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The Problem With Software Packages Developed by RFID Hardware Vendors

No single type of RFID hardware is the best option for every aspect of a project. Therefore, end users need to select a software solution that is entirely hardware-agnostic.
By Yedidia Blonder
Mar 28, 2011Most software solutions on the market have been developed by hardware manufacturers merely as a vehicle to sell their particular hardware. Besides the fact that software development is generally not those manufacturers' core competency domain, these solutions are typically limited to the products offered by each specific hardware vendor. This limitation is a very severe constraint to project performance, and represents a great risk to a project's ability to remain state-of-the-art over years to come.

The great majority of RFID projects contain many different aspects demanding specific hardware solutions. The most common example is passive RFID versus active. While expensive items may be tracked and protected using active RFID tags, inexpensive equipment (furniture, screens and so forth) can normally be protected with less costly passive tags. In other cases, objects may be too small to be protected using active tags (for example, specimens in hospitals), and a company should, therefore, have the capacity to track them via passive RFID in order to be able to read many of them remotely, and with a single scan. Combining active and passive RFID technologies is a must, but is often impossible using software solutions developed by hardware manufacturers.

Even with active RFID, different hardware products or technologies may be advisable for different elements of a project, depending on the particular use and settings: persons or assets, the environment, available infrastructure, indoors vs. outdoors and so forth.

Simply put, there is no single hardware or brand that is the right solution for every aspect of a project—hence, the great importance of selecting a software solution that is entirely hardware-agnostic, and that can easily be combined with a mix of technologies from various vendors, in order to create an optimized solution.

New technologies arise all the time, bringing drastic improvements in performance, functionality and price reduction, and a user must be guaranteed to be able to benefit from these new products. This is only possible when employing a solution that is truly hardware-independent, with a firm commitment by the software provider to integrate with any new hardware upon the customer's request.

Furthermore, it is strongly advisable to prefer a software solution offering exhaustive application programming interfaces (APIs), as well as a software development kit (SDK), so that an end user and its systems integrator can remain independent from the software developer as well.

Yedidia Blonder is the product manager of Vizbee, a provider of a real-time tracking software platform designed to support all leading RFID technologies, including different types within the same project.
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Glenn Tamir 2011-04-01 05:58:26 AM
President, Storemed Actually, there is a company called LogiTag, that has a complete line of hardware AND software for RTLS and Smart Cabinet and passive RFID applications. Their LogiPlatform software is a single platform that can be used for all applications and as an engine to interface to external applications like ERP, billing, etc....
Jan boen 2011-04-03 07:57:34 AM
1 platform for all your Auto ID needs = agnoSix EyeDPro offers agnoSix as a SaaS. This is an enterprise grade technology agnostic multi tenant solution with a very wide of interfaces to other systems plus a fully configurable business rules engine. And much more. Just contact info@eyedpro.com for more information
Suresh SAWHNEY 2011-04-05 06:57:58 PM
An excellent insight This is one of the problems plaguing the RFID industry - half baked, hardware linked solutions which leave the customer frustrated when he wants to take a step beyond the POC or initial deployment. The only answer us to have a Hardware and Database agnostic Middleware with deployable business rules. One such company operating out of India is Dolphin RFID @ www.dolphinrfid.in. Their middleware can work with a range of Hardware / databases as also with both Active & Passive technology.
Steinar Kjaernsrod 2011-05-12 01:40:32 AM
Great article pinpointing a real challenge for the RFID ecos Luckily there are frameworks and middleware in the market that offers solutions to the challenge described in the article. One such framework is the Telenor Objects "Shepherd" middleware, see http://www.telenorobjects.com/ It has been successfully deployed in several projects, most recently in this asset tracking software: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOv4r7PIEfw

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