From the park to sport, from school to nursery: RFIDs are increasingly effective in access control

RFID technology (Radio-Frequency Identification) confirms its top position among resources IoT in the fields of access control, expanding its range of action in the most disparate contexts. Contexts in which the remote recognition of an object through the transmission of electromagnetic waves guarantees safety, compliance with regulations, verification and inspection.

RFID technology in parks

Thanks to the ductility, resistance and efficiency of RFID devices, today we find them used - for example - in almost all amusement parks, with the dual function of access control and, certainly, guaranteeing the location of a subject in a very large space. Among the precursors of this trend, there is the Danish theme park Legoland which introduced bracelets (with integrated passive transponders) to be given to visiting children, as well as adults. In the event that a parent is unable to locate their child, the adult has the possibility of contacting, via mobile phone, a system called "Kidspotter" which, in response, sends the coordinates of the child's position, thanks to the detection of the same through the park readers. With the same approach, there are more and more amusement parks, water parks, but also resorts and restaurants tourist attractions to use the RFID system for the same objectives.

The world of sport between transponders and RFID readers

Even the world of sport, especially during mass demonstrations, is not exempt from a wide use of RFID technology, demonstrating the great adaptability of the devices, in terms of exposure to external conditions, coverings and formats. An extremely widespread example concerns the ski resorts in which, to replace magnetic stripe cards, new RFID technology ski passes are currently used. This system has the purpose of control and safety, of course, but it is also a very valuable aid in streamlining the transit processes to the ski lifts. In fact, with readers capable of sensing transponders remotely, the user no longer needs to stop and extract the card, eliminating waiting. This use denotes, in addition to the advantages of the RFID system listed so far, the great advantage which is the impossibility of creating clones of the components, given that it ensures the uniqueness of the recognition.


Among the cases of value linked to the world of sport, we also find the big ones marathons in which - since the distant Chicago race in 2002 - there has been a tendency to use RFID technology for control and safety functions, but also to facilitate the assignment of travel times to competing athletes. A factor which, given the very high turnout, was very complex and subject to inaccuracies. The system adopted (then as now) involves the use of small capsules containing the transponders, to be worn on the wrist, ankle, or inserted into shoes.

RFID for child protection

From the world of sport we move towards that of childhood, a sector in which the use of RFID technology is rapidly growing, fundamental for covering access control and localization functions, for the safety of young subjects. Some act as precursors in this process Educational institutions in Japan (Osaka), in Texas (Houston) and in California (Sacramento), where each student is assigned a passive transponder to carry with them, on their wrist or on their clothes. The school gates, supplied with the system, are equipped with readers and a database capable of memorizing entry and exit times. The system is also a valid help in identifying unauthorized people who try to enter schools, as - without tags, unlike the staff - they can be immediately reported to the security.

And it is still in California that the use of RFID technology takes shape neonatal departments of hospitals, with the dual objective of protecting new parents from the exchange of children (estimated 2000 cases per year in the USA) and avoiding the kidnapping of newborns or their movement by unauthorized persons. Also in this case, infants are equipped with a passive transponder, inserted into a small band to be applied to the ankle. Mothers, however, have a reader on their wrist which - in a system standardized on the 433MHz frequency - emits confirmation sounds if brought near their child. As part of the system, the doors of the maternity wards - and of the hospitals themselves - are equipped with readers capable of triggering an alarm if unauthorized activity is recorded.

The RFID label (in English: "tag"), inserted into the child's bracelet, itself does not have the ability to transmit a signal, therefore it does not cause concern from a health point of view. However, RFID tags also have to follow the process today certification of radio equipment, to guarantee all safety aspects.

Some advantages of use

All cases, those just exposed, which make clear the increasingly widespread trend in the use of RFID systems, bringing to light clear advantages such as:

  • the excellent degree of traceability, thanks to the unique nature of the system, strengthened by the impossibility of duplicating RFID components;
  • the ability to read without a target, which allows for a great speeding up of control processes;
  • maximum "formal" flexibility and good remote reading ability, with ample possibility of giving a "personalized look" to the components and deciding in advance the appropriate reading distance;
  • the ability to read multiple simultaneously, whereby the reader can acquire information from numerous tags at the same time, without producing overlaps;
  • the constant updating of the data, therefore the possibility of intervening via software on the information contained in the tag components.

For the testing of radio equipment, including RFID readers and RFID tags, manufacturing or importing companies can turn to specialized and equipped laboratories to carry out all the tests.

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