How to Use RFIDs in Your Mobile Surveys

Hello FluidSurveys enthusiasts! This week we have a special blog pertaining to a new FluidSurveys Mobile feature using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.  This exciting new mobile tool may sound like something from James Bond, but it is actually a really cool way to make conducting a mobile survey fast and easy!

How it Works!

Basically, FluidSurveys Mobile can now utilize the Android application of reading radio frequency tags in order to collect RFID numbers and automatically insert them into a survey.  This new feature will allow surveyors to scan respondents’ personal identification chips to gain their ID numbers without having to force the respondents into filling out information manually.  RFID tags can be placed almost anywhere. Below is a picture of a few different forms of RFID tags.

RFID Forms


RFID tagging has endless applications for FluidSurveys.  To get your creative juices flowing, here are just a couple examples of how one can use this impressive tool:

1) Tracking Conference Attendance
Say everyone in my company has an identification badge that includes a radio frequency chip carrying a personal identification number.  Whenever I hold a large conference, I can easily track who attends my conference with FluidSurveys Mobile.  All I would have to do is have each employee’s ID scanned into an Android before they entered the conference room.  This would provide me with a full list of attendants in the form of their identification numbers.

2) Easily Collecting Data at Conventions
Another example of a way to make use of the RFID feature would be to simplify your mobile surveys if you were holding a convention.  I could achieve this by asking all participants to fill out a demographic survey before the event and attribute each of them with a unique RFID number.  I could then create a database of each participant’s information that correlates with their RFID number.  Before the event I would mail each participant a convention bracelet that holds a radio identification chip.  Now when the attendants arrive at the convention, each kiosk they attend can scan for their ID to gain their RFID number instead of having to ask them to fill out a form.  By the end of the day each kiosk will have a full list of the RFID’s that visited their display.  They can then use the demographic database previously collected to find all the necessary information on the individuals that they scanned at their kiosk!

Both these scenarios exemplify the great opportunities to use RFID to save both you and your respondents a headache, while at the same time compiling data in a quick reliable manner!

Using RFIDs with FluidSurveys Mobile

So now that we know why RFID is useful, let’s go over the specifics on implementing this cool new feature.  First, it is important to remember that the FluidSurveys Mobile RFID feature only works with Android Tablets.  Second, the only information gained by scanning a RFID chip will be its unique identification number.  It is up to you to have a database with the information that each RFID number represents.  Finally, this tool requires no internet connection, which is incredibly useful when you want to use the feature at foreign locations where Wi-Fi is really expensive or non-existent.

Scanning RFID Tags
With these requirements out of the way, the only thing left for us to show you is how the RFID app works in action!  The first thing to do is make sure that your Android’s Near Field Communications (NFC) option is turned on.  The NFC option can be found in the ‘Wireless and Networks’ menu on your tablet, and will allow your Android to read the RFID chips.

After entering FluidSurveys Mobile and selecting your desired survey, click the ‘Options’ button. A ‘Near Field Communications’ pop up should appear that looks like the one below.  There are two fields in this pop-up that are important to understand.


Near Field Communications


(1) The ‘RFID Question’ field allows you to choose where the radio frequency number will appear in your data.  It is important to make sure that the question you select is a text field.  Logically, an identification number cannot be automatically transmitted into a closed response question like multiple choice or check box.

(2) ‘UID Length (Bytes)’ refers to the amount of numbers that will appear in the ‘RFID Question’ box.

After you have selected the desired question and UID length, click save and you are ready to begin scanning RFID numbers into your survey!  Just select ‘Create Response’ in order to enter your survey and bring the Android antenna within 3 centimetres of the radio frequency chip.  The Android will scan the chip and place its number in the RFID question.

let’s see it in action

TIP: It is very important to create a new response before scanning each RFID chip.  If you scan two RFID tags on the same response, the first identifier number will be replaced by the number of the most recently scanned RFID chip.

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