Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a method for identifying objects using low-range wireless radio frequencies. RFID has been used for more than two decades to improve business efficiencies in supply chain, transportation and inventory management across many commercial industries as well as in government.
Oracle has written this paper to assist our customers in understanding the new 2nd generation RFID tags that are being shipped on every Oracle hardware product.
This paper will explain how the RFID technology works, the context for which our tags were developed, the standards they adhere to and how to leverage them to augment your IT asset management lifecycle.
History of RFID
RFID has been around for many decades. It became commercially mainstream technology in the early 2000s when retailers like Walmart, Home Depot, Target and Lowes mandated that their top suppliers begin affixing RFID tags to pallets and crates of merchandise. Over time, as the cost of the RFID technologies dropped and the range and function of the technologies expanded, RFID has been used
to tag and track animate and inanimate objects in ever evolving ways.
From livestock to telephones, practical uses for RFID are limited only by the imagination. RFID is a routine technology used around us every day. Examples of how RFID isused below;
Healthcare patient, hospital tracking
Access and tolls to buildings, transportation, bridges and roadways.
Government inventory and logistics
Inventory and supply chain management from supplier to checkout
Corporate Asset tracking
In the latter half of 2000s, several large banking institutions facing rigorous Sarbanes Oxley regulations, requested the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC) to define standards for using RFID as an augmentation to the automation capabilities that barcodes provided.
To benefit our customers, Oracle decided to include RFID tags on all server and storage products to facilitate automated asset tracking.
Since the FSTC proposed standard was for US markets only, Oracle worked with partner RCD Technology to incorporate not only US radio frequency bands, but expanded the RF ranges of the tag to simultaneiously support US and Itinternational frequeny bands. This makes the RFID Oracle tag universally effective.
The RFID tag used by Oracle is a superset of the FSTC standard. The Oracle RFID tag meets FSTC requirements, Department of Defense (DoD) requirements as well as the EPCglobal Specifications.
Benefits of RFID for Asset Tracking One of the large financial institutions set up a pilot project using RFID and reported an increase in accuracy of 15% over using bar codes and also reported that the time to inventory one isle of their data
center went from 2 hours to 1 minute. In summary the benefits of using RFID to track IT assets are:
Improves accuracy of current asset inventories
Eases labor requirements of inventory and location processes
Enables detection and recording of asset movement and location
Enables reduction in operational expenses
Enables loss detection and often aids in loss prevention
How Does RFID Work
RFID enables identifying information to be transmitted from a very small specialized tag via low-range
radio waves to a nearby reader that collects the data.
What Does an RFID Tag Look Like?
RFID tags are typically small labels, rigid or flexible, that provides its contents (identification
information) via short distance radio waves to an RFID reader or sensor. The RFID tags, depending
on their purpose, can be battery powered, passive or a hybrid. RFID tags that defined as passive, do
not have their own power source. Passive tags must be energized by an energizing device in order for
them to have sufficient power to transmit their contents. Oracle RFID tags are passive. They only
transmit their contents when an energizing reader is within the 6 to 9 feet required.
The tags designed for use on the Oracle products had to fit within a specific size envelope
(~36x10x5mm), be able to respond while attached to either a metal or plastic surface and meet the
distance and read velocity requirements specified by the FSTC. While the battery powered and hybrid
tags would likely meet the distance requirements, they are simply too large to be accommodated on the
front surface of many of Oracles products without adversely blocking airflow.
Other passive tags, such as an EPIC tags shown below, although commonly used for retail and
manufacturing supply chain management do not respond when attached directly to a metal surface
making them unusable on most IT assets.
EPIC tags are also too large to fit on the front of many IT products.