One of the most important technological advances that manufacturers, warehouses, and distribution centers have benefited from in recent years is automation identification and data capture, best known as AIDC. When implemented strategically, AIDC solves a multitude of problems from identity verification to tracking, and beyond.
A Definition of Automatic Identification and Data Capture
AIDC is a process that is used to both identify and collect data. Once the collection is complete, the data is automatically stored in a computer system, where it is then categorized and, depending on the software, is aggregated. The process of AIDC is performed without the use of a keyboard and is generally integrated in order to track items, inventory, tools, assets, and even workers.
How Automatic Identification and Data Capture Works
AIDC refers to a relatively broad spectrum of specific technologies that employ it as an attribute. The list includes:
- Bar codes
- RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)
- Iris and facial recognition systems (biometrics)
- Optical character recognition (OCR)
- Magnetic strips
- Smart cards
- Voice recognition
All of these technologies use AIDC in unique ways but are synthesized differently depending on the ins-and-outs of the processes.
Typically, though, the device takes images, sounds, or videos of the target and captures the data with the help of a transducer. Transducers differ depending on the application of the technology, whether it be a bar code, smart card, RFID, or something else, but the main objective is the same – to convert the sound, image, or video into a digital file.
From there, the captured data is then held in a database or automatically transferred to a cloud-based system. It is then that the data can be analyzed and/or categorized; this step is something that is determined by the software and how it works to integrate with the capturing device, whatever it may be.
Although AIDC covers a wide scope, the technology is mostly used for one of three things: 1) identification and validation, 2) asset tracking, and 3) interfaces to other systems.
The Benefits of Using Automatic Identification and Data Capture
When considering the benefits of employing AIDC, one must first take a closer look at the technologies that are enhanced by it.
- Barcode readers – AIDC has existed for years in the form of barcode labels and barcode reader technologies. Barcodes can be used for tracking, identification, and counts in a variety of industries, including retail, healthcare, education, warehouse settings, manufacturing, entertainment, and much more.
- RFID – RFID tags transmit in-depth information from a scanner and is captured using a special reader through AIDC. Typically, RFID tags are placed on items that require advanced tracking and/or real-time reporting and data collection.
- Biometrics – Biometrics identify individuals by using a specialized AIDC scanning process that compares biological features, like irises or fingerprints. It was once a technology that only existed in science fiction films, but now this advanced data capture technology is used in office settings and even personal mobile devices.
- OCR (Optical Character Recognition) – OCR employs AIDC in order to scan written or typed text. This is the technology that is used in digitization processes.
- Magnetic strips – Magnetic strips use AIDC so that important information can be “swiped” for near-immediate verification. Nearly everyone has this AIDC technology on their person at any given moment; these magnetic strips are the ones used on credit/debit cards, building entry cards, library cards, public transportation passes, etc.
- Smart cards – Smart cards are, essentially, more advanced forms of magnetic strips. Typically, they are used in similar ways, and on cards that are for personal uses only. It is also the AIDC technology that is used in passports.
- Voice recognition – Similar to biometrics, voice recognition uses a device to capture data which is then automatically analyzed using the AIDC technology to compare a voice against a catalog of others.
The Challenges of Using Automatic Identification and Data Capture
Because many of the aforementioned technologies involve the assessment and storage of information – some of it being sensitive information – there is always a concern of theft, fraud, and/or a displacement of data.
Let’s take a look at the use of AIDC in regards to RFID, in particular. RFID tags are able to hold an impressive amount of information, but that doesn’t mean that the data is always secure. Because RFID work on radio waves, they can be hacked into, making this sensitive information available to anyone who might have the ability to chase after the valuable data.
Additionally, AIDC is getting more and more advanced, like all technologies these days, but there is still not a seamless system, which means that it doesn’t always work as it should. Luckily, there is a large range of products that employ AIDC technologies.
Need help selecting the one that fits your operation’s needs the best? Check out list of the best AIDC tools for more in-depth insight.