Open Source RFID
RFID systems can be used just about anywhere, from clothing tags to missiles to pet tags to food -- anywhere that a unique identification system is needed. The tag can carry information as simple as a pet owners name and address or the cleaning instruction on a sweater to as complex as instructions on how to assemble a car. Some auto manufacturers use RFID systems to move cars through an assembly line. At each successive stage of production, the RFID tag tells the computers what the next step of automated assembly
is. One of the key differences between RFID and bar code technology is RFID eliminates the need for line-of-sight reading that bar coding depends on. Also, RFID scanning can be done at greater distances than bar code scanning.
Open Source RFID
RadioActive is the first and only open source suite of RFID applications. Currently in the design stages this application will allow for RFID technology to reach its fullest potential. We have a philosophy that RFID technology is going to be almost as big as the Internet where RFID tags are like URLs, and their associated meta data is like the website for that tag, supplying a wealth of information. Eventually RFID will create an “Internet of things”. To reach this goal, there must be a basic application that is free, much like how the growth of the Internet would not have been possible without the Apache web server.
- The RadioActive Foundation
RadioActive is the first and only open source suite of RFID applications with a focus on the EPC network. Currently in the design stages these applications will allow for RFID technology and the EPC network to reach its fullest potential. We have a philosophy that RFID technology and the EPC network are going to be as big as the Internet where RFID tags are like URLs, and their associated meta data is like the website for that tag, supplying a wealth of information.
- RFID goes open-source
A couple of entrepreneurs out of Toronto have launched an open-source project called The RadioActive Foundation. It's mission? To develop free software for radio frequency identification (RFID) networks--a budding branch of information technology aimed at tracking all manner of people and things via tiny radio devices.
RadioActive, which launched earlier this month, is focusing on three applications initially:
1. A system for exchanging RFID data among business partners 2. Middleware for gathering and filtering data from RFID readers
3. Hardware simulation and testing tools.
- Open Source RFID Middleware Initiative Launched
The idea of an open source middleware platform is an exciting one, but the challenge will come in gaining traction. RadioActive, a separate open source RFID middleware initiative that RFID Update reported on last August, does not seem to have developed critical mass and has been silent for months. Notably, i-Konect chose to distribute Singularity under a different license than RadioActive, one that is pro-commercial and, according to Ron, "will allow companies to do whatever they want with it." However the initiative evolves, one thing is certain: cheap, standardized, and extensible middleware would change the dynamics of the industry.
- Foundation to Create Free EPC Software
The foundation's members, most of whom represent developers and consultants in the RFID industry, receive two primary advantages for their membership. One advantage, Mealling says, is the prestige of "knowing something they are working on [such as writing software for the foundation] is being used." The members also have access to a larger pool of developers and experience. "It's a community of open-source Java developers," Mealling states. Working with others on these software projects, he claims, can be a boost to an individual's career or an organization.
- Consumers get open source RFID reader
Dachary is a software developer at the department of research into man-machine interfaces at the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control. He is already known in the open source software arena, being a mainstay of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) in France.
The radio tags, based on RFID technology, are worrying civil liberties campaigners due to their surveillance potential. They see RFID being used as a way to track the spending habits of consumers by monitoring how products are moved around shops.
- Startup Opens Up RFID Middleware
RFID middleware has two main elements: edgeware and EPC information system (EPC-IS). The edgeware collects and filters data from RFID devices (tags and readers) and translates that data into business-event data by using a process manager, which is part of the Singular platform. The process manager filters data in accordance with an application-level events (ALE) specification. (EPCglobal is currently working to standardize an ALE specification; once it does, all members of the EPCglobal Network will use this ALE.) ALE software will be used to link the edgeware part of the Singularity middleware to the EPC-IS part.
- Open Source RFID project
Started by two developers from Toronto, RadioActive is the first open source suite of RFID applications. Currently in the design stages, this application should allow for RFID technology to reach its fullest potential.
To reach this goal, the developers believe that "there must be a basic application that is free, much like how the growth of the Internet would not have been possible without the Apache web server."
Singularity is an open source initiative dedicated to developing and promoting RFID Software technology for use in supply chain management, EPCglobal Network™. inventory management, payment solutions, etc. Singularity has two major components, the Middleware and EPC Information Service (EPC-IS).
Singularity provides an open source EPC-IS that supports the EPCglobal™ specifications, as well as enables successful integration of EPC related information into the enterprise. While the Middleware provides RFID/Sensor device and event management. The technology platform chosen for Singularity is Java™, as it can be introduced into almost any corporate infrastructure.
- ThingMagic Builds on Open Source with RFID Reader
ThingMagic has a solid head start. Working with embedded Linux, ThingMagic is creating RFID readers -- devices used to feed data to a computer network for tracking merchandise -- with a focus on software. "They knew embedded computing was going to be big," said Kevin Ashton, ThingMagic's VP of marketing.
The ThingMagic team was handed a challenging assignment: to create a device that can talk to any RFID tag on any radio frequency, that can integrate seamlessly with the Internet, and that can be manufactured very cheaply and in large volumes.
- Open Source RFID/Sensor Middleware M1 Release
i-Konect has released an open source, Java-based platform for integrating RFID and sensory data with enterprise applications such as CRM, ERP and warehouse management systems. The middleware, dubbed Singularity, consists of two components: middleware and information services. The middleware component captures and filters RFID data. The information services component is intended to reside as a member of an enterprise service bus (ESB), although an ESB is not required. The new software is compatible with the EPCglobal's ALE and EPC-IS standards.
- Open source 'will solve RFID's image
The public image of RFID as a secretive tool of big business and government could improve if open source groups get involved in developing RFID standards, according to one UK charity.
The OSI recently formed a consortium of large organisations to create EPCglobal compliant open source software for commercial environments — the group hopes to release the software in the next two years. EPCglobal is the body charged with developing RFID standards.
- Open Source RFID Software Foundation Formed
The Foundation's initial releases will include implementations of the ALE, Reader Protocol, and EPC-IS standards that will enable both internal middleware and external B2B data exchange support. The Foundation is also working toward its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in order to support future donations. The Foundation's website, radioactivehq.org, contains additional information on participation, a future road-map, and available software.
- Singularity an Open Source RFID Sensory Integration Platform
One open source project focusing on building software for RFID implementations is Java-based Singularity, which is separated into two major components: a middleware component and an EPC Information Service (EPC-IS) component. The EPC-IS will be designed to be EPCglobal-compliant. The project is using the Apache 2.0 license, and aims to reduce entrance barriers and help companies speed their product offerings. The recent M1 release focuses on the middleware portion, which captures and filters RFID data.
- Reva publishes open source RFID reader protocol
According to Reva, the main benefit of this effort to the RFID
end-user community is arguably a reduction in the inefficiency and confusion
inherent in more than a dozen proprietary reader protocols.The introduction
of open source projects such as this is aimed at encouraging incumbent RFID
reader vendors, new market entrants and technology suppliers to actively
participate in the ongoing development, refinement and testing of the SLRRP
protocol in a public forum.
- RFID Security
Security hasn't been left completely unaddressed by the RFID industry; they're well aware of the problems and have attempted some manuevers to compensate. As mentioned, some RFID systems can be both read and written to. This would be perfect for creating a "universal badge" that could spoof any identity without even a separate transmission system that could be examined and recognized. So what some companies have done is create a 64 bit region that cannot be modified and remains unique to the badge itself. So you use those 64 bits as a badge identifier that authenticates the rest of the data, and trust that your vendor will never release a badge that either
a. Repeats identifiers (unlikely, 2^64 is a very large number) or b. can have its identifier changed.
- Transparency 'crucial' for RFID systems
"Transparency is very important both for governments — what they want to use RFID for — and for retailers and corporations. They need to be honest about what they want to use the data for," McDermott said.
Humberto Moran, the chief executive of UK technology charity Open Source Innovation, agreed that transparency is key, and called for the use of open source software within RFID deployments, to ensure that people can find out what the RFID systems are doing.
- California Scrutinizes RFID Privacy
RFID allows for automatic collection of data similar to the way barcodes work. Instead of the printed barcode, a tiny transponder, called a tag, carries the data. An RFID reader, which can be handheld or fixed in place, transmits a low-power radio signal through its antenna. The radio signal powers a chip in the tag that causes it to connect and exchange data with the reader. The reader can then send the data on to the controlling computer, which matches the data against its database to figure out what the RFID tag says. The computer can use that data just like any other data source: It can make an entry in a database or cause an action to happen.
Standards May Propel RFID To Greater Adoption
RFID, the tag-based, asset-tracking technology that's being propelled into widespread deployment thanks to its adoption by Wal-Mart and the U.S. Defense Defense, is about to get an additional boost from several advanced standards efforts as well as bid to take RFID into the open-source world.
RFID is about to get a separate software boost from the newly formed Radioactive Software Foundation, which is looking to develop a suite of open-source RFID software that conforms to the EPCglobal's RFID standards. The foundation was established in June in Toronto by two RFID software houses, N4 Systems of Toronto, and Refactored Networks of Kennesaw, Ga.