A tag technology describes the physical way in which a device can interact with a tag. Tag technologies are based around a specific type of sensor and communications technology. Each tag technology has its own appropriate use case, benefits, limitations and costs. The choice of which tag technology to use is an important decision which should be made in the planning phases of a Connected Things project.
Tag Technology Comparison
A high-level comparison of the most common tag technologies.
|Tag Technology||Barcode||NFC||UHF RFID||BLE|
|Usage||Printed labels; low-cost items||Better usability; secure; near-field range||Industrial; far-field range||Geolocation; far-field range|
|Reading Range||1 m||5 cm; 50 cm ⁽¹⁾||10 m||100 m|
|Power||None||Harvested||Harvested or battery||Battery or wall|
|Memory||Less than 1Kb||32 bytes to 8 Kb||0 to 128 bytes||20 bytes|
|Hardware in Phones||Yes (camera)||Yes (NFC controller)||No||Yes (Bluetooth controller)|
|App Required||No||Sometimes ⁽²⁾||Yes||Yes|
|Lowest Cost||$0.005 USD||$0.04 USD||$0.035 USD||$3.00 USD|
|Tag Implementations||Barcode Formats||NFC Chip Types||UHF RFID Chips|
|Additional Information||Barcode||NFC||UHF RFID|
- The range of an NFC chip is dependent on the tag technology and the device reading the NFC tag; learn more about NFC tag performace.
- Both iOS and Android have the basic ability to read an NFC tag with a NDEF website record and open it in a browser; more sophisticated functionality including writing NFC tags requires a 3rd party app.