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Smart Agents for RFID Platform

Vizional integrates auto-ID technology and provides agents that can react to real-time events.
Mar 06, 2003March 7, 2003 - Most of the focus in the RFID world has been on tags and readers, but that's beginning to change. Vizional Technologies, a Santa Monica-based supply chain software provider, this week unveiled a new software platform for integrating various auto-ID technologies. It also introduced a module for managing RFID data.

"RFID is designed to provide real-time information about the movement of assets and inventory," says Vizional CTO Eddie Shek. "That ties in perfectly to our solutions for event planning and execution because those capabilities are more powerful when the information is more accurate and available in real time. That's why we created this platform."
Vizional's Shek

The Vizional Adaptive Identification Management application is designed to enable companies to gather data from RFID and other auto-ID devices in real time. The system provides application-level security to ensure that only authorized users can get access to information from RFID tags.

The software agents also use rule-based logic to make decisions at the local level. For instance, the system might get information from an electronic seal and sensors on a container and determine that the container has been breached. Or it might decide, based on time stamps on RFID tags and other information, that a shipment is about to miss the boat -- literally -- and send an alert to the logistics manager.

Shek says one of the key benefits of the new software is the security it provides. Encryption can secure the data on the tag, but true security depends on having protection built into both the hardware and software. The Vizional system can, for instance, control who can write to the tag and verify that the data on the tag hasn't been tampered with. Agents can even recover data on damaged tags by tracking back its history.

The system is designed to be lightweight and easy to deploy, according to Shek, who describes it as infrastructure-level technology. Agents can, however, communicate with agents in Vizional's demand management and supply chain event management software, which could trigger replenishment orders and other higher-level decision making.

"We're just scratching the service of the power of RFID," says Shek. "This solution supports everything that you need to take advantage of RFID today. But it we've also built a platform for the future."

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