Reference #: ITRI-WP117-0608 Date: August 3, 2008

RFID As Electronic Article Surveillance EAS: Feasibility Assessment


The purpose of this study with participation from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals CSCMP, the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions VICS Association, Dillard’s, and Procter & Gamble, was to determine the feasibility of Class 1 Generation 2 UHF RFID as a potential sales floor level theft deterrent system. To fully comprehend this feasibility, the technical performance capabilities of standard UHF RFID tags and readers were compared to two common existing electronic article surveillance EAS technologies-acousto-magnetic AM and radio frequency electronic article surveillance RF-EAS-at an exit door portal to provide a reference. A variety of baseline tests were performed on all the technologies, and then a series of shoplifting scenarios were investigated. The baseline tests were designed to provide some controlled feedback on the general functionality of the respective technologies; the shoplifting scenarios provided insight into the technologies’ uses in a realistic, albeit simulated, environment but were not designed to necessarily defeat the technologies. Overall, RFID performed satisfactorily in the baseline and shoplifting scenarios-enough to warrant further investigation of RFID as a theft deterrent system.