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Radio-frequency identification

 

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is the use of an object (typically referred to as a RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product, animal or person for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. Some tags can be read from several meters away and beyond the line of sight of the reader.

Radio-frequency identification comprises interrogators (also known as readers) and tags (also known as labels).

Most 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) RFID tags, which require an external source to wake up but have significant higher forward link capability providing great read range.

The EPCGlobal standard from EPCGlobal defines four classes of tags as class 1, class 2, class 3 and class 4. Each successive class has higher functionality than the previous one and is also backward compatible. Apart from these four classes, sometimes class 5 is also referred by users in the industry which are nothing but RFID readers.

RFID has many applications, for example, it is used in enterprise supply chain management to improve the efficiency of inventory tracking and management.

Each of the pilots will rely on hardware, software and middleware. In terms of hardware assets, each of the end-user SMEs will purchase the required RFID readers and servers/controllers, as well as the required amount of consumables (i.e., tags). A wide range of interrogator types will be used including fixed and wireless/mobile/handheld readers, depending on the target processes. Note that different reader types may be employed in the scope of the same pilot (e.g., the STAFF pilot involves mobile handheld readers for inventory processes and fixed Ethernet readers for supporting “reception/shipments” at appropriate dock-doors).

Also, most pilots will leverage passive RFID tags, yet some pilots (e.g., BRIDGE129) involve also active tags, while some others involve also sensor tags (e.g., KOSKINIDIS). Moreover, sensor and actuators will be employed in selected pilots, which pose needs for sensing physical quantities and/or invoking actuating services. In terms of software and middleware, all pilots will be based on existing software/middleware solutions, notably RFID middleware developed in Open Source Projects (such as the AspireRfid project developed in the FP7 project ASPIRE). Note that the project will also consider alternative solutions to AspireRfid in order minimize any risks associated with the reliance on a single middleware product/solution. In terms of delivery channels, end-users will be offered web based applications in order to visualize their RFID enabled business processes. Additional delivery channels may be considered on a merit and need basis, according to the needs of each individual pilot.