiums rising by 47% over the last 10 years2, and AI safety tech in doubt, fleets are looking to other solutions to improve fleet safety.

Why AI can’t replace the human driver? Yet…

Putting aside highly publicized failures of self-driving tech. The short answer is, the technology is still in its infancy, even after over a decade of research and development. Per mile, humans are 99.999% safer at driving3. For AI to be considered “safe” it would need to be 6x in order of magnitude. 

160,0001 truck-related crashes in 2021

Humans are wired to perceive danger better than AI, and we can learn through cognition. We multitask and process danger instantaneously. Machines are great at linear tasks, adding sensors, and programming safety conditions, can help improve machine awareness. However, lifelong intuition, critical thinking, and experiences can’t be easily programmed.

The world around us 

human-vision-traffic ai-vision-traffic

We can perceive depth. Our brain is great at processing everything we can sense and predicting other vehicle behavior. Although let’s face it, we occasionally ignore what our brain tells us and use emotion to make sense of things. Simply drive up to a car next to us, rev our engine, and chaos! Please don’t do that.

Back on topic, machines see the world in pixels. While technologies such as GPS and lidar can help machines see what’s ahead and “perceive depth.” The current state of safety technology would need to be 6x safer than humans, be able to self-learn, perceive danger, and make accurate predictions. 

Humans + technology = safety? 

When it comes to driving the safest hands are still our own, and most incidents are avoidable. Fleets with a safety technology solution and regular training reported 42% fewer safety incidents4. Additionally, 55% reported reduced fuel costs thanks to a fleet management solution4.  

The human brain is great at processing information. Lifelong learning, societal interactions, and independent thinking empower life-saving decisions. Adding technology helps us make decisions quickly and more accurately.  

Overcoming safety challenges 

5.2%1 of all fatal crashes were related to distracted driving in 2020. Another 5.2%1 of fatal crashes were due to driver impairment.

To combat this rising trend fleet safety managers have deployed solutions like ELDs, dashcams, fleet management software, and safety apps, alongside regular safety training regimes. So in the meantime, driver jobs are safe from the current wave of AI technologies.

How ECMD reduced distracted driving with LifeSaver app 

ECMD’s team was initially attracted to LifeSaver Mobile by the potential savings, but it quickly became clear the value was far greater. LifeSaver Mobile delivered an outstanding mobile-friendly user experience for drivers, combined with a real-time administrative dashboard that provides ease of deployment, customizability of the driver app and the dashboard, and increased visibility into driver mobile distraction. As a result, the company’s leaders have seen a decrease in collisions by their fleet drivers. Learn more or ask us about adding LifeSaver Mobile to your fleet solution. 

How eSquared Communication Consulting helps safety managers 

eSquared empowers fleet safety teams to keep their drivers safe. We deliver tailored, end-to-end business mobile solutions that seamlessly connect drivers, assets, and data to help our customers make insightful business decisions that grow the bottom line. 

Get award-winning 24/7 help desk support and telecommunication and internet solutions. Empower your safety teams with our strategic guidance and end-to-end solutions.  Let’s chat.

3 Jalopnik
4 Teletrac 

Field Service Mobile Technology

Field service techs have the challenging job of not just knowing how to troubleshoot clogged pipes or where to put the refrigerant liquid, but also providing excellent customer service while the family pet is vying for attention. Adopting field service mobile technology can help alleviate challenges in the field.

Being a field technician can be tough work but demand for the industry is accelerating post-pandemic and is projected to grow by 11% and reach a value of $5.1 billion by 20251. That’s exciting news for field techs across the country. There are however, some headwinds to keep on your radar as you expand your operations and customer base. 

Challenges field service techs can expect in 2023:


Customer service history 

54% of technicians say they lack information about a customer’s service history2. Customer records can inform techs how a previous issue was resolved. As well as, give insight to what actions were taken, that could save time during troubleshooting. 

Field service mobile technology enables digital work logs to a field service software like salesforce. Providing an iPad that’s connected to your FSM software for your techs can increase their productivity. That means quicker troubleshooting and faster turnaround time for service requests, which frees up technicians to help more customers. 

We can help transition your business to the cloud with our iPad + MDM + Connectivity mobile combo without breaking the bank or adding unnecessary downtime to your operations.  


Scheduling and dispatch 

38% of field service companies pointed to having trouble with scheduling and dispatching their field techs2. Agility is challenging for most companies, field service companies often deal with emergencies on the regular.  

A system like an MDM (mobile device management software), can track your techs in real-time allowing for flexibility to alter work schedules and immediately dispatch a tech that’s just completed a job to an emergency. Moreover, MDMs can aid with tracking vehicles and optimizing routes for your techs to get to customers faster. 

We offer multiple MDM software options that works with your existing technology suite at a low-cost with enterprise-grade support. 



With a myriad of tutorials from popular products to obscure techniques for that only work in specific scenarios, YouTube is the largest field service knowledgebase. 52% of field techs say they have no access to service manuals and  48% have no access to a knowledge base2. This highlights the disconnect between what a tech knows and what they’re expected to know. 

Building an internal knowledge base can be difficult and expecting memorization can lead to inaccuracies. Providing your techs with mobile technology and business grade connectivity changes the way fieldwork is conducted. Getting access to manufacturer websites and downloading manuals has been a boon for HVAC techs. YouTube tutorials have aided plumbers in solving plumbing issues. 

Adding the collective knowledge of mankind to your techs' arsenal begins with the right connections (pun intended). Flexible connectivity plans start with us, whether you’re looking to upgrade or mix and match service providers or manage your telecom expenses, we can help customize the right connectivity solution for your operations. 


Parts and inventory 

42% of techs say they get blindsided when a particular part or equipment2 isn’t available in inventory which can derail their work and could turn away a customer especially if it’s an emergency. 

Automation can efficiently manage inventory, and add a layers of transparency. Allowing your field techs to easily refer to a digital inventory while troubleshooting. Or if their lawnmower breaks down and need a replacement sent over. Additionally, automation can help identify specific hardware issues and can proactively check for available parts when the customer first reaches out for help.  

Automating inventory with tools like smartphone scanners, and RFID tags, to ensure parts inventory is up-to-date for your field techs and they have what they need before they even get to the customer. Let's get started.


How eSquared Communication Consulting helps field service techs 

eSquared empowers retail, construction, field service, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and healthcare teams to achieve a competitive edge. We deliver tailored, end-to-end business mobile solutions that seamlessly connect people, assets, and data to help our customers make insightful business decisions that grow the bottom line. 

Get award-winning 24/7 help desk support and telecommunication and internet solutions. Empower your techs with our strategic guidance and end-to-end solutions.  

1 Markets and Markets 2020
2 Click Software 

Construction safety with IoT

Keep workers safe at the job site

You’re a safety manager at a job site and you’re overseeing a range of risky activities. From cement mixing to large steel girders or prefabs flying above your head. How do you keep your team safe? Where do you start? We expect all construction workers to have a heightened sense of awareness but we don’t live in a perfect world. We can help make things safer. 

1 in 5 deaths among U.S. workers is in the construction industry1. From falls to improper use of ladders, to poorly assembled scaffolding, keeping workers safe at construction sites is serious business. IoT has made strides in safety at construction sites. Digitizing safety processes and tracking activities in real-time making it a lot easier to spot a flaw that could be fatal. 

 80% of construction professionals say mobile technology is a top priority4. 


Let’s take a quick look at a simplified version of safety at a construction site. Dr. Swiss Cheese’s safety model. 



Digitize the safety process and log risks in real-time

Enforce compliance and safety across all contractors using e-logging with construction software like Ineight on mobile. Safety managers can manage any potential risks that could delay, cause an overrun, or prevent a fatality in real time. Add transparency, maintain accuracy, and effectively manage RFIs for contractors with digital tools and on-site mobile devices.

98% of engineering and construction companies surveyed by Ernst & Young agree that digital solutions are critical to the future viability of their company. Technology adoption can be a challenge for worksites with paper logging and memorization of safety protocols. 

We can help transition paper logging and enhance worker safety awareness with our suite of ruggedized mobile devices designed for the modern construction site. Monitor, and anticipate gaps in safety at the work site and push real-time safety updates to workers. 


A construction site is one of the most dangerous places to work and falls account for 34% of worker fatalities2 due to unsteady platforms, hazardous conditions, and manual work. Drones are being tested to perform some of the more dangerous tasks at the job site. Moreso, fleets of drones with cameras are also being used for job site safety and workplace inspections. As this technology matures we expect more construction companies to adopt drone fleets in the near future.  

 As drone operators become more commonplace at the construction site, we can help expand visual screen real estate with iPads or slave multiple drones to a command and control iPad fleet hub. Fly drones remotely or take control of a drone at the job site to inspect a critical hard-to-reach structure. 

Connect the job site

Global use of sensors was expected to reach $27 billion in 2022, up from $7.5 billion in 20163 which includes construction sites. As the new generation enters the workforce, technologies such as fall sensors, asset protection sensors, cameras, or drones will become more prevalent. Growing the need to connect these new technologies to a central command and control system.

Remotely monitor future job sites, provide clients real-time updates, or track the status of prefabs at off-site locations. As project management and engineering processes move to the cloud, achieve greater efficiencies and less downtime with contractors by sharing digital schematics or immediately updating engineering plans in real-time with contractors.  

Our Cradlepoint wireless network infrastructure solutions can help secure your connections at the worksite and inside vehicles, can connect IoT devices including drones, can scale as you build, and can run off LTE or 5G unlimited data so you can have connectivity before the telecom providers even arrive. 

Wearable tech

In 2020, more than 130,000 construction workers missed days of work due to illness or injuries, decreasing productivity2 in an already labor-scarce industry. Maximize the use of construction site sensors with wearables. Minimize potential worker injury and strategically place sensors across the job site to create a virtual safety barrier that can send triggers to worker wearables if they’re at risk of falling or collisions. 

Go further with wearable tech to detect falls that alert emergency services immediately. Monitor worker health to prevent overexertion and track a worker in potential health distress. Wearables also add a layer of hands-free communication for workers and the rest of the construction team. 

We can help keep workers safe with a suite of wearable devices that can be loaded with safety apps that connects to your network of safety sensors. 

We hope this is a helpful reminder of just how important safety is in the construction industry and how taking it for granted can cost billions.  

How eSquared Communication Consulting Serves the Construction Industry

eSquared empowers retail, construction, field service, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and healthcare teams to achieve a competitive edge. We deliver tailored, end-to-end business mobile solutions that seamlessly connect people, assets, and data to help our customers make insightful business decisions that grow the bottom line. 

Get award-winning 24/7 help desk support and telecommunication and internet solutions. Protect your workers with our strategic guidance and end-to-end solutions. When you think of safety, think eSquared. Let's chat.

3 Zion Market Research
4 Truelook Construction Cameras 

Retail Trends 2023: More Automation and Mobility | Zebra & e2

As high inflation and interest rates permeate through the economy, consumer wallets will continue to be stretched through 2023 as they burn through the $3.3 trillion in savings accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts predict sales events to be a key driver for consumers in 2023 putting pressure on retailers to deliver even more value to their customers, and in the short-term, will weaken retailers' razor-thin margins. Can Zebra and eSquared's mobility solutions solve retailer woes in 2023? 

There’s light at the end of the tunnel as retailers' fears have been allayed by better-than-expected results during the holiday season. Sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24. 2022 ticked up 7.6%1 and Thanksgiving weekend 2022 added 20 million2 more shoppers looking for value. 

What Can You Expect in 2023?  

Macroeconomic indicators point to a still-healthy consumer market. Metrics such as savings, employment, and real wage growth are likely to moderate from currently strong levels.  

71% of associates and 81% of decision-makers want the ability to order out-of-stock items on the spot with the customer.3

How Does Mobile Automation Help You? 

Technological advances significantly impact the retail industry. Retailers of all sizes must adjust to ever-changing tech trends as mobile technology transforms the retail experience. Companies such as Zebra, Amazon, Samsung, and Apple have created tools for associates and consumers to conduct transactions in the palm of their hands.  

BOPIS is here to stay

BOPIS or Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store, adds convenience for customers and allows them to do their shopping online from the comfort of their homes and provides the choice of delivery or pick up via drive-thru, curbside, or in-store at their own time.  

54% of consumers want retailers to offer mobile ordering for convenience.3 BOPIS gives control to customers, allowing them to customize their shopping experience to suit their needs.   

A Zebra smartphone scanner solution like the RFD 40 is great for checking and verifying customer orders efficiently. 

Inventory Transparency for Customers

Inventory visibility online and in-store allows shoppers to connect to what they want and can help drive in-store traffic. Accuracy at high velocity is key to providing a seamless online and in-store customer experience and converting a sale. 

84% of decision-makers and 73% of associates agree that their companies need better inventory management tools.3 Automation can help speed up the inventory process, reduce shrinkage, improve operational efficiencies, minimize out-of-stock, and improve omnichannel performance and order fulfillment.  

eSquared x Zebra’s back-of-house solutions can process large volumes, on top of simplifying shipping and receiving, speed up order picking and packing, labeling, and more.

Stop Dreading Returns and Fulfillment

Returns and fulfillment are an unavoidable part of retail and can make or break the customer experience. The combination of online and in-store purchases adds complexity in managing returns. 67% of retail associates and 86% of decision-makers agree that accepting and managing online order returns pose a significant issue to their organization.3 

Get ahead of omnichannel challenges with advanced operational synchronization, real-time inventory visibility, and reliable communication. Manage fulfillment and returns effectively with eSquared’s custom POS solutions, over-IP scanners, and mobile devices from Samsung and Apple. 

Enable Positive In-Store Customer Experiences

Customers prefer a mobile experience at home all the way to the store. Post-pandemic customers expect a seamless transition from online to in-store mobile convenience, and the accuracy of product availability, price, and promotions.  

But why stop there? Leverage digital kiosks to showcase in-store-only promotions, empower associates with mobility to upsell or immediately win-back customer trust if an item is out of stock through advance order reservation and price-lock guarantees. 71% of associates and 81% of decision-makers want the ability to order out-of-stock items on the spot with the customer.3  

eSquared’s mobility solutions can help. Zebra Wearables, smartphone scanners, and Zebra mobile POS systems can close the gap between a customer leaving empty-handed and an on-the-spot sale for at-home delivery or in-store pickup. 

Empower Sales Associates with the Zebra Mobility Tech

Enhance workforce productivity with retail-ready solutions that help uncover early opportunities and improve associate and customer satisfaction. 61% of retail associates feel more positive about employers when provided with helpful, modern technology.3 

Achieve complete visibility into your inventory, unify your teams, and accelerate workflow and productivity with mobile technology. Associates and shoppers agree that handheld mobile computers, barcode scanners, and wearables improve the customer experience. 

We procure, set up, manage, and deploy retail hardware and software solutions, like the latest POS tablets from Apple/Samsung to Zebra’s TC53 mobile workstation/scanner, enabling your associates to easily verify pricing, check inventory via scanning barcodes, and quickly process a transaction.

How eSquared and Zebra serves the Retail Industry 

eSquared empowers retail, construction, field service, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and healthcare teams to achieve a competitive edge. We deliver tailored, end-to-end business mobility solutions that seamlessly connect people, assets, and data to help our customers make insightful business decisions that grow the bottom-line. 

Accelerate your entire retail ecosystem with our strategic guidance and end-to-end solutions. Let’s get started.

1 Data from MasterCard SpendingPulse
2 Compared to 2021 according to NRF
3 Zebra Retail Insights