So what’s the difference between the two data collection tagging technologies?

While RFID and barcodes differ across many areas, they both have a common goal:  automate the process of managing assets.   RFID tags have many advantages over barcodes; however they have not completely replaced that technology.

RFID tags do not require a line of sight, where barcodes do.  RFID also offers greater read ranges and read rates over barcodes, which can only be manually scanned one at a time, making them very human labor intensive.  RFID tags have the ability to read, write, modify, and trigger events, while barcodes are always read only.  RFID tags are more durable than barcodes, so they can be read even in very harsh environments.  RFID tags offer high security options such as encryption, where barcodes are easily replicated.  They can be encrypted and are very difficult to replicate.

Although RFID tags are more expensive up front, their ROI can typically be realized in the first year, as end users experience a significant decrease in time spent inventorying IT assets, which results in them spending more time on other important initiatives.

Data Center managers have increasingly been turning to RFID to accelerate their return on DCIM tools and to automate the traditionally labor intensive asset audit process.  Many are seeing between a 10x and 15x savings in the time to audit their data centers and a significantly higher accuracy.