RFID Talk Blog

The use case for embedding RFID in electronic devices

RFID is often talked about for its ability to improve inventory accuracy for retailers. However, the technology also offers tremendous advantages for managing returns, warranties and fraudulent activities.

For example, last week Mashable reported that a Walmart store in Texas sold an unsuspecting customer an iPad box that was filled with stacked  notebooks. Evidently,  a previous customer had fraudulently resealed and returned the box after removing the iPad. The weight of the notepads was apparently very similar to the weight of an iPad.

As pointed out by Impinj, RFID could make fraudulent returns such as these a thing of the past. By embedding an RFID chip inside of a tablet, stores would be able to confirm the device’s presence if returned, without needing to open the box or rely on weight. The technology could save stores from having to give out free merchandise as a result of a false return, and therefore keep dangerously low margins from dropping further.

Some devices already take advantage of the technology. Intel, for example, is already including RFID in tablets, which can lead to benefits for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. Amazon’s Kindle e-reader also contains an RFID tag inside the case which can help retailers when it comes to returns and warranty issues. Embedded RFID can also help retailers to personalize a product for the consumer before it even leaves the box, and to increase add-on revenues by loading the device with gift cards, for example.

Early this year NXP predicted a strong uptick in the electronics sector, with up to 50 million units being tagged in 2012, with continuing growth of 65 percent through 2015. The driving force behind tagging this product sector includes product configuration and customization, pairing, authentication, theft protection, and returns management.

By embedding an RFID chip and antenna into the printed circuit board of a laptop or tablet device, RFID can be used for several use cases, including disabling an item when it leaves the factory, and activating it at the store when a purchase is made, or at the home if a consumer orders the product online. This feature is seen as a major theft deterrent, since items snatched from the supply chain would be useless.

For more information on embedded RFID, click here for a recent blog post from Impinj.

Click here to view RFID 24-7’s previous coverage on RFID and electronics.

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