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RFID Bookshelf

New books about radio frequency identification offer in-depth insight on systems and technologies, as well as business issues.
By John Edwards
Apr 09, 2007—As with tags and interrogators, books about radio frequency identification technologies are popping up all over the place. Recent titles run the gamut of interests and issues—from planning and deploying a basic RFID system to measuring the technology's return on investment and sharing data in the global supply chain.

In this age of Web-driven information, books continue to provide a valuable service, offering a level of specialization and depth not generally available online. There's also something to be said for the convenience of a book and its highly portable form factor.

Anyone working with RFID technology should try to seek information from multiple sources, including print and online publications, colleagues, vendors and books. Here are six recent print titles that are worth reading.

RFID Implementation
By Dennis E. Brown
McGraw-Hill Osborne Media, 2006
466 pages

Written as a guide to RFID system design and deployment, RFID Implementation aims to make the task of launching and completing an RFID supply-chain project as simple and painless as possible. The book delivers step-by-step instructions for initiating, installing and managing an RFID rollout. It's targeted at business professionals who have read about RFID and are now interested in implementing the technology, as well as managers who are being dragged into RFID by a larger business partner.

The book begins by describing RFID technologies, standards and regulations. It then moves on to explain the EPCglobal Network and its potential for revolutionizing the supply chain, with the next two chapters describing and defining RFID components and their use. Dennis Brown's straightforward and honest writing style provides an informative and pleasurable reading experience.

RFID Implementation's middle chapters are devoted to RFID applications as viewed through the supply chain. Brown describes how businesses in various fields have used the technology to their benefit. He also looks at how the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) got to be such a major RFID force by outlining how the military handled major logistics programs during past wars (without using RFID) and present conflicts (while using the technology).

The book wraps up by helping readers develop and deploy their own RFID projects. Brown takes his readers through every step of organizing an RFID project, including setting the business justification, analyzing various technology approaches and methodologies, evaluating tag performance, optimizing data management and handling security and privacy concerns.

The author specifically shows how to install readers, antennas, host computers and other devices for maximum performance. In addition, he describes how to integrate existing bar-code-driven technology with RFID systems and uncover the best ways of deploying Electronic Product Code software, middleware and information services. Equally critically, he shows how to track product movement and cash flow throughout the supply chain.

Brown offers seasoned and reasonable advice that helps readers balance cost and performance concerns. He shows how to investigate costs and benefits using business justification principles. On the technology side, he explains how to test and evaluate RFID systems under real-world conditions, meet various corporate and government mandates, and safely navigate what is still a rapidly evolving technology landscape.

As president of RFID Runner, a company specializing in the selection, configuration, sales and support of RFID systems, Brown claims to have helped such organizations as Warner Bros., Boeing, Sony Pictures, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, the National Security Agency implement technology solutions. He's certainly done a fine job of compiling his RFID knowledge and expertise into a comprehensive book.
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