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Complex Event Processing and RFID

The use of complex event processing (CEP) software can lower development time and costs for event-driven RFID and sensor-network applications.
By John Morrell
Feb 05, 2007Radio frequency identification and sensor network applications fit into a new category that has been dubbed "event-driven applications." At its core, RFID solutions and other event-driven applications must process and analyze the many thousand of events—in this case, readings of RFID tags—occurring on the network. In some instances, the event data is enriched for later analysis, but often, an event-driven application must immediately identify time-sensitive business events and notify key stakeholders that need to take action.

Complex event processing (CEP) software is a new breed of infrastructure software that helps event-driven applications—such as RFID solutions—process, analyze and lend meaning to the many events occurring every second. CEP software replaces the need to custom develop an event-processing engine, thereby lowering development time and costs, while enabling easier and more reliable deployments. Many analysts favorably compare the value of CEP software for event-driven business applications with that of relational databases for data-centric business applications in the 1990s.

RFID Application Challenges
Building and deploying event-driven applications such as RFID has traditionally been expensive, requiring a combination of custom development and the knitting together of infrastructure software that has not been optimized for the tasks involved. As the RFID market expands past the early-adopter stage, applications must mature to meet a higher set of expectations from customers by addressing the following requirements:
  • Faster delivery of new application functionality to address a user's requirements and competitive threats
  • Lower development costs and increased development team productivity
  • Swifter, easier deployment, customization and tuning of applications
  • Support for wide-scale deployments and 24-7 mission-critical operations

One way for solution developers and providers to address these requirements is through off-the-shelf event-processing software that makes the RFID application infrastructure more powerful and flexible.

CEP Software
Complex event processing software provides a reusable software engine to process, evaluate and analyze events in real time. Similar to how relational database software eased the process of storing and managing structured data, CEP software eliminates the difficult programming task of processing, correlating and analyzing events. CEP software encapsulates and hides the low-level event processing programming details, giving the developer a high-level language and powerful engine that simplifies programming and offers a scalable, reliable infrastructure for runtime execution of event-driven applications.

Many leading CEP engines are based on a familiar programming language, SQL. This eliminates much of the learning curve and enables developers to be productive with the CEP environment from day one. Easy-to-learn extensions are added to the CEP language to specify event-processing syntax and semantics.

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