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Queralt Developing Behavior-Monitoring RFID Software

The Connecticut startup has received a $100,000 grant from the DHS to work on an intelligent system that can detect behavioral patterns based on data gathered from RFID tags and sensors.
By Beth Bacheldor
A company could use the system, for instance, to monitor the behavior of employees to ensure no security rules are breached. The workers could be issued RFID-enabled ID badges that are read as they arrive at and leave work, enter and exit various departments, and log onto and off of different computer systems. Over time, the system will establish a pattern that reflects the employee's typical workday.

If the worker enters the office much earlier than normal on a particular occasion, goes into a department in which he or she does not work, and logs into a computer the individual is not authorized to access, the system could send an alert. Queralt has also been designing application programming interfaces to logical security and identity-management systems from Microsoft, Oracle and others, so companies can tie the RFID-enabled behavioral system to their security applications.

For approximately a month and a half, Queralt has been testing a version of the system with a health-care company (which the solutions provider is not at liberty to name) that provides home-based services for the elderly in the Republic of Cyprus. Queralt has installed, in about 10 homes, a computer appliance that runs the behavioral engine and includes an Internet connection to a server at the health-care company's office. Every home has also been outfitted with RFID interrogators from RF Code, and each elderly patient wears an RF Code 433 MHz active tag around his or her neck.

The tag complies with the ISO 18000-7 standard, and has a panic button that the wearer can press in times of trouble. Each home also has humidity-, temperature- and motion-sensing tags, as well as contact tags that can, for example, sense when a medicine cabinet has been opened, or if a microwave oven has been operated. "These active RFID tags and active sensors track the elderly patients, and the behavioral engine learns what the person is doing on a regular basis," Queralt explains. "A pattern is established, and if something changes—if it shows an abnormality—that can trigger an alert to the health-care company.

"We create a behavior fingerprint," Queralt continues. "Every morning, the person spends a certain amount of time in the kitchen, using the microwave or the stove, for example. So the assumption becomes that the person is cooking or doing something in the kitchen. We are looking for usage—and changes. Is the person visiting the bathroom more than usual? Might that represent an illness?"

Queralt expects the Cyprus pilot to run for several more months, and to be expanded to additional homes.

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