A Ubiquitous Information Technology Framework Using RFID to Support

confidencehandElectronics - Devices

Nov 27, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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A Ubiquitous Information Technology Framework Using RFID to Support
Students’ Learning



J. Wey Chen, Professor

Department of Information Management

Southern Taiwan University of Technology

peterchen@mail.s
tut.edu.tw




Abstract


RFID technology promises to change our world.
The technology will enable the critical elements of
mobility
--

business activities, people, information,
documents, and communications
-

to rethink for a
more effective business proc
ess design. This paper
focuses on the application of RFID in school settings

and concludes with
a ubiquitous IT framework
proposal
using RFID for educational applications
which satisfies

the need for a scalable, ready
-
to
-
use

and easy
implementation soluti
on.



1. Introduction


RFID stands for radio frequency identification. It
is an auto
-
identification technology which uses radio
waves to transmit information. RFID systems
generally comprise of three main components, namely:
tags, readers, and a data pro
cessing system. Like
other auto
-
identification technologies, its underlying
purpose is to allow computers to acquire identifying
information about physical objects in the real world.


2.
RFID
s
chool
a
pplication scenario


The RFID market is being driven by
several
implementation models, promising efficiencies in
supply chain management, manufacturing logistics,
and asset management and security
[5
]
.


Since it was
introduced in the early 1990s, the RFID system has
enjoyed tremendous growth of approximately a 4
0%
compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Estimates of
growth in the world’s RFID industry range from
23%
-

35% annually, and the world market for RFID
goods and services is projected to be at least $3
billion by 2008

[2].

Although the potential for viable R
FID
applications appears virtually limitless,
security/access control and transportation are still the
dominant applications in the RFID market in the
current situation [
4
]. Security/access control, student
attendance
automation,
library applications, park
ing
control,
p
ayment
s
ystems
,
and object/personnel
tracking can be of greater assistance with the
administration and management of schools.


3. A
t
otal
s
olution RFID
f
ramework


The present

school
information processing
situation is characterized by a growing number of
applications that require access to various pre
-
existing local data sources located in heterogeneous
hardware and software environments. The crucial
need for school IT person
nel to have ready
-
to
-
use
solutions that simplify and increase the speed of
implementation and the ability to have user
-
friendly
global information sharing environment serves as a
foundation for us to design a scalable, hardware
-
independent RFID solution.
The generic framework,
as shown in Figure 1, comprises of the following four
layers
[1, 3]
:



Hardware Layer



Hardware Integration Layer



Middleware Layer



Integration Layer




3
.1 Hardware
l
ayer


This layer comprises of the RFID hardware like
readers for captu
ring the data, antennas for providing
a better range, tags that hold the RFID data of a
product item, and sensors for external data capture.


3
.2 Hardware
i
ntegration
l
ayer


This layer comprises of the software interfaces
needed for interacting with the ha
rdware and passing

the data to the middleware layer. This separate
integration layer for hardware makes the framework
hardware

independent.















Figure 1.

The
g
eneric

RFID framework



3
.3 Middleware
l
ayer


This layer is the heart of the prop
osed RFID
framework as it receives all the data read from the
RFID hardware, validates & extracts intelligence out of
the read data, and prepares it for usage in the target
enterprise applications. The framework provides
scalable and flexible re
-
usable com
ponents for
enterprises to implement based on the specific needs.
Six major tasks/functions to be performed at the
middleware layer are:



Event management



Business Action Management



Task Management and Scheduling



Exception Handling



Interface Management



Auth
entication

&
Authorization


3
.3.1 Event
m
anagement


Event management provides various reusable
functions to validate and log the read data.



Data Parsing: The data read by the Reader
Adapter is parsed to gather the various data
blocks from the RFID card/ta
g and to interpret
the read elements.



Data Validation: Cleansing and validating the
incoming data is needed so that only valid
application specific data is passed and the rest
is filtered out. The compliance to EPC is also
verified here.



Queuing and Logg
ing: An intermediate data
structure to hold/queue
-
in data in memory and
then filter out the application specific data by
applying business rules. All the application
relevant data is logged on to the persistent
storage medium for future processing.
Functio
ns related to EPC
-
IS are taken care of
here.


3
.3.2 Business
a
ction
m
anagement



A centralized tool to configure the actions to
be performed by the framework on the read
data and the order in which it is to be
performed.



Orchestration of all the actions su
ch as
parsing, logging, business rules application,
alerts handling in a logical sequence.


3
.3.3 Task
m
anagement and
s
cheduling


The application requirement is broken down into
various tasks and each task is scheduled for execution.



Administrative featur
es for creation and
execution of business processes from external
systems are provided with a UI support



Tasks can be scheduled as one
-
time or
recurring with a specified frequency.


3
.3.4 Exception
h
andling

The exception handling functionality caters to b
oth
systems errors as well as taking action on application
alerts:



All exceptions are trapped and handled
following the standard framework approach.



Application alerts management


3
.3.5 Interface
m
anagement


Interfaces are built for communicating betwee
n
different kinds of applications. Typically RFID
applications have two kinds of interfaces:



Interface that communicates between the
RFID reader and the RFID application. This
interface should initiate the tag/card
connection and communicate/exchange data

between the RFID application and the
tag/card.



Interface responsible to communicate between
the RFID application and any other Enterprise
application, other RFID applications or with
the persistence data storage medium.


3
.3.6 Security



Authentication: A
uthentication is the process
of verifying the genuineness of an entity. This
involves verification of the identification
parameters against the same stored in a
persistence medium or on dynamic hash
algorithms. Authenticating the RFID tag
against a set of
readers is made possible by
matching the key stored for a reader and the
tag key.



Authorization: Authorization is finding out if
the person/item once authenticated is
permitted to access the resources that are
available. User or System trying to access th
e
resources once authenticated should be
checked for the group to which it belongs and
what subset of the resources the particular
user/system could access.


3.4


Integration
l
ayer


The objective of the integration layer is to provide
features and options for
integrating the RFID
middleware components with a variety of backend
enterprise applications. The integration layer manages
data flow between the various RFID devices and the
backend enterprise systems like, inventory management
or Supply
-
chain management.

Some of the standard
mechanisms applied for integration are asynchronous
messaging, Application Connectors and Web services.


4
.

Advantages of RFID
f
ramework


The proposed generic application framework has the
following characteristics when the school uti
lizes this
system:




The Modular and Layered architecture provides


scalable and extensible solutions.



Is independent of RFID hardware and the


enterprise systems to be integrated.



Provides re
-
usable components for interpreting,


logging, and integrating

the read RFID data.



uitable fo
r Electronic Product Code (EPC)



compliance as well as proprietary implementations.



Supports distributed deployments of RFID


solutions.



Provides for scheduling
and repeated execution of



routine tasks.


5
.
Conclusion


Cho
osing and using a RFID requires detailed effort,
from initial investigation and vendor selection through
planning and implementing the conversion to ongoing
maintenance and evaluation. As with any new
technology, RFID is a risk. If you want to take
advan
tage of this emerging RFID technology to help
your school focus more on its educational missions and
less on time
-
consuming tracking and clerical problems,
a careful homework and study will make you calculate
and recognize the potential risk.

Although li
brarians everywhere are closely watching
RFID technology, the lack of standards and best
practice guidelines will present a serious issue and
challenge for school IT systems. Hence, schools
should be among the top entities putting pressure on
the governme
nt and industry to develop standards,
public policy, and best practice guidelines for their use.

Research on the actual achievement of the promises
of RFID and a more detailed understanding of effective
implementation strategies also need to be undertaken.


6.
References


[1]

Angeles, R.

RFID technologies: supply
-
chain
applications and implementation issues, Information System
Management, Winter 2005.


[2]
Bien Perez, Scramble on to supply electronic tagging,
South China Morning Post, May 18, 2004.


[3]
Build an Effective RFID Architecture
.
available at
http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/781/1/82/


[4]

Krebs, D., Michael J. Liard While Paper: Global
Markets and Applic
ations for Radio Frequency

Identification
Venture Development Corporation, 2001.


[5]
The Bridgefield Group
.

ERP/Supply chain Glossary,
available at
http://www.bridgefieldgroup.com/glos8.htm
.