RFID: a revolution in identification systems

Wal-Mart has long advised its customers to closely monitor the price cuts for its products, and today this world's largest retailer is following price cuts ... for radio frequency identification (RFID) systems. At the end of last year, she announced the mandatory transition of her stores to the RFID system. Since then, the price of RFID tags has halved, which, according to the company's specialists, will lead to a revolution in the world of retail and a complete change in supply chains. The largest Wal-Mart suppliers were asked to switch to RFID tags in their packages by January of next year. Suppliers of this largest retailer strive to meet deadlines, creating a real boom in the RFID market. Some analysts estimate that Wal-Mart alone will soon need a billion RFID chips per year, and the demand for these tiny devices will only grow. Other large retailers and some government agencies now require their partners to attach RFID tags to all types of packaging. So, in November last year, the US Department of Defense approved a new identification system at the federal level, requiring its suppliers to install RFID labels on industrial parts and pallets by 2005.

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Radio Frequency Identification. Contactless technology

Radio Frequency Identification technology (RFID - Radio Frequency Identification) is based on the exchange of information between a radio response, one way or another connected with an object, and a polling device (reader) emitting a continuous or pulsed radio signal through an antenna. When a radio responder, called a radio tag, or a tag, passes through the reader’s reading zone, it changes its signal in a certain way and returns it. Reader determines the difference between the emitted and received signals and sets the identifier of the RFID tag in this way. The radio tag consists of a charger, a transceiver with an antenna, a control unit and a power source (if the label is active). In the absence of a power source (passive label), electricity is supplied from the signal charging the capacitor built into the RFID tag. Depending on the type of memory, tags can be read only or read / write. The distance at which information is read and written varies from a few millimeters to a few meters, depending on the technology used. RFID tags themselves are also quite different - in the form of credit cards, implanted microchips in glass cases or large tags that are attached to huge containers. RFID tags use a specific set of frequencies. The most common low-frequency tags operating at frequencies from 125 to 500 kHz. Mid-frequency devices use 27 and 430-440 MHz, and high-frequency devices use 860-915 MHz, 2.45 GHz (for containers and on railways) and 5.8 GHz (for high-speed vehicles). There is a tendency of wider use of high frequencies both for the purpose of unloading the used frequency range and for increasing the transmission speed. With the appropriate housing, radio tags operate in a wide range of environments. They are sensitive to very high temperatures and thermal shocks. In the cold passive RFID tags work better. It is necessary to note the factor of metal proximity to the tag. The low frequency signal is distorted and attenuated by the presence of a metal, especially containing iron. The RFID tag should not be placed in a full metal case, unless it is part of the antenna system. Microwave labels do not get upset, but in the presence of a significant amount of metal to minimize the effect of reflection require carefully calibrated layout.

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Shopping at the speed of thought

From the digital home, according to the CeBIT exhibitors, the average person should move to the digital store. The largest German retailer Metro Group (in Russia operates the Metro Cash & Carry network) at CeBITe presented its concept of a “store of the future”, based on the ubiquitous use of RFID (RadioFrequency IDentification) technology - radio frequency identification. All products in this store have a special label in the form of a small piece of foil, similar to a postage stamp and containing a small chip on which information about the product is recorded. (This may be just a digital code, like on bar codes, and more detailed information about the expiration date, storage conditions, etc.) Such a label is capable of “responding” to the reader signals. When arriving at the warehouse, pallets of goods pass by the gate with a scanner, and the system checks on the fly whether the goods that were ordered, arrived at the warehouse, what storage conditions are required for them, what is the shelf life, etc.

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Chips and plugs

The violent protest rallies of human rights defenders and the emotional discussions that are going on around technologies based on radio-identification chips (RFID) can, apparently, have a tangible effect on the specific nuances in the work and deactivation of the microcircuits. But at the same time, RFID tags offer such obvious and substantial economic benefits that their speedy introduction into various spheres of life is almost inevitable. That was once again emphasized at a recent press conference hosted by the EU administration for announcing the start of a comprehensive pan-European project to study all aspects of the massive use of RFID. Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media, who told about this initiative, said that it is planned to release 600 million radio-identification chips this year, and this figure will increase 450 times over the next ten years.

The flow of news about a variety of applications, in which RFID is already being successfully applied, is growing every month. Reading, in her report, in particular, mentioned the European Airbus Aircraft Concern, where RFID now marks all the elements of aircraft under construction — brakes, seats, seat belts, etc. — that are subject to regular replacement so that they themselves can announce the update when they are scanned. . By the flowery expression of Reading, the large-scale use of radiolabel chips unites the Internet world of cyberspace and the real world surrounding a person into one whole.

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Level of our security

Access control systems (ACS) today are an integral part of the security systems of almost any object - from a small office to a large enterprise or military facility. In today's troubled world, this is not just a tribute to fashion, but a real opportunity to reduce the level of threat of intrusion by outsiders on an object. After all, the consequences of such an infiltration can sometimes be catastrophic, not only for a specific object, but also for the whole world, if we are talking about, for example, a military base or a nuclear power plant ...
Yes, the words in the title are not a reservation - the security of any strategic object is not only its object, security, but also ours. If sabotage occurs at a large chemical enterprise several kilometers away from your home, the consequences can be very sad ... That is why the issue of protecting such an important component of security systems as access control systems for such facilities is not a private affair of the enterprise director or military commander parts. This is a nationwide task, no matter how pathetic it sounds. Although we will talk about a very small component of the access control system - about proximity identifiers.

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What is the future of contactless payments in the US?

The magnetic tape on the back of your credit card begins to give up its white unconditional position in the market to the integrated radio chips. RFID-technology can dramatically change the usual method of payment that consumers use when buying goods or services. At least, supporters of the new technology hope so.
Contactless payments using a chip with built-in radio frequency identification (RFID) technology allow credit card holders to pay for purchases simply by holding a card two to five centimeters from the card reader. You no longer need to carry the card through the reader, there is no need to give it to the store employees, in other words, no more contacts of your credit card with unauthorized people.
If you’ve ever ordered food from Arby’s, drank morning coffee at 7-Eleven, or went to the cinema in Cinemark, you’ve probably already seen or even used that very contactless card reader. However, if you do not live in New York, Connecticut, Denver, Atlanta or in other places where American Express, Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Key Bank, Wells Fargo and other issuing companies have conducted pilot programs for the implementation of contactless payments , you probably don't have a contactless card yet. In fact, only 7 million of the total number of Morgan Chase plastic card holders (90 million) use Blink cards (banking version of contactless payments).

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This marked world

Imagine a future in which not only people, but also things can communicate and exchange information. And this is not science fiction. The development of communications has led to the fact that today almost everything is connected to a single telecommunications infrastructure. We can no longer live without communication, just as we cannot exist without oil and electricity.
Translation difficulties
It is not the first year for linguists to argue about how to translate the beautiful ubiquitous society into “great and mighty” beautiful Americanism. This is a society in which, according to experts, you and I will soon have to live, they call it “omnipresent”, then “open”, or simply “ubiquitous”.
In fact, the word "ubiquitous" is not news in the field of IT. The term "ubiquitous computing" (literally - ubiquitous computing) was proposed as early as 1991 by Mark Weiser, the former chief scientist at the Xerox research center. There was a lot of talk about “total computing”, but until recently they didn’t really believe in the possibility of implementing this idea.
With the help of ITU [http://www.itu.int/ubiquitous/], who launched the Ubiquitous Network Societies project in late 2004, the minds of experts were captured by the idea of creating a world in which information technologies fit into everyday life . The day is not far off when using miniature radio transmitters, IP addresses or hyperlinks you can “see” almost any object (from remote controls to disposable razors) and manage it.
Continuous development of communication implies a constant increase in the number of users, operators, services, communication channels and types of information transmitted. As a result, bandwidth, speed of information exchange, traffic volume and network usage time will also increase. We can say that we are building a “On Line” community. Or the fact that in the near science literature recently began to be called "Ubiquitous Society".
The world is made up of bricks.

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RFID cash

The name "cash 2.0" is glued to contactless payment cards more and more strongly. On the one hand, there are grounds for such a term, as small cash payments are more often replaced by the delivery of a smart card or mobile phone with an RFID chip to the reader window in a transport turnstile, vending machine or a cashier’s store terminal. But on the other hand, such a substitution of concepts is not entirely correct, since the most important properties of cash — anonymity and non-traceability of payments — are not provided for in the now widely implemented contactless payment systems. For the so-called "cash 2.0", on closer inspection, does not differ in principle from ordinary credit or debit cards that are tightly tied to specific people and their bank accounts.
From a commercial point of view, there is no need to link payment smart cards to its owner. But from the point of view of security, according to many independent experts, contactless payment cards based on RFID chips not only carry a heavy legacy of badly protected magnetic stripe credit cards, but also generate a lot of new problems. However, the card payment industry, vigorously promoting a new technology, strongly disagrees with such views and tries to convince people of the opposite - that the contactless system is safer than the traditional one. So who is right in this dispute?

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RFID: tags for all # 1

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a method of remotely storing and retrieving data using devices called RFID tags. An RFID tag is a small object that can be associated or combined with a product, person, animal. RFID tags contain antennas that allow them to receive and send a radio frequency identification signal requested from an RFID transceiver. Passive tags do not need an internal power source, whereas active tags need it.

It is believed that the first known device was a tool for espionage and was invented by Lev Teremin for the Soviet government in 1945. Theremin's device was an eavesdropping device, not an identification tag. The technology used in RFID was in use in the early 1920s (according to one source, although the same source claims that RFID systems appeared only in the late 60s.). A similar technology, the IFF pulse transceiver, was invented by the British in 1939 and was commonly used by allies in World War II to identify aircraft in the friend-foe system. Another early work on RFID research is the significant work of Harry Stockman, entitled "Communication by Means of Reflected Power" (October 1948). However, it took another 13 years of significant progress in many areas before RFID technology became a reality.

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RFID tags point the way to the blind

RFID tags placed on the sidewalks of Italy help blind people to move around in unfamiliar places. This project is carried out as part of a research project funded by the European Union called the SESAMONET (Secure and Safe Mobility Network), which aims to improve the lives of visually impaired people.

In the city of Laveno Mombello, the project developers created a path of about 2 km long RFID tags that leads from the city’s railway station to Lago Maggiore Bank, loop in a park near the lake, and also pass through several intersections. About 10 people, with poor or absent eyesight, test the system using specially designed canes, which act as readers for 125 kHz passive Tags, in ceramic cases that are buried in tracks. Thanks to these tests, developers get the necessary information to improve the system.

When a blind person approaches the tag, his cane recognizes it (the reader’s antenna is built into the cane’s tip, the power source and the Bluetooth transmitter are integrated near the handle). Unique ID Tag is sent, via a Bluetooth transmitter, to the user's PDA, in which a special program is running that determines a person’s location. The program quickly sets the direction (with the help of voice commands of the program), or various sound signals, which are then transmitted to wireless headphones dressed as a tester.

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