RFID Sensor Technology for Global Business and Homeland Security


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RFID Sensor Technology for Global Business and Homeland Security

  1. 1. University of Alaska Anchorage Logistics Department RFID Sensor Technology for Global Business and Homeland Security Dr. Oliver Hedgepeth Why Alaska for Sensor Technology? Today’s logistics and supply chain systems are being held hostage to world terror organizations. What would you do if a nuclear device exploded in a New York City harbor or airport? What would happen to the manufacturing company, the air carrier, the country of origin, and the banking system that funded this supply chain? What would happen to the political partnerships with the US, and the security companies, if a cargo of cookies from Asia entered New York City after traveling through Alaska air cargo handling and ground security system, and then detonated a nuclear weapon upon landing? This scenario is one of many challenges and changes in thinking taking place in today’s world. There is a move to better understand the international culture of the different countries. Environmental business protections vary in importance from one country to another. Structures that have withstood decades or centuries are now at risk of changing rapidly, or crumbling altogether. The final definition of exactly what globalization is, or is not, has yet to be written. Alaska is the crossroad of this globalization. Alaska is a major gateway in the supply chain and logistics networks of global business companies and military defense establishments. Alaska is nine hours by air passenger and cargo carrier from the major developed countries around the world. Alaska is also home to major sea cargo containers entering the US, and a vital cargo link to Canada and the lower 48 states by truck, rail and sea routes. Alaska is a critical source for essential energy products through her pipeline. Sensor technology in the form of passive and active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags has been recognized by the University of Alaska as a means for improving security of goods and inventory, and as a measurement tool of the complex components interacting in the supply chains linking the world economy and world safety. The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) has established an RFID Research Laboratory to test basic and applied uses of RFID sensor technology on Defense Department and commercial goods management systems. The focus of current research is on sensor networking and measurement. This sensor networking involves testing the use of different active and passive RFID sensor data bases into integrated software systems for use in product inventory management, product life and freshness issues, quality of product movement, and security of product and container interactions within a complex network of logistics systems from producer to customer. Supply chain measurement is essential to better understand the impact that this RFID technology is having and will have on the economics of global business, security, and the viable systems model of a wide range of inter and intra-linked supply chains. 5/24/2010 1
  2. 2. University of Alaska Anchorage Logistics Department The University of Alaska Anchorage has become a major research and development center for RFID sensor and economic research and developments. This is due to the uniqueness of location of Alaska in today’s globalization impacts on military and commercial goods management, the initiatives and interests being taken by manufacturers and distributors, the major cargo carriers that use Alaska as an essential linchpin in their supply chains, the research program on complexity of logistics systems, and the number of faculty actively participating in RFID research and developments. There is a new world economy and a new world structure emerging. The University of Alaska Anchorage is at the center of exploring that definition through the lens of sensor technology and economic modeling and theory, to strive toward a balance in understanding. The fact that there is neither a clear definition of globalization nor a clear understanding of the impact of sensor technology in the global market has become a forcing function for universities like UAA to examine the interactions of sensor technology in the world economy. UAA’s RFID Laboratory Purpose The purpose of the Logistics Department’s RFID Laboratory is to explore, evaluate, and develop RFID tag designs for local logistics businesses, such as Matanuska Maid Dairy, Horizon Lines, etc. as well as cargo containers entering the US from all international carriers; to identify and develop analytical tools; to develop economic models and templates for visualizing and examining the practical and cost effective use of RFID sensor technology. A secondary purpose of the lab is to provide sensitivity analysis of different types of sensor structures for assessing supply chain and logistics system risks of various security breaches. Scope of the Logistics Department Research Using the UAA RFID Laboratory in conjunction with the major air, rail, truck, sea and pipeline cargo carriers in Alaska, and major international cargo carriers, the Logistics Department is developing the following information: • Quantitative Estimates of Losses and Gains. These losses are in terms of direct costs for repair and replacement of damaged supply chains and logistics systems; direct costs associated with the loss of logistics business functions; casualties; people displaced from work centers; quantity of loss cargo handling and revenue; and economic impacts. The gains will be in terms of Return on Investments for companies perusing the use of RFID sensor technology in various scenarios. • Functionality Losses and Gains. These losses are in terms of logistical functions and restoration of supply chains, critical linkage elements in local and global supply chain systems, and components of transportation and materials management lifeline. The gains will be in the improved processes, labor management, control and communications of inventory systems. • Extent of Induced Hazards. These hazards are in terms of global impacts to security system breach, stockpiling of materials trapped in the different corners of the supply chain, and loss of cash flows. 5/24/2010 2
  3. 3. University of Alaska Anchorage Logistics Department This RFID Laboratory work will also provide validation of information needed for developing RFID sensor technology that can lessen the economic impacts for use in: • Mitigating the possible consequences of supply system failures for supply chain cash flow management. • Anticipating the possible nature and scope of RFID sensor response needed to cope with a disaster prone scenario, as well as improve effectiveness and efficiencies of scale within success prone scenarios. Methodology Used in the RFID Laboratory The RFID Laboratory at UAA and associated professors and research assistants can be used to assess security risks in Alaska as part of the global supply chain if access is granted to incorporate sufficient international cargo carriers and US security system conditions implemented in Alaska’s border entry system. The RFID Laboratory uses state-of-the-art technology in partnership with major developers of sensor technology, such as Alien Technology, Crane, Chenega, Nano Logistics, and others. The UAA investment in research for use by the Defense Department and commercial logistics system needs and organizations, will produce a series of profiles and estimates of losses to the complex logistics systems that pass through Alaska, but also represent impacts to other US ports of entry. The analysis uses mathematical formulas, statistical analysis using traditional and neural network tools, modeling and simulations of processes and systems. This laboratory will develop sensor technology, as well as corresponding guidance and procedures to account for the impact of RFID technology in best-of-practice and hazardous supply chain events. The direct economic impacts of using RFID sensor technology for foreign carriers will be developed, as well as the economic losses in cases of catastrophic non-use of such technology. This research will develop the guidance and procedures to assess these economic losses and the metrics to understand and use the analysis tools for future what-if analysis. Expected Benefits of the RFID Laboratory This laboratory will provide guidance, procedures, templates, analytical tools, statistical analysis, software, databases, RFID sensor design, and examples to analyze: • How financial risk can be calculated and predicted in the global commercial and defense business goods flow into the US • How risk can be measured as well as reduced, transferred or avoided through the use of RFID sensor technology • How RFID engineering management, system dynamics, science of complexity, and business planning expertise fit into the process of sensor technology for complex supply chains and logistics systems. This laboratory will analyze, rank, and compare different RFID sensor systems across the environment of the Alaska foreign entry supply system, by using laboratory and research tools developed by research assistants and professors. Currently, one such research 5/24/2010 3
  4. 4. University of Alaska Anchorage Logistics Department assistant, Steve Brown, has also formed his own company, Nano Logistics, LLC, as a business spin off from his studies of logistics. Brown graduates this year with his undergraduate degree in logistics. Other successes so far are that the company, Chenega, has hired eight UAA logistics and computer science majors to work on RIFD and logistics projects for the DOD and for local companies, such as MatMaid. The information from future RFID sensor and supply chain measurement studies can provide policy makers and planners with a nationally consistent approach that will help understand the complexity and system dynamics of risk in not using RFID sensor technology, how levels of risk can be measured and compared, and the interactions of economic factors that influence such risks. The productivity and the loss estimates resulting from this RFID laboratory can be used primarily by local and global cargo carriers, state officials, federal officials, and defense and security officials to plan and stimulate efforts to improve cargo entry into the US. The information provided from the Logistics Department of UAA is an integral component of an Alaskan statewide RFID sensor and cargo-handling baseline to support better security and inventory management risk in Alaska, and the US. What this all means is that UAA, the Logistics Department, its professors, its students are leaders in logistics sensor technology. 5/24/2010 4