Why were Savants needed?
There are tasks that needed to be performed in order for the EPC network to work as envisioned by the Auto-ID Center. At the time, no middleware could handle these tasks. But companies have taken the concept and incorporated many of the tasks envisioned for Savants in their middleware products. Among the tasks are:
• Data smoothing: Software at the edge of the network-those attached to readers-will smooth data. Not every tag is read every time, and sometimes a tag is read incorrectly. By using algorithms middleware is able to correct these errors.
• Reader coordination: If the signals from two readers overlap, they may read the same tag, producing duplicate EPCs. Software must be used to analyze reads and delete duplicate codes.
• Data forwarding: At each level, middleware has to be set up to filter information and pass on only necessary information to an enterprise application. For instance, middleware in a cold storage facility might forward only changes in the temperature of stored items that exceed certain thresholds.
• Data storage: Existing databases can’t handle more than a few hundred transactions a second, so another job of the middleware is to maintain a real-time in-memory event database (RIED). In essence, the system will take the EPC data that is generated in real time and store it intelligently, so that other enterprise applications have access to the information, but databases aren’t overloaded.
• Task management: Essentially, middleware is customized to manage data and execute commands. For instance, middleware running in a warehouse might be programmed to alert the manager when the number of pallets of a particular product drops below a certain level.
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