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Turning RFID Data into Information : Page 4

Understanding the tasks and challenges in converting raw RFID data into valuable actionable information is the first step in choosing a solution that provides the flexibility to get your RFID system off on the right foot.


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Additional Options for Edge Processing
Thankfully, there are options for processing tag data at the edge of the networkthat offer ALE-style XML reports as well as a variety of improvements, including multi-protocol support for both EPC and ISO tags, and the ability to combine data from ISO and EPC tags into one report. These reports use DPPs to report more than just a raw or URI representation, and support separate XML elements in each tag that let developers access specific fields without needing to know how to decode a specific representation (see Figure 3). Sybase's Report Engine MP creates filtering and grouping sets using SQL statements instead of pattern matching, eliminating the need to understand each representation, and includes scheduling support, allowing administrators to easily define periodic reports. Sybase's edge processing options also include custom business modules, where developers can focus on creating business logic, writing code to handle events—usually the appearance or disappearance of a tag.

 
Figure 3. Sample ALE Report Output: Here's a section of a report file sample output from a report generated by Sybase's Report Engine MP.
 
Figure 4. Sample Business Module: The figure shows a portion of the .NET C# code in a sample business module that handles tag events.
Business modules (see Figure 4) are extremely flexible and can perform a variety of tasks required by the system, including using a DPP to decode a tag, looking up information in a database to help make a decision on what to do with the tag data, or generate and send output in any format to an enterprise system. So, you've seen a number of important items to consider when designing an RFID system. First, you'll want a way to access raw tag data for processing easily, without having to write repetitive low-level code. Choose an architecture that provides out-of-the-box convenience, supporting both today's common tags and standard formats as well as the power and flexibility to support the custom data capabilities of ISO and EPC Gen2 tags. Second, the ALE specification implemented by a number of RFID middleware vendors defines a reporting system to smooth, filter, and group data to reduce or eliminate meaningless RFID data before it gets propagated up the network into the enterprise. In addition, look for products that provide a framework to build or configure edge processing components in the form of ALE or multiprotocol reports, and support building custom business modules. These components provide the ideal platform on which to build a variety of RFID solutions that enable an organization to focus on their business, without worrying about the complexities of RFID today.



Matthew Teskey is a Product Manager at Sybase iAnywhere, where he has played a key role in bringing new products to market in both RFID and mobility for the last five years. In addition to working with customers and partners, Matthew is a key contributor to the RFID Anywhere Insider program, a portal for RFID developers to learn about the RFID industry and to work with a free development version of RFID Anywhere.
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