RFID for Flooring Store Sample Boards


New Member
Seems a bit overkill, but a problem we've been having with for over 15 years is sample boards. Basically a customer loans a board and is supposed to return it.

To encourage people to return samples, we've been charging a deposit in order to entice them to return it sooner (and for the most part just to return it!)

One hurdle has been with designers who have and "account" and they charge the sample boards. They will take sometimes hundreds of samples, sign them out and when they return them they won't "sign" them back in...so we don't know they've been returned. This leads them to getting a monthly statement arguing they already returned the sample...and we're on the hunt to try and find it.

We're recently hired an IT guy who is very proficient in writing MS Access applications, and the idea of RFID came up.

My question, would this be a good application for the RFID to track if a product is in/or out?

The building is approx 25,000sq/ft with 4 main entry/exit points. I'm assuming in order to properly calculate if a product is in or out in real time, we would have to have the readers at the entry/exit points. Each entry point would have to have 2 readers, one for IN traffic and one for OUT traffic. If the traffic goes IN/OUT you know the product left, where if the readers are triggered first OUT then IN, the status would change to "IN"

This to me sounds like a fairly reliable way to track these items...is there a way to fool the readers if a customer walks back and forth in the entry point for some reason to cause an in-accurate status?

Looking forward to any suggestions and we are looking forward in getting ClearStream!


Howie Heckman III

Staff member

What you are describing sounds correct. Basically the last antenna to pick up the RFID tag will update that item in the database with the current status (in, or out). There really is no way of fooling the reader with different methods of moving in, or out of the portal. However, you could fool it by 'hiding' the sample in some container that would not allow a read. Some type of metal enclosure would prevent the tag from being scanned.

One thing to note, you may be able to use only a single reader at each portal, just with multiple antennas. ClearStream allows you to customize the name of each antenna, and the name of the antenna that read that tag would update its status in the database.

Let us know if this helps out.