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RFID Essentials (Theory in Practice (O'Reilly)) Paperback – 29 Jan 2006

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From the Publisher

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is rapidly changing the way businesses track inventory and assets. From Walmart and Tesco, to the U.S. Department of Defense, early efforts are already showing benefit, but software, integration, and data processing for RFID still present a challenge. With the knowledge you gain in RFID Essentials, you will possess the information and understanding you need to start designing, building, or integrating with RFID systems.

About the Author

Bill Glover has been writing software since 1981 and has worked as a programmer, lead developer, or architect on systems of all sizes, from small, automated systems controlling dams and feedmills up to a complete redesign and reimplementation of one of the world's busiest travel web sites. Bill first worked with RFID in 1995, tracking individual cattle using ear tags. He is currently a Senior Java Architect with Sun Microsystems, Inc. and works with Sun's RFID consulting practice and RFID Test Center.

Himanshu V Bhatt leads the worldwide solution development and go to market efforts for Supply Chain & Logistics solutions for IBM, as well as leading the incubation for Sensor and Actuator solutions in emerging markets such as India. Himanshu has spoken at conferences such as JavaWorld, RFIDWorld, RFID Journal Live, and the National Retail Federation and with over 18 years of experience in building enterprise software architectures and helping companies draw insights from their IT to help drive business transformations, Himanshu is an expert in Service Oriented Architecture, Business Process Modeling and Web Services Security. Himanshu has a B.S. in Electronics from Mumbai University, an M.S. in Computer Science from Michigan State University and an MBA in Finance and International Business from the University of Texas at Dallas. Himanshu is a CISSP.

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Format: Paperback
As I began to read this book, published in 2006, I was again reminded of an incident when one of Albert Einstein's colleagues at Princeton playfully chided him for asking the same questions every year on his final examination. "Quite true. Each year, the answers are different." The same can be true of the "essentials" on which Bill Glover and Himanshu Bhatt focus. They remain the same after almost a decade. Indeed, according to my Wiki source, they have been essentially the same since Mario Cardullo's device was patented on January 23, 1973, "the first true ancestor of modern RFID, as it was a passive radio transponder with memory. The initial device was passive, powered by the interrogating signal, and was demonstrated in 1971 to the New York Port Authority and other potential users and consisted of a transponder with 16 bit memory for use as a toll device. The basic Cardullo patent covers the use of RF, sound and light as transmission media." However, in recent years, the nature and extent of potential applications and consequent benefits have increased far beyond anything he could possibly have imagined.

As Glover and Bhatt explain, their book "is for developers who need to get that first RFID prototype out the door; systems architects who need to understand the major element6s in an RFID system; and project managers who need to divide work, set goals, and understand vendor proposals. [I presume to include residents of the C-suite who are called upon to allocate resources to proposed RFID initiatives.] Students and instructors should find enough detail here to use this book as a supplementary text for a study of RFID.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9ad40af8) out of 5 stars 20 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a3d2240) out of 5 stars What You Need To Know About RFID 15 May 2006
By Christopher Byrne - Published on
Format: Paperback
Wanting to get smarter about Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), I welcomed the opportunity to read some new titles on the topic. I started reading the first of these, RFID Essentials by Bill Glover and Himanshu Bhatt (2006, O'Reilly, 276 Pages, ISBN 0596009445), not knowing what to expect. What I walked away with was not only a high level understanding of the technical aspects of RFID, but also an excellent discussion of the compliance, governance, privacy and security issues that surround its expanded growth and use. If there is a title that truly matches its content, this would be it.

The authors write that they undertook this book because there was no title like it on the market: a book that could target readers in between senior management and electrical engineers. As the child of an old-school software engineer with minimal knowledge on the topic, I was eager to accept this as their goal.

The book begins with an introduction to RFID. In doing this, they break down the use of the technology into distinct eras, with the compliance era being the current time frame. Tracking back to the post-war 1940's, they walk through an overview of how RFID came to be with the birth of transistors. Fast-forwarding to the compliance era, driven by vendors such as Wal-Mart, they seek to explain how most RFID-based activities meet up with traditional compliance projects, with the emphasis being on meeting requirements with the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). They then look at the "could be" as RFID-enabled enterprises come on line. They look at the various RFID application types, considerations for each of these types, and implementation of these types. They conclude this chapter wit an outline of the challenges, as well as some RFID adoption guidelines.

Chapter 2 of the book covers an overview of a "RFID Architecture". In this chapter, the authors walk through sequential items that need to be considered when looking at the implementation of an architecture. If there is an important lesson to be taken from this chapter, it would be the need to focus on business requirements.

Chapter 3 focuses on RFID Tags. They walk through basic tag capabilities, physical characteristics of tags, power sources, the "air interface", and more. They key in on the how and when to use various types of tags. A key understanding of this chapter is to look beyond the hype and at the realities. In chapter 4, they cover tag protocols. This discussion begins with a discussion of RFID Protocol terms and concepts. They then discuss how tags store data, as well as tag features that address security and privacy.

Starting in Chapter 5, the authors begin their discussion of readers and printers. This chapter includes important discussions of the types of readers that are available, and how to determine which ones make the best sense for a RFID implementation. Chapter 6 extends this discussion to include reader protocols.

From a business perspective, Chapter 7 offers insight into the important topic of data integration through middleware. A bit more technical in depth, this chapter covers issues associated with polling and managing the data provided by tags. Aside from the "commercial" for their employer (Sun), they do a good job covering high level discussions of middleware considerations, laced with technical content for systems architects to start their thinking. This line of thought continues in Chapter 8 in their coverage of the RFID Information Service.

Chapter 9 gets into the sensitive topic of manageability. Because RFID lives on the edge and the architecture has the potential to be massive in size, there are a number of areas that need to be planned for, including automation, The authors cover this with discussions of required capabilities, as well a standards and technologies.

Chapter 10 gets into a topic near and dear to my heart: privacy and security. The authors, while discussing the fact that public reaction to RFID is based on a great deal of speculation and misinformation, acknowledge that public perception will win, Without managing that perception with the realities of controls, the enterprise implementing RFID introduces additional risk into the environment. Unlike the authors of another RFID title I will be reviewing this week, they take a low-key, non-reactionary approach to this issue. This allows for the reader to think about the issues without being broad-sided by fear,uncertainty and doubt.

The book wraps up with a discussion of RFID futures in Chapter 11.

Who Should Read This Book?

This book should be read by anybody who needs to get up to speed quickly on RFID technology and issues. This includes business managers and systems architects. It is also an excellent resource for information technology auditors who need to gain in understanding of the technology (in fact, it can serve as the basis for developing the skeleton of a RFID audit plan, fleshed out with more details later.

The book is not designed for high-end tech heads or people who want to look at specific ERP-type applications. It was not written for this audience.


Eagle on a long par 5
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a3d20d8) out of 5 stars Solid Look At RFID Technology 30 Aug. 2006
By Dan McKinnon - Published on
Format: Paperback
Chapter Overview:

01. Introduction to RFID

02. RFID Architecture

03. Tags

04. Tag Protocols

05. Readers And Printers

06. Reader Protocols

07. RFID Middleware

08. RFID Information Service

09. Manageability

10. Privacy And Security

11. The Future

This book is a nice look at RFID technology. Where it's been, at, coming, and going. For anyone that wants to learn more about the details of RFID and why it's an important technology in today's world, pick up this book but beware this this isn't geared towards the average person on the street (technical).

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a30ea08) out of 5 stars Good overview of RFID system and design -- a light read 3 July 2006
By Anshuman Sinha - Published on
Format: Paperback
An excellent book on RFID system architecture and design. Covers wide range of topics including tags, tag protocols, readers and printers, reader protocols and RFID middleware. The book has a chapter on RFID privacy related issues as well. Excellent overview of every aspect of RFID technology except field and antenna design. Best way to get yourself introduced to the growing field of RFID tags and get quick overview about every aspect of the technology.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a2005ac) out of 5 stars Concise and informative 22 Jan. 2006
By Suresh - Published on
Format: Paperback
O'Reilly books tend to be informative and to the point. This book is no different. It's does exactly what the title says - provides you with the information essential to learn about RFID systems.

The authors explain the essential concepts of RFID systems starting with the physical layer and build on it. In a whirlwind fashion this book covers how tags work, how tags and reader communicate, how readers work, RFID middleware, data management, system manaegement and application intergration. The book does a remarkable job of explaining some of the more complex concepts like backscatter, tag encodings and event filtering. The concepts are then tied into architectural considerations and recommendations. RFID is a broad topic and this book offers something for everyone.

What I liked the most about this book is that it steers clear of the hype that seems to have surrounded the RFID market. Highly recommended!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a3f8870) out of 5 stars Excellent overview 21 Nov. 2006
By B. Nicodemus - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read several RFID books and this one is excellent. Good overview, plenty of detail, well organized and well written (i.e. readable).
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