Radio Frequency Identification

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1 Radio Frequency Identification This white paper provides an overview of the numerous application-related and technical aspects of RFID systems. It explores the benefits of deploying RFID procedures and therefore need to combine components to establish comprehensive, stable infrastructures. It also describes briefly Optical & Mobile RFID and also potential challenges involved in RFID Implementation. Sydaap Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 1 RFID

2 Radio Frequency Identification Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a system that facilitates the tracking of objects, primarily for inventory tracking, via a three part technology comprised of a reader, a transceiver with decoder and a transponder (RF tag). RFID is a wireless system that works in conjunction with an organization s information technology infrastructure to improve business processes such as inventory management and efficiency in supply chain management. RFID is one of several technologies collectively known as Auto-ID procedures procedures for identifying objects automatically. Companies are increasingly deploying Auto-ID procedures in their supply chains. RFID is already used in several areas of everyday life, such as in the central locking systems for vehicles. RFID functions are now integrated in passports and will even find their way into health cards. This white paper provides an overview of the technical aspects of RFID systems. RFID Functionality RFID tags contain at least two parts. One is an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, modulating and demodulating a radio-frequency (RF) signal, and other specialized functions. The second is an antenna for receiving and transmitting the signal. There are generally three types of RFID tags: active RFID tags, which contain a battery and can transmit signals autonomously, passive RFID tags, which have no battery and require an external source to provoke signal transmission, and battery assisted passive (BAP) which require an external source to wake up but have significant higher forward link capability providing great read range. The reader emits a radio signal that activates the tag and reads and writes data to it. As products are shipped, received or stored, the information (encoded on a bar code like tag) can be read and received by the reader, which is attached to a computer. RFID has been integrated into the EPC global network and uses the EPC (Electronic Product Code). The EPC is a unique number that identifies a specific item in the supply chain. The EPC is stored on a RFID tag, which combines a silicon chip and a reader. Once the EPC is retrieved from the tag, it can be associated with dynamic data such as the origin of an item or the date of its production. Much like a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), the EPC is the key that unlocks the power of the information systems that are part of the EPC global Network. Automatic identification (auto ID) technologies help machines or computers identify objects by using automatic data capture. RFID is one type of auto ID technology that uses radio waves to identify, monitor, and manage individual objects as they move between physical locations. Although there are a variety of methods for identifying objects with RFID, the most common method is by storing a serial number that identifies a product and its related information. RFID devices and software must be supported by an advanced software architecture that enables the collection and distribution of location-based information in real time. Sydaap Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 2 RFID

3 Tags and Readers An RFID system consists of tags and readers. RFID tags are small devices containing a chip and an antenna that store the information for object identification. Tags can be applied to containers, pallets, cases, or individual items. With no line-of-sight requirement, the tag transmits information to the reader, and the reader converts the incoming radio waves into a form that can be read by a computer system. An RFID tag can be active (with a battery) or passive (powered by the signal strength emitted by the reader). Active Tags Can be read from a long-range distance of more than 100 feet. Are ideal for tracking high-value items over long ranges, such as tracking shipping containers in transit. Have high power and battery requirements, so they are heavier and can be costly. Passive Tags Can only be read from a short-range distance of approximately 5-10 feet. Can be applied in high quantities to individual items and reused. Are smaller, lighter, and less expensive (and therefore more prevalent) than active tags. Sydaap Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 3 RFID

4 Standardization There is no global public body that governs the frequencies used for RFID. In principle, every country can set its own rules for this. The main bodies governing frequency allocation for RFID are: USA: FCC (Federal Communications Commission), Canada: CRTC (Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission), Europe: ERO, CEPT, ETSI, and national administrations etc. Low-frequency (LF: khz and khz) (LowFID) tags and high-frequency (HF: MHz) (HighFID) tags can be used globally without a license. Ultra-high-frequency (UHF: MHz) (Ultra-HighFID or UHFID) tags cannot be used globally as there is no single global standard. In North America, UHF can be used unlicensed for & MHz (±13 MHz from the 915 MHz center frequency), but restrictions exist for transmission power. Readers are required to monitor a channel before transmitting this requirement has led to some restrictions on performance, the resolution of which is a subject of current research. The North American UHF standard is not accepted in France as it interferes with its military bands. For India, China and Japan, there is no regulation for the use of UHF. Each application for UHF in these countries needs a site license, which needs to be applied for at the local authorities, and can be revoked. For Australia and New Zealand, MHz are unlicensed, but restrictions exist for transmission power. These frequencies are known as the ISM bands (Industrial Scientific and Medical bands). The return signal of the tag may still cause interference for other radio users. Some standards that have been made regarding RFID technology include: ISO 14223/1 Radio frequency identification of Animals, advanced transponders Air interface ISO/IEC 14443: This standard is a popular HF (13.56 MHz) standard for HighFIDs which is being used as the basis of RFID-enabled passports under ICAO ISO 15693: This is also a popular HF (13.56 MHz) standard for HighFIDs widely used for non-contact smart payment and credit cards. ISO/IEC 18000: Information technology Radio frequency identification for item management ISO 18185: This is the industry standard for electronic seals or "e-seals" for tracking cargo containers using the 433 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequencies. EPC global this is the standardization framework that is most likely to undergo International Standardization according to ISO rules as with all sound standards in the world, unless residing with limited scope, as customs regulations, air-traffic regulations and others. ASTM D7434, Standard Test Method for Determining the Performance of Passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Transponders on Palletized or Unitized Loads ASTM D7435, Standard Test Method for Determining the Performance of Passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Transponders on Loaded Containers Sydaap Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 4 RFID

5 ASTM D7580 Standard Test Method for Rotary Stretch Wrapper Method for Determining the Readability of Passive RFID Transponders on Homogenous Palletized or Unitized Loads Optical RFID Optical RFID (OPID) is an alternative to RFID that is based on optical readers. Applications for optical RFID tags may be found in future supply chain scenarios. The main advantage in comparison to traditional RFID tags is their low price and the usually employed offline preaggregation of data to the class level. Unlike most other RFID chips (which use radio frequencies of , , 13.56, and MHz), optical RFID operates in the electromagnetic spectrum between the frequencies of 333 THz ( hertz, 900 nm), 380 THz (788 nm) and 750 THz (400 nm). The tag information is communicated to the reader by reflecting the read request. Parts of the incoming signal are filtered by the tag in a well-defined way as it is sent back to the reader. On the reader's side, the tag data can be deduced by analyzing the pattern used for filtering. As an alternative to reflection mode, active circuits can be used, replacing awkward RFID antennae with photovoltaic components and IR-LEDs on the ICs. Regarding privacy, optical RFID provides much more protection against abuse than RFID based on common electromagnetic waves. This is mainly because line-of-sight is required for malicious read out. Such an attack can easily be prevented with low cost optical RFID sight blockers. Mobile RFID Mobile RFID (M-RFID) can be defined as services that provide information on objects equipped with an RFID tag over a telecommunication network. The reader is installed in a mobile device such as a mobile phone or PDA. This completely new approach is different from current implementations of ordinary RFID: Now the readers are mobile and the tags are fixed, instead the other way around. M-RFID has some major and obvious advantages over RFID: No wires to fixed readers are needed anymore and several mobile readers are enough to cover a whole area, instead of using many fixed readers. The basic components are always a reader and a tag. Mostly the reader is in some way attached to a back-end database which stores more information on the item to which the tag is attached to. The connection to the database is mostly made by the device which holds the reader and which is able to connect to a local (wireless) network and/or the Internet. Various players like the Near Field Communication Forum (NFC), European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and EPC (Electronic Product Code) global are involved in developing M-RFID solutions. The main focus is on supporting supply chain management. But this application has also found its way in m-commerce. The customer in the supermarket can scan Sydaap Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 5 RFID

6 the Electronic Product Code from the tag and connects via the internet to get more information. ISO/IEC "Information technology - Automatic Identification and Data Capture Technique - Air Interface specification for Mobile RFID interrogator" is the first standard to be developed for Mobile RFID. RFID Applications RFID can be used in a variety of applications such as, Access management, Tracking of goods and RFID in retail, Tracking of persons and animals, Toll collection and contactless payment Machine readable travel documents, Location-based services, Airport Baggage Tracking Logistics etc. RFID combined with mobile computing and Web technologies provide a way for organizations to identify and manage their assets. High-frequency RFID or HFID/HighFID tags are used in library book or bookstore tracking, jewelry tracking, pallet tracking, building access control, airline baggage tracking, and apparel and pharmaceutical items tracking. Highfrequency tags are widely used in identification badges, replacing earlier magnetic stripe cards. These badges need only be held within a certain distance of the reader to authenticate the holder. The American Express Blue credit card now includes a HighFID tag. In Feb 2008, Emirates Airline started a trial of RFID baggage tracing at London and Dubai airports. UHF, Ultra-HighFID or UHFID tags are commonly used commercially in case, shipping container tracking, truck and trailer tracking in shipping yards. Logistics & Transportation is a major area of implementation for RFID technology like Yard Management, Shipping & Freight and Distribution Centers are some areas where RFID tracking technology is used. Transportation companies around the world value RFID technology due to its impact on the business value and efficiency. RFID tags are often a replacement for barcodes, having a number of important advantages over the older barcode technology. They may not ever completely replace barcodes, due to their higher cost and the advantage of multiple data sources on the same object. Active RFID tags also have the potential to function as low-cost remote sensors that broadcast telemetry back to a base station. Applications of tagometry data could include sensing of road conditions by implanted beacons, weather reports, and noise level monitoring. Passive RFID tags can also report sensor data. For example, the Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform is a passive tag that reports temperature, acceleration and capacitance to commercial RFID readers. Sydaap Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 6 RFID

7 Challenges of RFID Implementation The following list represents potential challenges to consider when implementing an RFID solution. 1. Large volumes of data i.e. Readers scan each RFID tag several times per second, which generates a high volume of raw data. Although the data is redundant and discarded at the reader level, processing large volumes of data can be difficult. 2. Product information maintenance i.e. When a high volume of RFID tags are processed by the reader, the attributes of each tagged product must be continually retrieved from a central product catalog database a process that results in challenges for large-scale implementations. 3. Configuration and management of readers and devices i.e. When a large number of readers and related hardware devices are deployed across multiple facilities, configuration and management can be challenging. The implementation of automated devices for these processes is essential. 4. Data integration across multiple facilities, In an enterprise with multiple facilities that are geographically distributed, it is increasingly difficult to manage data in real time while at the same time aggregating it into the central IT facility-a process that can place a significant burden on the network infrastructure. 5. Data ownership and partner data integration, When there are different companies involved in business processes, such as commonly found in the Retail supply chain, it can create issues pertaining to the ownership and integration of the data, thereby compromising the integrity of the solution architecture. 6. Data security and privacy, Depending on the nature of the business application and the solution scenario, security and privacy challenges could have a significant impact on the architecture. Sydaap Technologies Pvt. Ltd. 7 RFID

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