Digital Object Memory

Digital Object Memory

Alexander Kröner, Jens Haupert, Ralph Barthel
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch749
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The Internet of Things envisions new roles for physical objects in everyday life. So-called “Digital Object Memories” address one of these roles – the collecting of data, about the objects as well as object-related information such as tasks, processes and even people that came in touch with the object.

Definition. A Digital Object Memory (DOMe) denotes a repository of digital data, which is linked with a physical artifact, and which is continuously enriched with data from entities that interact virtually or physically with the artifact.

Technically seen, this repository may exist at the artifact itself, outside, or both. From a content point of view, it offers access to data about a history of events up to the current point of time. The Digital Object Memory forms a building block of the Internet of Things with approaches dedicated to data models, architectures and interaction methodologies for object-centric data collection.



The Internet of Things promises radically new ways of interacting with physical objects, empowered by various kinds of digital extensions ranging from digital media linked with an object to sensors and actors attached to the object. Actually, related technology makes its way into various kinds of industry-strength applications. These are typically “closed” in some way, i.e., they are limited to a well-defined process with environment, actors and data known in advance - as it is common, for instance, in automated manufacturing, and logistics processes. However, outside of its predefined setting, uses of the aforementioned digital extensions to a “thing” are limited.

Imagine a product where tracking temperature is of relevance, e.g., a packing of frozen pizza. Would it not be helpful if the kitchen at home could inform you, the buyer, if the retailer’s logistics (stock keeping, freezer) as well as your personal logistics (your car, cooling box, fridge) were able to protect the product, so consumption is not needed right now? Conceptually, this could be easily achieved by integrating a battery-powered monitoring device into the packing. However, such a packing is a cheap single-use product, which does not justify the use of complex technology. Thus, in terms of this example, it would be more desirable for the pizza box to be associated with temperature logs from external monitoring technology. Again, this could be enabled by means of automated identification (e.g., radio frequency identification). However this approach can potentially fail because of the closed nature of the data logs, as the linked monitoring technologies will usually rely on temperature logs different in structure, syntax, and semantics.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internet of Things: The Internet of Things denotes a set of uniquely identifiable objects and their representation in virtual structures based on Internet technologies and frequently realized by tagging objects with barcodes, radio-frequency identification (RFID) or embedded systems and by storing object-related information in the World Wide Web (WWW).

Digital Object Memory (DOMe): A repository of digital data, which is linked with a physical artifact, and which is continuously enriched with data from entities that interact virtually or physically with the artifact.

Smart Object: A smart object is a physical object extended with new capabilities beyond its usual operation by integrating information technologies. These new capability allow for capturing, storage and processing of information and for communicating with other smart objects or the intelligent environment.

Augmented Memory Technology: Technologies for recording of life events and systems for collecting cues for recollection.

Provenance: The term provenance denotes the documented history of an object to provide the customer a certificated chain-of-custody. This approach requires the documentation to be complete, unmodified and from correct origin.

Value Chain: A value chain is a chain of actions and activities a firm performs in order to manufacture and to deliver a valuable thing or service. Generally such chains consist of five activities: inbound logistics, production, outbound logistics, marketing & sales, and service & support.

Smart Label: A smart label is a small transponder (generally a radio-frequency identification tag) consisting of a processing chip and an antenna included in a regular print-coded label. These labels allow physical objects to act as a smart object.

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