Practical use of RFID

murmurgarbanzobeansElectronics - Devices

Nov 27, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Practical use of RFID
Mark Farragher
FirstFocus BV
Topics
• Who is FirstFocus BV?
• What is RFID?
• The Shop of the Future
• Problems
• Our solutions
• Tips
FirstFocus BV
• Business Software
• Development Tools
• Ergonomics and Design
• R&D lab
The R&D lab does RFID research
Technology
Technology
• Microsoft .NET Framework or Mono
• Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle
• HTML & Macromedia Flash
Mission: we want to be able to service all
technical platforms
What is RFID?
RFID is a technology that uses electromagnetic
waves to identify objects, animals or people in
an unique manner. RFID is an emerging
technology that will supplement or replace the
barcode.
RFID Frequencies
10 kHz 100 kHz 1 MHz
10 MHz
100 MHz 1 GHz
2.45 GHz
10 m
125kHz – 134,2kHz
5-10 cm
13.56 MHz
30 cm
5.8 GHz
> 10 m
10 GHz
868 - 955 MHz
3-6 m
This one is preferred
RFID Frequencies
€20 – €70 10 meters – 1 kmActive tags, 2.45 GHz
Supply chain, airport luggage
Libraries, consumer products, pilot projects
Identification of people and animals
Toll gates, fleet management
PriceRangeFrequency
€1 – €801 cm – 1 meter125 kHz – 134 kHz
3 – 6 meters
10 cm – 1 meter
€0.30 – €0.50915 MHz
€0.20 – €1.0013.56 MHz
Advantages of RFID
The advantages of RFID over traditional
barcodes are:
– Contactless identification over a range of
1 cm – 1 km
– Reads multiple products at the same time
– Reads through packaging materials
– Unique identification of individual products
RFID implementations
Supply chain
– Quality control
– Tracking pallets
Retail
– Narrowcasting
– Anti-theft
– Selfscan cash registers
Healthcare
– Tracking equipment
– Matching patients to medicine
The EPC standard
This part is new
Disadvantages of RFID
The disadvantages of RFID are:
– Passive tags cannot be read near metal or liquids
– Passive tags are not always scanned correctly
– The American firm Intermec wants a license fee for
each EPC implementation
– Chicken and egg problem: the big value-add will
come when everbody is using it
– There is no generic standaard yet
– The consumer is worried about privacy issues
Boycott?
Privacy
Privacy is guaranteed, because:
– The RFID tag only contains a serial number
– Typical retail tags can only be read within
a 1 meter range
– Retail tags can be disabled after checking
out by using a kill switch
Our advice
Only use RFID when:
– Barcodes are not a viable alternative
– Individual products must be uniquely identified
– Products need to be read simultaneously
– Products need to be read through packaging
materials
– Contactless or continuous reading of products
is required
A couple of examples
• Selfscan cash registers. Barcode systems have
a maximum reliability of only 80%!
• Archives: identify dossiers stored in boxes
• Linking corporate laptops to resource
management software
• Tracking pallets in a warehouse
• Detecting when products are picked up from a
shelf in a supermarket
The consequences of RFID
What can we expect?
– The data warehouse will grow in size
by a hundredfold
– Datamining will be very important
– Narrowcasting replaces “shotgun” advertising
– New business models: dynamic pricing, renting
shelves to suppliers, …
…in about 7 – 10 years!
The shop of the future
Demo shop at MediaPlaza:
“The Shop of the Future”
Smart Shelves
…with a real-time inventory
Selfscan cash register
• Hybrid cash
register: works with
barcode and RFID
• Extra verification by
using scales
Quickscan cash register
Summing up
Smart Shelves
• Narrowcasting
• Real-time inventory
Selfscan cash register
• Barcode and RFID scanning
• Extra verification by using scales
Quickscan cash register
• Bulk scanning
But check it out for yourselves…
• Harry van der Hoff of MediaPlaza
demonstrates the Selfscan cash register:
Video Presentation
• Harry van der Hoff demonstrates the
Quickscan cash register:
Video Presentation
Problems
1.There isn’t one RFID standard!
– Different tags: Philips ICode1, Texas Instruments
TagIt, ISO15693
– Each tag has a specific memory geometry
– Each tag has a specific command set
– Not all tags support EPC, kill switch, encryption,
onboard memory
Problems
2.RFID uses a binary protocol!
– Little or no abstraction between software and
hardware
100010011101…
Problems
3.Not all events are registered
– The command GetInventory detects new
tags in the antenna field
– Tags that leave the antenna field are not
detected!
Problems
4.Not all products can be scanned!
– Passive tags cannot be read near products
containing metal or liquids
Problems
5.Two antennas interfere with each other!
– The minimum gap between two antennas is
60 centimeters (passive tags, 13.65 MHz)
60 centimeters
Problems
6.Remember the attack surface !
– Tags are the weakest link in your security.
Never store prices on the tags!!
Strong security
Weak security
Our solutions
No generic standard
Solution: hide the differences between tags
in code
Tag
ITag
ISOTag
TagItTag
ICodeTag
No generic standard
…ITag then looks like this:
– Generic interface for all tags
– Contains common functionality for ISO,
TagIT and ICode1 tags
– Flat memory model hides differences in
memory geometry
Binary protocol
Solution: create objects that translate high
level functions to the binary protocol
Protocol
IProtocol
ISOProtocol
TagItProtocol
ICodeProtocol
Binary protocol
…making the code very easy to read:
RFIDReader reader = RFIDReader.Current;
reader.ResetAntenna();
ITag[] tags = reader.GetInventory();
foreach (ITag tag in tags) {
Console.Writeln(tag.SerialNumber);
tag.Quiet();
}
Note: RFID is usually not very time critical, so use
Java or Microsoft.NET !
Tags leaving the antenna field
Solution: reset tags after each scan
– So: do a GetInventory
– Look for differences, but watch out for
hysteresis!
– Do a ResetAntenna
This takes about 200 milliseconds
Metal and liquids
For now there is no easy fix 
– Our solution: also use the barcode, like with our
Selfscan cash register
– Active tags are not affected by metal.
– The Japanese firms AICA Kogyo and Toppan
Forms are developing tags that are not affected by
metal
– 125 kHz tags are not affected by liquids
Interfering antennas
Solution: smart stacking
– Alternatingly stack
antennas left and right
– Use metal foil
Alternative: antenna multiplexer,
or antenne tuning
Security
Solution: only use the serialnumber or the
EPC code
– All sensitive information is stored in a
database server
Chicken soup, €3.49
9865003214
Tips
Keep time domains strictly separate
Database
RFID scanner
Backoffice
ODBC ODBC
Singleton
object
SOAP / Remoting SOAP / Remoting
Tips
Use a robust architecture
RFID scanner
Backoffice
Enqueue
Worker
thread
Scan once, then stop
Job
queue
Dequeue
Thread
pool
Unpool
Tips
Don’t use an embedded platform,
use Java or Microsoft .NET
– Flexible and rapid prototyping
– Garbage collection
– Database support
– Good and stable multithreading
– Support for RPCs
– Performance is fine
Reality check
You are here!
Thank you!
Questions?
Mark Farragher
FirstFocus BV
http://www.firstfocus.nl
mark@firstfocus.nl