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An Introduction to RFID Middleware

A detailed list of the capabilities and elements of RFID middleware.

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“I got all my items tagged!”

“My antennas, readers, sensors, computers, and network are all connected.”

“The readers are reading the tags.”

“Thousands and thousands of tags are being read, but the data is not showing in my ERP system...”

Now, you’re probably wondering, “What do I do?” Well, you call the Middleware.

Jokes aside, as the name suggests, radio-frequency identification (RFID) Software or often called Middleware sits between the readers and your enterprise/business applications.

rfid software

The middleware manages RFID readers and printers and communicates between these devices and your business applications. It is a set of many different distributed software such as for example in the EPC system application level events (ALE), a local database and Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS). Basically, all software except business applications (ERP) and on device software could be grouped into what we call RFID Middleware.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems require a new kind of RFID Middleware, as well as conventional integration middleware. Conventional middleware is used primarily to link disparate applications, both internally and externally, to the enterprise for:

  • Routing data using different transport protocols

  • Translating data into different formats

  • Web services

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) Middleware provides customers with the ability to focus on vertical applications, while the middleware includes extensive data collection and management tools including tools for AIDC device integration and management. The flow of data between readers and enterprise applications manages:

  • Data quality

  • Data filtering

  • Data aggregation

  • Device management

The lists below shows the requirements of the RFID Middleware and a brief related description:

  • Database transparency — Existing systems use many different databases and the Middleware must be able to interface with them.
  • Device independent — Easy AIDC device integration, must work with different RFID readers, printers, other sensors, and devices.
  • Device management — Management of all the devices from central and distributed locations.
  • Interchangeable components — Different pieces can be bought from different vendors, getting the best of breed.
  • Interface with various enterprise applications — Interface with enterprise applications, such as Supply Chain Management (SCM), Warehouse Management System (WMS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), etc.
  • Language transparency — Use a programming language of choice without restrictions.
  • Location transparency — Remote method invocation without regard for host location.
  • Modular architecture — Allows easy upgrade.
  • Platform transparency — Masks heterogeneity to enable an exchange between disparate platforms, such as:
    • Hardware:
    • Personal computer (PC)
    • Solaris
    • Mac
    • Operating system (OS)
    • Linux
    • Unix
    • Windows
    • Apple
  • Scalable — More capacity can be easily added.
  • Support radio-frequency identification (RFID) standards — Comply with existing and future RFID standards.
  • Transport protocol transparency — Request and reply communications routed over any transport protocol.
  • Work with different networks — Direct information across networks (such as Internet, intranet, local area networks [LAN]).

Back to your initial problem... if your read or scan events are not showing up anywhere and yet you know that the readers and scanners are turned on and reading tags, chances our that there have been some issues with AIDC device integration and setup. You have to review whether your devices are connected to your middleware and that you have correctly configured filtering, low level data management, as well as higher level business logic. 

The IoT Zone is brought to you in partnership with GE Digital.  Discover how IoT developers are using Predix to disrupt traditional industrial development models.

Topics:
rfid ,middleware

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