Application Of RFID Is Expanding

Kovid Ranjan, Global Head –IT for International Operations, Ashok Leyland

Kovid Ranjan, Global Head –IT for International Operations, Ashok LeylandKovid is presently working as Global Head –IT for International Operations –Ashok Leyland based out of Dubai. His previous experience has been with Reliance, Infosys and Tech Mahindra, graduation from NIT and PGPBM from IIM (Trichy). He has been associated in many RFID projects in the present company and bus projects.

RFID is an evolving technology, which is gaining popularity, and new enhancements are being added as more research is going on. Many new algorithms are being added like cross layer algorithms, which are developed to enhance security and avoid collisions when complex density of RFID signals cross each other.

It uses the electromagnetic recognition along with the radio frequency in a particular spectrum. The signature is used to communicate information, generally unidirectional.

This RFID reader has a RFID microchip. The reader reads the information from RFID tags, and RFID middleware uses the data to create analytical insights.

There are two major RFID systems:

• Passive RFID System – uses no internal batteries and are the cheapest

• Semi Passive RFID system –uses internal batteries

• Active RFID System- uses internal batteries and are expensive

“In India major automakers like Ashok Leyland, Tata, Maruti are successfully implementing error free and secure RFID technologies”

Active and semi-passive RFID tags use internal batteries to power their circuits. An active tag also uses its battery to broadcast radio waves to a reader, whereas a semi-passive tag relies on the reader to supply its power for broadcasting. Because these tags contain more hardware than passive RFID tags, they are more expensive. Active and semi-passive tags are reserved for costly items that are read over greater distances - they broadcast high frequencies from 850 to 950 MHz that can be read 100 feet (30.5 meters) or more away. If it is necessary to read the tags from even farther away, additional batteries can boost a tag's range to over 300 feet (100 meters).

These three technologies use very small and can fit into any application.

The architecture of the same can be depicted in the diagram given below:

The application of RFID is expanding and in Dubai, it is used very effectively in tagging the visitors, residents, and animals like Oryx. Here it is also used for the toll collection across the bridges. The RTA card automatically deducts the toll collections unlike India where this adoption is quite slow.

It is used effectively at hypermarkets like Carrefour for billing as well as their inventory control.

Generally, the usage of RFID is split into the following applications:

• Industrial

• Retailing

• Institutions

• Hospitality

• Others

In automobile industry, the usage has increased. Right from the engine serial numbers to components back flushing, everything is monitored through RFID tags. The components are interfaced with the suppliers who keep a tab on the consumption and tag the components with RFID chips, which go into the production line. The inventory is controlled in that manner. It is also used in bus transport systems where the RFID card serve as ticket solutions and automatically the fare is deducted from the card. The driver also keeps a tab on the number of passengers in the bus and on the travel behaviour of the passenger. The bus also can have many Internet of Things sensors, which are hooked on to the OnBoard Diagnostic Unit, and information can be accessed very easily about the health of the major components of the bus. The same applies to car and other commercial vehicle segments. In India major automakers like Ashok Leyland, Tata, Maruti are successfully implementing error free and secure RFID technologies.

In hospitals for tracking patients, their history and medicines, records etc.

In Hotels and travel industry – from ticketing to tracking travellers, routing etc.

Others: Like tagging animals and understanding their behaviour and tracking their health etc.

Although the RFID technology is gaining popularity, there are many issues, which have been noticed.

1) Security / information hacking – people can insert a card reader and extract all information about cards, customers etc.

2) Collision – when many RFID signals are around the card reader sometimes fails and unable to function properly.

3) Cost – the active and semi passive card infrastructure is costly and not very suitable for low and medium industry applications and these industries are slow in adoption.

Future work includes adopting security/privacy parameters and different signal processing schemes with multiple antenna diversity, beam forming, and smart-antennas in the cross-layer framework that can circumvent the issues of accuracy and also the speed and range.