In daily production and life, there must be more cheap items, especially items with a unit price of less than tens of billions occupy the vast majority.
If you don’t consider such low-priced items in the connection of IoT, you will lose a lot of room for imagination, and to realize the connection of these low-priced items, there will be great requirements for technical costs.
Sensors + communication constitute the hardware foundation of IoT. Many cheap sensors cost less than a few dollars, while a communication module costs between a few dollars and tens of dollars. In addition, the cost of batteries also accounts for a relatively high proportion. After a comprehensive calculation, the cost of adding IoT functions to an item will cost at least 10 dollars or more.
Is there an extremely low-cost IoT solution on the market that can make these low-priced items IoT-enabled? The answer is the RFID passive Internet of Things.
At present, the unit price of common RFID tags on the market is only a few cents, and the price of some special tags is slightly more expensive. In addition, a single RFID tag integrates the functions of “sensing + communication” and does not require batteries. This should be the lowest cost solution in the IoT market.
Low-cost solutions are also releasing a huge market. From the information we have obtained, the number of UHF RFID tags is currently growing rapidly.
Is there still room for optimization in the cost of RFID tags?
At present, the largest application field of RFID tags is the shoe and clothing retail industry, but if you want to make RFID tags have more application fields, such as express parcels, daily consumables, etc., the price of tags is still the most important limiting factor.
At present, UHF RFID tags are already very cheap in the market, but this is still not enough. Many scenarios require lower cost tags, which is a great test of cost.
The current cost of UHF RFID tags mainly comes from six parts, namely chips, antennas, production equipment input, labor costs, other consumable costs, and other operating costs. The cost of each tag is shown in the table below.
Why RFID is a “perfect” IoT technology
During our research, some senior people described RFID passive IoT technology as a “perfect” IoT technology for the following reasons:
1. RFID passive IoT products are the lowest-cost connection solutions on the market
At present, the market price of UHF RFID tag products is only a few cents. In addition to it, the cheapest Bluetooth tags on the market are also a few dollars, while other technical products are more expensive.
In an IoT product, perception + transmission is the most basic hardware foundation, sensors collect data, and communication modules transmit data. RFID tags are typical integrated perception + communication products. Although unlike sensors that can actively collect information about the surrounding environment, RFID chips can record various information in advance, which greatly reduces costs.
In addition, another low-cost advantage of RFID products is reflected in the fact that it is a passive technology, that is, it does not require batteries. The cost of batteries accounts for a large proportion of the cost of many IoT products, and the cost of replacing batteries needs to be considered. Passive IoT technology greatly saves this part of the cost.
2. Wide applicability of application scenarios
RFID tags have been widely used in many consumer goods in daily life. The most common products are tags for retail shoes and clothing, tags for airport luggage consignment, high-end liquor, etc. In the future, they will also be widely used in more products such as express parcels, food, and medicine.
3. Low barriers to use
RFID electronic tags are very light and can be used like stickers. When users are using them, they can scan the information on the tags with a reader, which is very convenient.