Security and Reliability of RFID Technology in Supply Chain Management

Security and Reliability of RFID Technology in Supply Chain Management

Vladimír Modrák (Technical University of Košice, Slovakia) and Peter Knuth (Technical University of Košice, Slovakia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch536
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Abstract

RFID (radio frequency identification) technology can be expressed in the most universal manner as wireless identi- fication technology, which does not need the line-of-sight to be read or written. It offers enhancement of identification technologies like barcode technology. Optical barcode technology was developed in 1948 by Silver and Woodland at Drexel Institute of Technology and first commercially used in 1966 (Adams, 2002). Barcode technology stores data in the widths and spacings of printed parallel lines, or in patterns of dots, concentric circles, and hidden within images. The most extended is UPC code which was invented in 1973 and since then became everyday part of our life. Other commonly used types of barcodes are Code 128, Code 93 (Groover, 1980) and DataMatrix 2D barcode. At this time, mostly the barcodes are keeping inventory and shipments moving. RFID and barcode technology complement each other because both of them are beneficial in different situations and can be used together in many applications. RFID technology has several advantages for managing and collecting object’s data or tracking it as it moves through the supply chain (SC). Two of them are related to the increased abilities of security and reliability of the identification systems. These two properties of identification technologies are equally important for their use in supply chain management (SCM). The purpose of this chapter is to highlight selected areas of this technology that may be critical specific aspects of further RFID development and applications. We have also discussed about differences between RFID and barcode technologies especially in terms of their use in SCM and concluded this article with expectations of further development of this still progressive technology.
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Introduction

RFID (radio frequency identification) technology can be expressed in the most universal manner as wireless identification technology, which does not need the line-of-sight to be read or written. It offers enhancement of identification technologies like barcode technology. Optical barcode technology was developed in 1948 by Silver and Woodland at Drexel Institute of Technology and first commercially used in 1966 (Adams, 2002). Barcode technology stores data in the widths and spacings of printed parallel lines, or in patterns of dots, concentric circles, and hidden within images. The most extended is UPC code which was invented in 1973 and since then became everyday part of our life. Other commonly used types of barcodes are Code 128, Code 93 (Groover, 1980) and DataMatrix 2D barcode. At this time, mostly the barcodes are keeping inventory and shipments moving. RFID and barcode technology complement each other because both of them are beneficial in different situations and can be used together in many applications.

RFID technology has several advantages for managing and collecting object’s data or tracking it as it moves through the supply chain (SC). Two of them are related to the increased abilities of security and reliability of the identification systems. These two properties of identification technologies are equally important for their use in supply chain management (SCM).

The purpose of this chapter is to highlight selected areas of this technology that may be critical specific aspects of further RFID development and applications. We have also discussed about differences between RFID and barcode technologies especially in terms of their use in SCM and concluded this article with expectations of further development of this still progressive technology.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Middleware: Software for processing the streams of tag or sensor data from one or more readers and filters, aggregate and counts tag data. This process reduces amount of data before sending them to enterprise application.

EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance): Loss-prevention technology using passive RFID surveillance. This surveillance uses simple electronic tags that can be turned on or off. When an item is purchased at a store or checked out

Interrogation Zone: The area where RFID tag can be powered up and read, often between an array of antennas.

Transponder: It receives and transmits radio signals at a prescribed frequency range. After receiving the signal a transponder will at the same time broadcast the signal at a different frequency.

Automatic Identification (Auto-ID): A broad term encompassing technologies used to help machines identify objects. A host of technologies fall under the automatic identification umbrella, including barcodes, biometrics, smart cards, voice recognition and RFID.

Reader (also called an interrogator): A device that communicates with RFID tags. The reader has one or more antennas, which emit radio waves and receive signals back from the tag. Readers may have a digital display to relay information to the operator and may transmit data on to an organization’s computer network infrastructure. Readers can be either fixed or portable, and today they are beginning to be integrated into other electronic devices, such as PDA (personal digital assistant) and cell phones, and even into objects such as pens.

UPC (Universal Product Code): The barcode standard used in North America and administered by the Uniform Code Council (UCC).

EPC (Electronic Product Code): A unique number, stored in the chip on an RFID tag, that identifies an item in the supply chain allowing for tracking of that item (EPC number). Also it is a protocol for data communication and data storage (EPC protocol).

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