Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs
Q: What is Automatic Identification? A: Automatic identification, ("auto ID" for short), is the name for technologies that enable machine identification of objects. Technologies include barcodes, smart cards, voice or speech pattern recognition, biometrics (fingerprint scanners, hand geometry readers, facial geometry readers, retina scanners), optical character recognition (OCR) scanning, and radio frequency identification (RFID). One goal of auto ID is to minimize human intervention in identifying objects, which increases efficiency, reduces data entry errors, and frees up employees to do other tasks For example, an auto ID system identifies items, captures info such as product number, and passes the data to a computer without having an employee enter it manually.
Q: What is RFID? A: Radio frequency identification, or RFID, uses radio waves to automatically identify objects. Item data is stored on microchip attached to an antenna, (called an "RFID transponder" or "RFID tag"). The tag transmits the data to a reader when it passes within range, and the reader can convert the signal to digital information that can be used by computer for further processing.
Q: How does an RFID system work? A: The most basic RFID system consists of a tag and an interrogator (sometimes called a reader). The reader send out radio waves. The antenna on the tag is tuned to receive these waves. The tag modulates the waves and sends response back to the reader in the form of radio waves. The reader converts the new waves into digital data. Of course, more complex systems will have a computer network and specialized software on the "back end" to process the digital data. Q: Are the radio waves in an RFID system dangerous? A: RFID waves are similar to radio waves used to broadcast commercial AM talk shows or FM music, and are no more dangerous than those types of signals.
Q: Is RFID better than barcode? A: A RFID system isn't necessarily "better" than barcode. They are different technologies used for the same genera purpose: To identify items. Barcodes are "line-of-sight," meaning a reader or scanner for a bar code must have an unobstructed "view" of it to capture the data it contains. Typically, a worker maneuvers a scanner or the item into a position where the barcode can be read. RFID, on the other hand, isn’t line-of-sight. RFID tags can be read as long they are within range of a reader. Imagine taking a big screen TV through a barcode checkout. The clerk would hav to either extend the barcode scanner out, and maneuver around until he got a good read on the barcode, or ask you to manhandle the bow around until the same read could be made. The same scenario in an RFID system would not require any maneuvering of either the reader or the box the TV is packed in. The RFID tag would simply pass within range of a reader, and the data would be passed.
Q: Will RFID replace barcode? A: Probably not right away, if ever. Barcode is inexpensive and in widespread use, making it easy to implement and use. There are also certain standards for barcodes that ensure one barcode produced at one factory will be able to read at many other places. RFID is more expensive, with readers costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and individual tags costing anywhere from 50 cents to 20 dollars (or more). RFID manufacturers, users, developers and
and standards remain "loose" or "undefined.45 GHz) is also used. Many consumer groups object to the use of RFID tags. While companies jockey for position in the RFID world. Barcodes. and restrict RFID use to "warehouse" or "back end" operations where individual consumers are not yet involved. it's been too expensive and too limited to be practical for many commercial applications. and liquids tend to absorb them. at close range. Microwave frequency (2. or on certain high-value items. namely WalMart's 2005 mandate for its top 100 suppliers to use RFID in their supply chain operations. For example.
And don't forget social issues. such as fruit or vegetables. Radio waves travel through most no metallic materials. but it has not neen adopt officially by any governing body as an official standard. they can solve many of the problems associated with bar codes.
Q: What frequencies are used in RFID systems? A: RFID systems use many different frequencies. Imagine a shopper who enters a store. UHF tags might be better for scanning cartons or pallets of products as they pass through a shipping bay door into a storage facility.
There are also some technical issues that RFID systems face.integrators also have yet to settle on any standard." from 850 to 900 MHz). One other issue is that products which pass from a supplier to a value-added manufacturer to a retailer require some sort of "standard" so every entity along the product's life span can read and use the RFID data. low-frequency (LF) tags are less expensive than ultra high frequency (UHF) tags. temperature extremes and good old wear-and-tear. RFID tags and readers have to be tuned to the same frequency to perform correctly
Q: Which frequency should I use? A: Different frequencies have different operational characteristics that make them more suitable for different applications. and the RFID data is associated with a specific consumer. Currently." there is very little competitive advantage RFID has over barcode. Yet another issue is how to handle the very fast reading of data. Using RFID-derived data. that person could be subject to "SPAM ads" that target his or her buying patterns that are derived from the RFID data. although the de facto Electronic Product Code (EPC) standard has been adopted in several high-visibility projects. use les power and can better penetrate non-metallic products.
." so they require a realatively unobstructed path between the tag and reader. Another technical issue involves the orientation of the antenna to the tag to ensure readability. RFID waves act differently at different frequencies. Such concerns have prompted many pilot projects in Europe and America to abandon RFID tagging of individual products at the retail or "shelf" level. they are used only on cartons or pallets. LF tags would be used for scanning objects with high-water content. UHF tags radiate in a more "directed path. so they can be embedded in packaging or encased in protective plastic for weather-proofing and greater durability. But if tags ca be made cheaply enough. making accurate "reads" a problem. as well as other data. which would make it economically feasible to place them on individual items. UHF tags typically are longer range and can transmit product da faster." around 125 KHz)." 13. Most likely. so it's important to pick the right frequency for the right job. except in operational efficiency. is bombarded with ads for products that he or she may not need or want right at the moment. abrasions. and th inevitiable "collisions" that occur when two or more tags are read simultaneously.56 MHz) and ultra-high frequency ("UHF. And tags have microchips that can store a unique serial number for every product manufactured around the world. but the most widely used are low-frequency ("LF. on the other hand. no such standard has been settled upon. RFID and barcode will "peacefully coexist" for a long time. so competition is fierce to gain "market share" and other competitive advantages. Metal packaging tends to reflect RFID waves. viewing them as an unwarranted intrusion into privacy. a company can monitor individual item purchases. high-frequency ("HF.
Q: What are some of the disadvantages of RFID systems? A: Up to now. The current goal of mos RFID tag manufacturers and system users is to see the cost of tags go to about $0.
Q: What are some of the advantages of RFID systems? A: RFID is a proven technology that's been around since at least World War II. But UHF tags use more power and have a harder time passing through some packaging materials. because of the relative high cost of tags. and based on past purchases.05 per tag. are subject to weathering. as well. A de facto standard exists in the Electronic Product Code (EPC). To date.
Q: How much information can an RFID tag store? A: Depends on the tag itself." and can transport huge volume of information embedded in the tag itself. Governments also regulate the power of the readers to limit interference with other devices. which is used to run the chip and to broadcast a signal a reader. such as railroad ca in a railway yard.
Q: Since RFID has problems working around metal and water. But UHF RFID systems have only been around sin the mid-1990s and countries have not agreed on a UHF spectrum for RFID.usually less than 20 feet . For example. meaning they can be read from longer distances. An RFID system could use data from such a high-capacity tag to check meat in cases contamination or recall. but you have to pay special attention to system design to work around inherent limitations. an RFID-tagged package of hamburger with a high-capacity tag might contain data about the farm in the state the cow was raised in.Q: Do all countries use the same RFID frequencies? A: Most countries have assigned certain portions of the radio spectrum for certain applications. making them too expensive to put on low-cost items. Active and semi-passive tags are used for tracking high-value products over long ranges. each with up to 16 million object classes. So the system has to be set up so that if one reader reads a tag another reader does not read it again. 13. and easily pull them from retail shelves. where readers are programmed to read at different times. Using lowfrequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) tags work better on liquid products or in metal containers. the date it was processed. sometimes as much as $20 or more per tag. Generation 2 tags will have 256-bit data capacities. Their read range is shorter than active tags . Passive tags have no on-board power source. Radio waves bounce off metal and are absorbed by water at ultra-high frequencies. (in much the same way a cellular phone transmits signals to a cell tower). usually a battery. To avoid the problem.enough for some basic information about th item. the plant where was processed in. which cost less than 50 cents per tag. and unique serial number. you can. the date it was butchered.
Q: What’s the difference between passive and active RFID tags? A: Active RFID tags have a power supply. the warehouse it was stored in. Europe uses 868 MHz for UHF and the U.S. and tag collisions. Activ tags are longer ranged than passive tags. a reader collision occurs when their signals interfere with each other. with 68 billion available serial numbers in each object class. For example. A lot of companies focus on passive UHF tags. But using TDMA may mean that any RFID tag in an area where two readers overlap will be read twice. the date and time it was packaged. can act as "portable databases. an the expected expiration date. Read-write tags mean you can add or write over information to the tag when the tag is within range of a reader.but they are much less expensive than active tags and are disposable. Passive tags draw power from the reader. rather than both trying to read simultaneously. however. and their data can the never been changed. Some tags. A typical tag would relate to a database on a computer network that contains expanded product information. but good system design and engineering can overcome these problems.56 MHz is used around the world for high-frequency RFID systems.
Q: What is an Electronic Product Code? A: The Electronic Product Code (EPC) was developed by the Auto-ID Center as a rough equivalent of a Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode. which sends out RFID waves that induce a current in the tag's antenna. When two readers overlap in coverage areas. Read-only tags are encoded at time of manufacture. The EPC allows each individual product to be identitifed in relation to the company. The EPC Generation 1 tags had 64-bit and 96-bit versions.
. product. integrators use time division multiple access (TDMA). much like a current barcode. but they cost a lot. Semi-passive tags use an on-board power source. uses 915 MHz. and the distance from the reader can affect tracking. but transmit by using power from the reader. with the 96-bit versio capable of providing unique identifiers for 268 million companies.
Q: What’s the difference between read-only and read-write tags? A: RFID tags can be read-write or read-only. often hundreds of feet o more. Q: What is an RFID collision? A: Two types occure: Reader collisions. Most tags would have about 2KB of data . Tracking metal cans or bottles of liqui is therefore more difficult. can I use it to track cans or liquid products? A: Yes.
Other standards initiatives are being proposed all the time. High frequency (HF tags have a read range of less than three feet. active tags (using on-board power) can yiel read ranges of 300 feet or more. Different combinations of RFID tags and readers may yield different results. these software agents are called "savants. depending on the RFID tag data. avoiding tag collisions. you are limited only by your imagination . it may be directed to a boxing machine or to a shrink wrapping machine. such as for tracking railway cars in a depot. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is working on standards for high-frequency tags (ISO 18000-3) and ultra-high frequency tags (ISO 18000-6). and the different results may or may not fit ideally into a market as a convenient solution for any given application."
. non-functioning machinery. and intends to submit EPC protocols to ISO as proposed international standards.
Q: What are the standards for RFID? A: International standards have been adopted for very specific applications. and there's no one. Generally. When users require longer range reads.Tag collision occurs when reading multiple chips in the same reader area. and delivered at retail outlets. different hardware manufacturers. and UHF tags have read ranges up to about 20 feet.
Q: What is the read range for a typical RFID tag? A: The read range of passive tags (tags without on-board power supplies) depends on a lot of factors: the system frequency used. shipping points. as in faulty tags. Because RFID data is so readily available.
But because the market is young and so many companies are competing for market share.and currently. confusing the reader. "right" answer for RFID implementation. the disposition of components in the production process. Short answer: It's very "wide open" right now. a couple of pesky laws of physics! The most common apps are tracking goods in the supply chain. and can also alert human managers to situations where attention is needed. the power level of the reader. as more than one chip reflects back a signal at the same time. such as levels of raw materials used in production. if a package comes along a RFID-enabled conveyor belt. has its own standards process. distribution centers. or other non-routine incidents. and the location of finished products at warehouses. there are really only bro standards for implementing RFID systems. For example. EPCglob a joint technology venture composed of a number of leading RFID manufacturers and EPC proponents. Truly. depending on the variables of the situation. For example. Hardware vendors have developed different proprietary systems for having the tags respond to the reader one at a time. such as tracking livestock. low-frequency (LF) tags have read ranges of less than 12 inches. In some applications. software manufacturers. and interference from metal objects or other devices which generate radio frequencies. Q: What are some of the most common applications for RFID? A: RFID may be used for anything from managing security access at a facility to tracking cargo containers to managing warehouses. systems integrators and consultants will likely recommend a broad array of solutions. to implement a livestock tracking solution. the sheer volume would quickly overwhelm any human being working as a monito Software agents allow routine actions to be performed based on well-defined logical rules. or environment. project.
Q: What are intelligent software agents? A: Software agents are programs that automate decision making by establishing a set of rules that are processed periodically or when conditions dictate.
Several airports worldwide have installed these algorithms for passenger screening and immigration control in lieu of passport presentation. The largest single current deployment of these algorithms is in the United Arab Emirates. within about 2 seconds. forensic and police applications. information security. These include electronic commerce. PINs). Why Iris Biometrics?
Iris recognition technology combines computer vision. and controlling access to restricted areas at airports. land.
. or any other transaction in which personal identification currently relies just on special possessions or secrets (keys. The major applications of this technology so far have been: substituting for passports (automated international border crossing). the United Nations High Commission for Refugees uses these algorithms for anonymous identification of returning Afghan refugees receiving cash grants at voluntary repatriation centres. access to buildings and homes. database access and computer login. deployments in 10 airport sites will occur in 2004. passwords. "watch list" database searching at border crossings. aviation security. cards. it can serve as a kind of living passport or a living password that one need not remember but can always present. Its purpose is real-time. and optics. and sea ports have their IrisCodes quickly computed and compared against all the IrisCodes in a large database. hospital settings. you can find out more about that large scale application here. where every day about 2 Billion iris comparisons are performed. documents. and several Canadian airports (Toronto and Vancouver with the other 9 international airports soon to follow). Frankfurt. automobile ignition. In UK project IRIS (Iris Recognition Immigration System). including motherinfant pairing in maternity wards. On the Pakistan Afghanistan border. and other Government programmes. Because the iris is a protected internal organ whose random texture is stable throughout life. Amsterdam Schiphol. recognition decisions are made with confidence levels high enough to support rapid and reliable exhaustive searches through national-sized databases. Because the randomness of iris patterns has very high dimensionality.
Unlike a PIN. an Iris image cannot be stolen or lost. Athens. entitlements authorisation. high confidence recognition of a person's identity by mathematical analysis of the random patterns that are visible within the iris of an eye from some distance. ensuring the person accessing confidential and secure information is only who they claim to be. including London Heathrow.Iris biometrics technology provides a highly accurate method of verification. Iris recognition is forecast to play a role in a wide range of other applications in which a person's identity must be established or confirmed. network access and computer applications. All travellers arriving at all 17 air. pattern recognition. building entry. statistical inference.
Fingerprint matching techniques can be placed into two categories: minutae-based and correlation based. This process assures the person signing on or requesting entry is who they say they are. however in this case the number os around 400 bytes (characters) and is very specifically 'you' and cannot be mistaken for.Fingerprint-based identification among all the biometric techniques.not images . misplaced. is the
oldest method which has been successfully used in numerous applications. anyone else. It is through the pattern of these ridges and valleys that a unique fingerprint is matched for verification and authorization. For fingerprint verification. The uniqueness of a fingerprint can be determined by the pattern of ridges and furrows as well as the minutiae points. . Why Thumbprint Biometrics?
A fingerprint is made of a series of ridges and furrows on the surface of the finger. It stays with a person throughout his or her life. or stolen. The lines that create a fingerprint pattern are called ridges and the spaces between the ridges are called valleys. least invasive and reliable kind of personal identification because it cannot be forgotten. which cannot be reversed back to an actual print. or used by. This makes the fingerprint the most simple to use. features of an scanned finger are compared via the algorithm to a specific data in the database . Fingerprint is a unique feature to an individual. unlike passwords.
.but a derived piece of data. Minutiae-based techniques first find minutiae points and then map their relative placement on the finger taking not of direction and angle. Fingerprint sensors work by taking a' momentary snapshot' of a fingerprint and then apply an algorithm to this which results in a piece of data not dissimilar to ones passport number or drivers license number for example. Fingerprint authorization is potentially the most affordable and convenient method of verifying a person's identity. immutable fingerprints. Everyone is known to have unique. it is decided whether the person requesting authorization is the one allocated authorization and stored in the database. By comparing similarity between two feature sets. Minutiae points are local ridge characteristics that occur at either a ridge bifurcation or a ridge ending.
reducing technician support and help desk backlog incurred when employees forget or need to reset PINs and profiles. it is also very difficult for someone to repeat exactly the phrase originally enrolled. method
of verification. result in improved. This is very similar to the fact it is difficult to reproduce the exact version of your signature on your credit card. Why Voice Biometrics?
In comparing voice to other forms of biometrics. Since passwords are prompted. loudness and pitch of voice change depending on our situation. administrators can delete voice prints as efficiently as an email address.Voice biometrics technology provides a non-intrusive. eliminating the need to recall access cards. mood. volume. These patterns bear known resemblances to each other and the comparison results in a statistical measurement of probability. ensuring the person accessing confidential and secure information is only who they claim to be. a voice Template cannot be stolen or lost. the need to protect sensitive information will undoubtedly act as a catalyst to greater use of biometrics and in turn. cost-effective workplace. tongue. When we examine a stored print template and compare the template to a spoken passphrase upon requesting network access. natural to use. The capacity to extend data collection over multiple words for even better accuracy is a distinct advantage over image-based techniques such as fingerprints and retina scans where only a finite amount of biometric data is available. The advantage of using speech is that the number of locations is almost endless. It avoids the cost of providing employees with ID cards and tokens. password control and innumerable user identification and network security applications. Voice biometrics technology can lead to a more efficient. The commercialization of voice technology offers network administrators new opportunities to enhance advanced user authentication methods. With today's high staff turnover. they are not forgotten. the tones. The minutiae are the endpoints and bifurcations of the swirls of your fingerprint. the frequency locations plotted on the voice print table are proportionate to the physical locations of minutiae used in fingerprint identification. For this reason. In a society where telecommunications and electronic commerce are the norm. voice verification engines study our speech patterns and style of speech as opposed to attempting to determine an exact match to the stored template. Although it is virtually impossible for an impostor to copy someone's voice. Unlike a PIN. When we speak. stated in percentage form. it is the voice segment and formant patterns of the glottal tissues. mainstay technology.
. lips and jaw within the two speech samples that are compared.