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  1. 1. RFID for Automating Business Processes RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION (RFID) FOR AUTOMATING BUSINESS PROCESSES Mahmod S. Al-Muhamed Saudi Aramco Dharhan, Saudi Arabia 1
  2. 2. RFID for Automating Business Processes 1. ABSTRACT The purpose of this white paper is to provide a brief explanation on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies, potential applications and some of RFID case studies. The paper will start by explaining Passive and Active technologies with full details, that which include each technology’s definitions, RFID components and Architecture Design. Furthermore, it will explain the ISO 18000 standards, EPC standards, RFID based on 802.11 standards, frequency, Read Range, Data Rate and other technical points. The paper will give a brief explanation on the RFID project life cycle from the business case developing stage, plan, design, test till maintenance and support. Additionally, the paper will focus on global potential applications and provide a full market analysis on verity of RFID technologies and provide some business cases. Finally, the paper will highlight potential applications at Saudi Aramco, types of RFID technologies that will be used and the expected RFID Architecture Design in Saudi Aramco. 2. INTRODUCTION: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) contributes directly on improving business processes. RFID has the ability to automate the identification and data collection processes. It is able to reduce error rate, enhance business processes life-cycle and provide real time tracking for any items that can be tagged. Recently, the industry introduced RFID applications and solutions that suite variety of business requirements. Asset management is one of the major RFID applications deployed for warehouses, medical institutes and enterprises. The development on RFID solutions has moved beyond assets management. It started penetrating into other business applications. Companies and enterprises deploy RFID technologies for various access control, postal 2
  3. 3. RFID for Automating Business Processes identification, airlines baggage screening, animal tracking and admissions ticketing [9]. On the other hand, RFID requires extensive efforts during the development and implementation phases. Moreover, RFID technology selection stage is the most critical stage during design phase. After successful RFID deployment, business and operation sectors will realize immediate business benefit and proven Return on Investment (ROI). 3. RFID FUNCTIONALITY & TECHNOLOGIES The definition of the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is to capture the identity of objects automatically using radio waves and transfer the information wirelessly to back-end applications. The RFID system includes tags, readers, antennas, middleware and as illustrated in Figure (3.1). The industry has divided RFID technologies to three major concepts based on the power source as follows: 1. Passive 2. Semi-passive 3. Active Each of these technologies uses different standards, frequencies, data rates, power consumption and sizes. 3.1 RFID TAGS (TRANSPONDER): RFID tag (Transponder) is located on the objects for identification and to store specific data related to the object. Tag is composed of chip (Integrated Circuit), antenna and power source as details below: Tag Antenna: it receives the signals from the reader and radiates a response back to the reader. 3
  4. 4. RFID for Automating Business Processes Power Source: Tags require power to communicate with readers. Tags can obtain this power from electromagnetic waves released by readers or from a built-in battery. The tag’s power requirements depend on different factors, which are: operating distance between the tag and the reader, the radio frequency used and tag functionality. Based on the power source, tags are categorized as follows: • Passive]: This type draws power from the reader device that sends out electromagnetic waves [17], Figure (3.2). • Active: Power source is provided through a battery that is used to run the microchip circuit inside the tag which broadcast the signals to the RFID readers [17], Figure (3.3). • Semi-Passive: It includes a battery to run the microchip circuit but communicate by drawing power from the reader. This design reduce time for tag to response and can increase its read range [17] 3.2 RFID READER (INTERROGATORS): RFID Reader or interrogator provides radios signals and receive signals from the tag in order for reader to read and write to the tag. Reader consists of: • Receiver (amplifier and demodulator) • Transmitter (Modulator and Power amplifier) • Oscillator • Controller/processor The industry supplies market with multiple types of RFID reader, starting from Fixed, Mobile, Handheld up to PCMCIA Readers, in order to meet business needs and operations requirements, Figure (3.4). 4
  5. 5. RFID for Automating Business Processes 3.3 RFID FREQUENCIES: RFID system operates at different frequency bands based on the functionally and application requirements as summarize on the below Table (3.1): 4. RFID TECHNOLOGY SELECTION & DESIGN: The RFID implementation is more than just establishing potential locations of RFID reader and antenna. It requires assessment and analysis of business process, integrates components to network infrastructure and environmental influence that may affect the implementation. The deployment of RFID requires forming a team, which consist of business subject matters experts, applications developers and communications engineers. The team should work together in all stages. The RFID deployment, which consists of the following stages: Business Processes Analysis: to establish a baseline by identifying and analyzing the current business process called “As-Is”. The result of the analysis will be used to optimize the business processes by eliminating non-added value tasks and redesign the business processes called “To-Be”. Site Survey: to collect info on RF interference, environmental issues, network infrastructure, physical location of the RFID devices and power. Technology Selection: to identify the RFID functionally, frequency selection, RFID tags type (passive, active), data rate, read range, RFID protocol, standards, middleware selection, centralize management and RFID network security. This stage is considered as the most important and critical stage from the whole lifecycle of the RFID deployment. 5
  6. 6. RFID for Automating Business Processes Implementation: to integrate middleware to existing applications, install RFID devices, connect devices to networks and perform equipment configurations. At this stage the difficult decisions has been made. Test: to define success factors that indicate the expected result is achieved by performing different test scenarios starting by testing the readers’ connectivity, tag reach by the readers, middleware ability to filter tags, applications receive tags’ details. Maintenance: RFID devices require continues by through centralized management system for monitoring, IOS updates and new features deployment. 4.1 DESIGN SCENARIOS The deployment of RFID functionalities will follow the lifecycle, explained in section 4.1, but each stage will be different depending on the operations nature. The following design scenarios were selected as samples: Warehouses Design: RFID system is deployed at warehouses for assets management. This functionality can be achieved by a collection of RFID technologies such as passive UHF and active tags. Additionally, the protocols can be different based on the standards, for instance, the deployment might have Gan2 standard and using Wi-Fi coverage for active tag based on 802.11 standard. Healthcare Design: RFID technology is deployed in medical institute to mange medical assets through Real Time Location System (RTLS) based on Wi-Fi (802.11) standard. Whereas, the Passive technology is deployed to track blood- samples using High Frequency (HF). Moreover, the format and the 6
  7. 7. RFID for Automating Business Processes characteristics of a tag can be customized based on the objects, size and data capacity 4.2 DEPLOYMENT CONCERNS & RECOMMENDATION RIFD technologies deployments can be deployed across the enterprises such as healthcare, logistics, manufacturing and retailers. Therefore, some of the concerns have been addressed to be considered during the selection of RFID systems and technologies, Figure 4.3: RFID Middleware: to integrate RIFD components to the network, offer development tools, handle data movement from readers to applications and perform data filtering and aggregation. Management: to manage RFID components though cartelize application for real-time monitoring, operating system update, configuration and events reporting. Flexibility: to support verity of standards and protocols, support new tags formats and ability to add custom logic to extend functionality. 5. RFID APPLICATIONS AND MARKET STATISTICS Today, RFID applications and solutions effect the whole business environments by increasing productivity, improving security, preventing errors, automating data collections and object identity and achieving compliance. 5.1 RFID MARKET ANALYSIS AND FORECAST The RFID market is promising and the projections for RFID business grows strongly from $2.8 billion in 2006 to $26 billion in 2016 and the market will rise to $27.88 Billion in 2017[22]. The number of RFID tags has been sold for last 60 years is 3.752 billion, 27% of that number were sold in 2006 as listed in 7
  8. 8. RFID for Automating Business Processes Table (4.3) and 19% in 2005. In 2007, IDTechEx expect 1.71 billion tags will be sold and total RFID market value (including all hardware, systems, integration etc) across all countries will be $4.96 Billion [22]. In 2008, 6.8 billion tags will be sold for baggage, animals, books, tickets and other non retail markets and 15.3 billion tags for pallets/cases [22]. RFID interrogators will reach $1.14 billion in 2008 for EPC interrogators and $0.75 billion in the same year for other interrogators, such as Near Field Communication interrogators [22]. 5.2 RFID CASE STUDIES & APPLICATIONS The RFID case studies reach more than 3000 case studies’ world-wide in 2007 at different RFID solutions comparing with 2000 cases in 2006 according to the IDTechEx knowledgebase [9]. IDTechEx believes that “there are about 10,000 cases of RFID in action, but IDTechEx is not in the business of listing all of them. The number of new cases is increasing rapidly, with IDTechEx analyzing and recording about 60 per month” [9]. Top 10 Countries [9] : IDTechEx includes RIFD case studies from the whole contraries. USA is in the lead position on developing the case studies since the establishment of IDTechEx. USA provides around 1002 up to today, as illustrated in chart (5.1). RFID Application Classifications [9] : RFID solution has been classified to thirteen (13) categories according to IDTechEx knowledgebase as listed in Table (5.2), where the top ten (10) RFID applications of these categories has been illustrated in chart (5.2). 8
  9. 9. RFID for Automating Business Processes 5.3 RDIF CASE STUDIES SAMPLES The purpose of RFID business case to recognize feasibility of RFID deployment, identify business opportunities, assesses the risks and to structure and implement a strategy for change that clearly identifies a sympathetic return on investment (ROI). Appropriately applied RFID can significantly influence the primary added-value objectives of business activity including: • Increased revenues and enhanced internal cost reductions through product and process improvements, innovation and enhanced services. • Enhanced competitiveness through more efficient and effective processes, communications, quality and customer care. • Enhanced management and safety of people. • Enhanced asset management and maintenance. Based on the above statistics and benefit, the below case studies were selected as samples: 1. Enhance Airlines Services (McCarran Intl. Airport) [3]: According to IATA, the airline trade association, enthuses, "In the next few years the air industry will be tagging an ever higher proportion of its two billion bags yearly and it will use RFID in other new applications as well." a. Issues : i. Extensive time check-in and go through security ii. Un-reliable process to ensure passenger-bag matching b. Solution: i. RFID-enabled security cards w/ biometric authentication processes ii. Readers that authenticate traveler at check-in, security & boarding iii. Tag on luggage for passenger identification c. Result: 9
  10. 10. RFID for Automating Business Processes i. Better security ii. Improved speed & efficiency of checking & boarding 2. Enhance inventory management (Boeing) [3] : Assets management is part of any indusial or services organizations day to day activities. RFID will ease the inventory management for expensive and non expansive items. RFID will be able to provide Real-Time tacking and automate the process of assets move between sits, figure (5.2). a. Issue i. Labor/time intensive inventory process ii. Errors causing sunk costs and lost & aged products b. Solution i. RFID at dock doors, conveyers & forklifts ii. Location visibility with RFID tags on the floor c. Results i. Processing time reduced 2x-60x for shipping, receiving and verification ii. Potential 20% operational savings in DC 6. RFID AT SAUDI ARAMCO RFID technologies have been introduced to Saudi Aramco in order to enhance supply chain management business processes, improve access control and increase assets utilization and control. 6.1 RFID HIGH LEVEL DESIGN & PROJECTS STATUS Saudi Aramco requires passive and activate RFID technologies to be deployed based on the business needs and operation requirement. The RFID design consist of middleware, passive RFID readers (Mobile & Fixed), passive tags and active tags at different frequencies as illustrated in Figure (6.1). The RFID will be established over the existing corporate network utilizing the wireless network. Additionally, the core business of Saudi Aramco such as matirale 10
  11. 11. RFID for Automating Business Processes management, finance, human recourses run over SAP application that will ease the RFID system integration. • Project under exestuation: o Access control: Saudi Aramco deploys RFID system for car access control using active tag • Projects Under evaluations: o Saudi Aramco is evaluating RFID UHF tags at warehouses using RFID for automating the business processes. o Saudi Aramco is evaluating active tag to provide Real-Time at medical for assets management. • Potential Applications: o The potential RFID application at Saudi Aramco can be classified to assets management and access control. Asset Management: Saudi Aramco manages huge range of expansive and non-expansive assest across the company. These assets require continues maintenance and tracking that are mange with semi-automation by utilizing the SAP application for asset management and maintain data entry manual. RFID can be provided by passive tags, active tag or both together. Access Control: Saudi Aramco has vireos types of access control, for instant, main gate and door access or company identification card. 11
  12. 12. RFID for Automating Business Processes 7. REFERENCES 1. Active RFID Attracts More Big Money: Raghu Das, IDTechEX, 2006, website:http://www.idtechex.com/products/en/articles/00000511.asp 2. A Basic Introduction to RFID technology and Its use in the supply chain: LARAN RFID, 2005 3. Applications & Case Studies: John Rommel, Symbol, 2006 4. Better Asset Management with RFID: Leanne Smullen, 2006 5. Defining RFID: A review of RFID Forecasts: Glyn Holland, IDTechEX, 2005, website: http://www.idtechex.com/products/en/articles/00000272.asp 6. EPCglobal Tag Data Standards Version 1.3: EPCgolobal, 2006 7. EPC Value Model for Healthcare & life sciences: EPCgolbal, 2005 8. EPCgolbal calss1 Gen 2 RFID specifications: Aline, 2005 9. Idtechex RFID applications classification: website: http://www.idtechex.com/ 10. Item level RFID - the prosperous market 2006-2016: Peter Harrop, IDTechEX, 2006, website: http://www.idtechex.com/products/en/articles/00000485.asp 11. ISO – RFID STANDARDS For Item Management: Don Ferguson, President Lyngsoe Systems, Canada, 2006 12. ISO/IEC 18000-2: ISO, 2004 13. ISO/IEC 18000-1:ISO, 2004 14. RFID in Actions: IDTechEX, 2006) 15. RFID Use Cases For Government (Symbol, 2006) 16. RFID A basic primer (AIM international, Inc, 1998) 17. RFID Cost Tutorial: EPCglobal, 2005 18. RFID Is Set to Redefine Industry Processes: Gartner, 2005 12
  13. 13. RFID for Automating Business Processes 19. RFID market to reach $7.26Bn in 2008: IDTechEX, 2005, website: http://www.idtechex.com/products/en/articles/00000169.asp 20. RFID in 2006: A story of extremes (IDTechEX, 2006) 21. RFID Forecasts, Players & Opportunities 2007-2017 (IDTechEX, 2006) 22. RFID Market $2.77Bn in 2006 to $12.35Bn in 2010: Raghu Das, IDTechEX, 2006 23. Real Time Locating Systems 2006-2016: Dr. Peter Harrop, IDTechEX, 2006, website: http://www.idtechex.com/products/en/articles/00000453.asp 24. RFID in the Air Industry and Land Transport: Dr. Peter Harrop, IDTechEX, 2006, website: http://www.idtechex.com/products/en/articles/00000486.asp 25. RFID Systems and Operating Principles: Vlad Krotov, University of Houston, 2005 26. Performance of EPC Gen 2 in the Real World: Daniel Deavours, Research Director, RFID Alliance Lab, 2006 27. The myth and reality of baggage tagging: Raghu Das, IDTechEX,, 2006, website: http://www.idtechex.com/products/en/articles/00000534.asp 28. Technology Guide (Auto-ID center) 29. Specification for RFID Air Interface: EPCgolobal, 2005 30. Smart labeling Concept & Applications for the Consumer Packaged goods: Kleist , R. A., T. A., Chapman, D. A. Sakai, B. S. Jarvis, 2005 31. UHF EPC Tag Performance Evaluation: Daniel D. Deavours, 2005 13
  14. 14. RFID for Automating Business Processes 8. FIGURES LIST : • Figure (3.1): RFID Architecture Components • Figure (3.4): RFID Reader Types • Figure (5.1): Top 10 Countries using submitting RFID Case studies • Figure (5.2): Top Ten (10) RFID applications • Figure (5.1): Mccarran Intl. Airport’s RFID baggage screening • Figure (5.2): Boeing’s RFID Assets management • Figure (6.1): RFID High Level Design at Saudi Aramco 14
  15. 15. RFID for Automating Business Processes Figure (3.1): RFID Architecture Components 15
  16. 16. RFID for Automating Business Processes Figure (3.2): Passive RFID Tags Figure (3.3): Active RFID Tags 16
  17. 17. RFID for Automating Business Processes Figure (3.4): RFID Reader Types 17
  18. 18. RFID for Automating Business Processes Top 10 Countries RFID Case Studies 2005-2007 * Sources IDTechEx ber of RFID Cases 1200 1000 800 2007 600 2006 400 200 2005 0 Num m s Ki es y he lia ce G na a ly n ea nd an do ad pa Ita t tra te Sta an hi rla or m ng an Ja C us K Fr er C U ed A et d t ni N U ni Countries Chart (5.1): Top 10 Countries Submitted RFID Case Studies [31] Top RFID Applications 642 # of Case Studies 700 600 500 400 430 400 328 261 Case Studies 300 200 107 112 90 71 100 37 36 23 24 54 0 Conveyance Item level Card (inc. key Air Baggage Vehicle Intermodal Ticket Animals Clicker/immobilis Pallet/case People Phone Passport Other Applications Chart (5.2): Top Ten (10) RFID Applications [31] 18
  19. 19. RFID for Automating Business Processes Figure (5.1): Mccarran Intl. Airport’s RFID baggage screening [4] 19
  20. 20. RFID for Automating Business Processes Figure (5.2): Boeing’s RFID Assets management [4] 20
  21. 21. RFID for Automating Business Processes Figure (6.1): RFID High Level Design at Saudi Aramco 21
  22. 22. RFID for Automating Business Processes Ultra High Low Frequency High Frequency Frequency Microwave (LF) (HF) (UHF) Passive: 860-930 Frequency <135 KHz 13.56 MHz MHz 2.4GHz Range Active: 433 MHz Passive: Auto-ID Class 0 ISO 14443 Auto-ID Class 1 ISO 802.11 ISO 18000-2 ISO 15693 Standards EPCglobal Gen 2 ISO 18000-4 ISO 18000-3 ISO 18000-6 Active: 18000-7 Data Capacity Low data capacity From 512 bits to 8k From 32 bits to 4k From 128 bits to from 64 bits to 2k bits bits 32kbit bits Read-write Read-only or Both read-only or Both read-only or Read-only or Capability read/write tags read / write tags read / write tags read / write tags Low data transfer Data transfer 25kbps 28kbps up to 1 Mbps less than 1 kbits/s 0.5 second quite Time to Read 0.002 second 0.002 second 0.3 second slow! Passive: 0.5m Passive: 2-5m Passive: 2-5m Range Passive: 1.2m Active : 2m Active: 100m Active: 30m Inductive coupling Inductive coupling Backscatter Backscatter (Near field) (Magnetic or Near Power Source (Electric or Far (Electric or Far de variety of tag field) field) field) forms Manufacturing Vehicles, Large vehicle Asset tracking Some Airline baggage, Factory, Container Supply Chain Applications Library Access control, Access Control, Logistics. Laundry Road tolling Animal Table (3.1): Passive and Active Technologies Summarization [4,10,12,13] 22
  23. 23. RFID for Automating Business Processes Value of Number of tags spend on Main Application supplied in tags (USD Highlights frequency 2006(Millions) $ Millions ) Error Drugs 15 3.5 A few KHZ prevention HF, UHF, Equipment, Other healthcare 10 5.1 2.45GHz documents Retail apparel 50 10 UHF, HF Retailer DVDs, Consumer goods 10 2.5 HF, UHF Watches, tires 0.1 0.1 UHF postal 0.5 0.3 433MHz Books, Videos, Books 50 17.3 HF DVDs, libraries Manufacturing parts, Tools 10 4 LF, HF Archiving(documents, samples)) 8 2.6 HF Test tubes 433MHz, Assets, Military 10 200 UHF Vehicles Meeting retail Pallet, Case 200 34 UHF mandates Access IDs Smart cards/payment key fobs 350 770 HF Cards Transportation, smart tickets 65 13 HF access air baggage 25 5 UHF 433MHz, Conveyances/rollcages/ULD/tote Container 10 10 UHF, HF, s ports, trolleys 2.45GHz Animals 70 140 LF 433MHz, Vehicles 2.5 23.8 Road tolling 2.45GHz 433MHz, Security, People 0.5 9.5 2.45GHz, People UWB Management Car remote car clickers 46 46 433MHz clicker Meeting Passport page/secure documents 25 100 HF international mandates laundry LF,HF Hospital, hotel Leisure LF, HF Other tag application 65 87.1 Total 1022.6 1484 Table (5.1): RFID Applications in 2006, number of tags and total value ($)[22] 23
  24. 24. RFID for Automating Business Processes Applications # of Case Studies Airlines and Airports 109 Animals and Farming 131 Books, Libraries, Archiving 107 Financial, Security, Safety 564 Healthcare 266 Land and Sea Logistics, Postal 322 Laundry 13 Leisure, Sports 389 Manufacturing 199 Military 77 Passenger Transport, Automotive 405 Retail, Consumer Goods 499 Other 7 Total 3088 Table (5.2 ): RFID applications Classifications [9] 24