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  • Editing Team 17:27 on December 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , safety   

    Is NFC Technology Safe Enough? 


    NFC technology has been attracting a lot of attention for some time. The technology is quite simple in that it can transfer digital information over short distances. NFC is most commonly seen in the mobile commerce field, yet it is in this sector that questions regarding the safety of NFC came to prominence. Because NFC deals with the financial information of consumers in the mobile sector, the technology’s capabilities to protect this information have become a serious issue.

    The security issues of NFC are difficult to grasp in many cases. NFC itself is simply a collection of standards and concepts that govern the wireless transmission of digital information over short distances. As such, NFC standards have little need for security features and these standards are conceptual rather than physical.

    Security problems concerning NFC are often misdirected toward the technology itself when a more significant problem may exist in the lack of security in mobile commerce platforms and certain mobile applications. Mobile commerce services that are not protected by security software are at risk of exploitation and those consumers that make use of these services could have their personal information stolen. Google Wallet, which has become a somewhat popular mobile commerce platform, experienced serious security problems in the early days of its launch. Many of these problems were attributed to its use of NFC technology, but the platform itself had only a modest level of protection that hackers were easily able to circumvent.

    Whether NFC technology is safe is a difficult question to answer. A better question may be whether or not mobile applications and services are safe enough to be used alongside NFC technology.

  • Editing Team 17:13 on November 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: health, , safety   

    Does Energy Emission from an RFID Device Have Potential Harms to the Human Body? 

    This could be a problem many people is concerning about. In fact, not much research has been conducted in this area, but still there has been some.

    Daniel W. Engels, director of the University of Texas at Arlington’s Radio Frequency Innovation and Technology Center, and an associate professor in the college’s Department of Electrical Engineering, has worked with Darmindra D. Arumugam, a graduate from the university, to write a paper entitled “Specific Absorption Rates in the Human Head and Shoulder for Passive UHF RFID Systems at 915 MHz”.

    According to their research, in an ideal absorption environment, an RFID reader located 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) from the human head presents a specific absorption rate above 1.6W/kg — the maximum value allowed by the United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

    “The basic result of all of our work is that really close proximity to UHF [ultrahigh-frequency] RFID readers has potential health issues, particularly when close to the eyes,” said Engels, “The eyes are perhaps the most vulnerable part of our bodies to RF radiation.”

    To avoid any potential harm to humans, Engels said, UHF RFID interrogators should be set back at least 0.5 meter (1.6 feet) from anyone who might receive constant exposure. He suggests having the read zone cover the body below the neck, which is presumably where the tag would be placed.

    If the interrogator is within legal power output limits, and is kept at least 1 meter (3.3 feet) from the human body, the incident radiation — even on the eyes — is at a level well below maximum allowable levels. Engels cautions against turning reader emissions on and off to reduce RF exposure, noting that his early-stage research indicates this could have an impact on pacemakers.

  • Editing Team 17:16 on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , safety   

    Examples of RFID Applications in Construction Industry 

    Nowadays RFID technology is widely used in various industries including construction sector. Here are some examples of how construction companies can take advantage of this technology:

    Project Management

    Australian solutions provider Industrial Automation Group has supplied an RFID solution to a global oil company for a major construction project of building a refinery in a remote region of Western Australia. Required equipment will travel many hundreds of miles to the site.

    The company, says Henk de Graaf, managing director of Industrial Automation Group, seeks a method for monitoring the project once it is underway — to see actual products moving, view where they were located and receive alerts if anything is not onsite when expected, or is located in the wrong place.

    Tool and Equipment Management

    Tools and equipment often get lost on large construction sites. To solve this problem, North American Construction Group (NACG) decided to deploy RFID technology to track the thousands of high-value assets that its crews use at construction sites throughout western Canada.

    Searching for assets used to be a time-consuming task for NACG’s workers, for they had to physically check inventory levels and write down serial numbers on a piece of paper, and they may have to dig through the snow in order to determine what was there in cold winter. But with the RFID system in place, the company is able to know on a daily where assets are located, thereby reducing the need to order or rent new items as replacements for equipment that cannot be located.

    Workforce Management

    RFID can also be used to track workforce. ADR Software has provided an RFID solution for tracking the number of workers on job sites as well as their identities. With the solution, construction projects’ managers and supervisors can capture the identity of each worker entering or leaving a site by deploying RFID readers on portals to read EPC Gen 2 passive UHF RFID tags attached to hardhats.

    The solution can provide a user with such details as which the number of workers at that location, whether those personnel have the necessary training or certification required to be there, and the workers’ zip codes, thereby enabling a user to know how many local jobs were created by that project.

    Enhancing Safety

    RFID solution also provides such information as which workers have gone belowground on sites in which trenches or tunnels, for example, are being dug. Thus, in the event that an emergency occurs, supervisors would know, in real time, who was below grade.

    General contractor DPR Construction is using RFID primarily to manage building safety and access at the construction site. The solution enables the general contractor to ensure that all individuals are safely evacuated during an emergency and prevent site access by unauthorized personnel.

  • Editing Team 18:12 on October 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cattle, , , , safety   

    Regulations for the Use of RFID in Livestock Sector 

    ear-tags-cattle-livestock-RFID-blogRFID ear tags are widely used for livestock. They not only help better manage livestock, but also monitor the animals’ conditions in real time. But is there an international standard for RFID’s use in this sector, or do regulations differ from one nation to another?

    In fact, regulations vary widely from country to country. Australia and New Zealand require the use of RFID to track certain types of livestock, in order to protect both consumers and the countries’ export of meat and other animal products.

    A few years ago, Canada responded to a mad cow disease scare by requiring the cattle industry to replace the existing barcode system with RFID by the end of 2009. All cattle leaving Canadian farms of origin now must be fitted with RFID tags. The unique identification numbers on those tags are linked in a database with the movements of each animal until its slaughter or export.

    Other nations have instituted mandatory livestock tracking without specifying a technology. Argentina and Brazil, for example, have instituted mandatory identification and tracking programs for cattle, though RFID is not specified. And the European Union has required RFID tags for sheep and goats for disease control purposes. Use of RFID on cattle was voluntary, but now, under EC1760/2000, it is recommending the mandatory use of RFID since so few used it voluntarily.

    In the U.S., RFID tracking of cattle has been made mandatory in only one state — Michigan, and that was prompted by the need to keep bovine tuberculosis under control. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) requires animals to be identified uniquely, but does not require RFID tagging.

    Now more and more farms are using RFID ear tags to track animals for consumer safety purposes. RFID will be the preferred technology in the long run because it is easier and faster to use than having to scan barcodes.

  • Editing Team 23:43 on March 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , safety,   

    Taiwanese City Replaces Metal Manhole Covers with RFID Cement Slabs 

    Taipei-metal-manhole-cover-cement-slab-RFID-blogCity workers in Taipei are replacing metal manhole covers with cement slabs buried beneath the road’s surface. With RFID technology, they can easily locate those manholes at a later date. This makes roads safer for scooters and other vehicles.

    Approximately 20% of Taipei’s manholes have been paved over since the project began in 2009. The goal of the Taiwanese federal government is to replace all metal manhole covers across the entire island with buried versions made of cement, and to include an RFID tag with each cover, to be read when necessary by road or utility workers using handheld readers.

    The project uses RFID tags, handheld readers and software that manages RFID-read data and stores each manhole’s GPS coordinates, as well as its tag’s unique ID number, to be viewed by staff members. So far, approximately 35,000 of Taipei’s 175,000 manholes now have buried RFID-enabled covers.

    Statistics from Taiwan Ministry of Transportation Department have shown that in 2008, the quality of the roadway—which can include the slick, uneven surface created by metal manholes—contributed to 17.3 accidents per month. In 2009, Taipei was the first Taiwanese city to launch a system intended to address this problem. The aim is to produce a smooth, even road surface with no exposed metal manhole covers that can create breaks in the asphalt and pose a slippery surface causing tires to slide. To accomplish this goal, the city needed to pave over the manholes. However, when utility workers need to access the holes, they must be able to find them, and that requires RFID technology.

    The city had several requirements. It needed an RFID tag that could be read through the road’s surface, and that would pose no environmental hazard. Moreover, the city rejected the idea of a system that employed RFID readers installed on vehicles to accomplish the reads, and did not want its workers to have to bend over the road to bring the handheld interrogator close enough to read the tags. Therefore, they use an external reader antenna in the form of a wand long enough that workers could plug it into a handheld device and walk over the road without bending over, interrogating any tags embedded beneath the surface.

  • Editing Team 16:16 on February 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , safety, supply cold chain   

    RFID in Data Logging 

    data-logging-rfid-blogRFID technology has been increasingly used in tracking inventory and equipment. This passage aims at analyzing this emerging data acquisition trend and how it’s already challenging more conventional products over a wide variety of tracking applications.

    RFID tags wirelessly send data via radio-frequency electromagnetic fields. When the tags are scanned, they send an ID number. Scanning devices don’t need a line of sight to detect RFID tags, which are attached or embedded in the tracked product. In this way, users can remotely track and identify shipments and products in many industries including food and agriculture, healthcare, and transport/logistics.

    RFID technology is especially proliferating in the supply cold chain, the logistic obstacle course which temperature-sensitive food and life science products travel from the manufacturer to the consumer. Research found that market demand for food safety products in the U.S. is expected to increase 7.3% annually to $4.5 billion in 2016.

    The study points to heightening regulatory compliance and industry initiatives as motivations for companies to invest in new food safety technology. Of course, RFID devices are forecast to be among the fastest gains in major food safety product markets as part of a growing industry trend toward supply cold chain transparency and asset tracking.

    In addition to use in the supply chain, RFID technology is also being readily adopted in other fields including the entertainment industry, with Disneyland being a successful early adapter. USA Today has reported that the Disneyland Resort has deployed RFID tags to streamline the costume checkout process and to allow effective tracking of costume pieces that could otherwise go missing or damaged. Disney also provides guests with RFID-embedded room keys and wristbands used to open doors, track attendance at safety drills, and to sort photos.

    As a more unconventional example, Barcelona’s Baja Beach Club made world news in 2004 when it began offering clients a subdermal microchip which grants access to VIP lounges and automatically runs up their bar tabs by accessing a database when scanned by staff. The chip is contained in a small glass capsule sending out a very low range radio frequency to avoid setting off security systems.

    In the near future, RFID devices are predicted to be widely adopted by vendors, hospitals, rescue organizations and in many other areas where real-time data is critical. This is definitely an emerging technology worth watching, with long-term benefits for your business or organization.

  • Editing Team 07:57 on November 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , safety, ,   

    Radiant RFID Provides New Jersey with Evacuation and Emergency Tracking Solution 

    Radiant-New-Jersey-evacuation-emergency-tracking-RFID-blogThe State of New Jersey has made a 5-year contract with Radiant RFID that will provide its RFID-based solutions to assist evacuation and emergency tracking during catastrophic events.

    Radiant will provide the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP) with a managed evacuation solution which can track evacuees, pets, emergency transport vehicles, and commodities deployed at state shelters in preparation for and in the event of a hurricane, natural disaster or other incident to assist in the reunification of families.

    The Emergency Management Solution provided by Radiant uses RFID technology to assist emergency management teams with large-scale evacuations. Tracking continuous movement of people, pets and assets gets easier without repeatedly stopping people to take their name or scan a barcode. With the seamless tracking in place, lines are eliminated, redundancy is reduced, and families are kept together in times of emergency.

    Besides, Radiant will manage hardware components, deployment processes and training as well as all maintenance and management functions in support of the State of New Jersey.

  • Editing Team 23:25 on October 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , safety, ,   

    Family Wellness Center Uses RFID Tracking Technology to Protect Towels 

    YMCA-track-bath-towel-rfid-blogThe Maryland Farms YMCA has adopted RFID tracking technology to protect their full-sized bath towel inventory.

    The family wellness center serves more than 2,500 people each day. And the YMCA finance committee had discovered that up to 5,000 towels were leaving the facility in a month and 100 a day. “Right now we can’t keep up stocking them up front that is how fast we are losing them,” said membership director Brett Peterson.

    Although the towels were not intentionally taken, the loss still added up to an estimated $30,000 in expenses to replace the towels.

    To solve the problem, they decided to deploy RFID technology.

    Now, some thousands of towels are being equipped with RFID tags to curb towel loss. With RFID installed, when a towel nears an exit, a friendly reminder will sound a friendly alarm and the towel can be dropped off before the member leaves the building.

    “Five years ago, it might not have been an affordable option, but now that it’s being used much more widely, the cost of the tags and readers has come down considerably,” said Greg Lemon, a volunteer on the YMCA finance committee.

  • Editing Team 23:23 on September 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , safety,   

    UltraReset — the NFC-stumping App Exploiting Loophole of Transit System 

    UltraReset-NFC-app-loophole-transit-system-rfid-blogAn NFC mobile app has been created by exploiting a transit system loophole, enabling users to ride trains for free.

    According to Gizmodo, the UltraReset app, developed by Corey Benninger and Max Sobell of the Intrepidus Group, takes advantage of the vulnerabilities in a number of public transit systems including the New Jersey Path and San Francisco Muni trains where the app proved its effectiveness.

    The app works on any NFC-enabled Android device operating 2.3 or later. This is how it works: by using a train card with zero rides, the app refills the account with rides repeatedly at no cost to the user.

    The flaw doesn’t lie with NFC. Instead it resides within the transit authority system, which did not enact security measures to effectively lock down the read/write permissions. So far, the app has only been tested in New Jersey and San Francisco. However, if the loophole remains there, Boston, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and Philadelphia could be prone to exploitation as well.

    The app was presented recently at a security conference in Amsterdam by Benninger and Sobell. Despite being warned back in December of 2011, and recent attention and coverage, authorities are yet to close the loophole.

    Of course the app is not available to the public, but for the time being those tech-savvy hackers will continue to enjoy the free ride.

  • Editing Team 23:17 on September 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , safety, ,   

    South African Hospital Curbs Newborns Kidnapping with RFID 

    newborn-baby-ankle-tag-kidnap-rfid-blogA South African company called Harmonic Group, which specializes in barcoding, RFID and systems technology, is negotiating with a private South African hospital, to deploy RFID technology in tracking and secure newborns, according to Engineering News.

    With RFID ankle bracelet, newborn babies will be secured and ensured that only authorized personnel are allowed to access to the nursery. The carry tags will enable authorized personnel to transporting newborns to monitor the movement of the babies at all times, so that parents can be at ease.

    “Newborns have been stolen from South African hospitals before. RFID tracking could help in curbing the incidents where newborns are smuggled out of hospitals,” said Medical Doctor Barry Baetu.

    If the RFID tag is removed, the private hospital will get an alert. Thus immediate action can be taken to ensure the baby newborn is not removed from the location.

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