Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Google Lost & Found (BETA), anyone?"

The RuBee developments and commentaries got all of us at Intellareturn thinking ... imagine if we could utilize the RuBee protocol to enable the Intellareturn ReturnMe platform to create a lost & found Internet system for laptops and other valuables.


An item's RFID/EPC number can be associated with the item-specific data sent over the Internet. The methodologies and patents developed for ReturnMe have the ability to utilize the active RuBee protocols to help locate, identify and return missing items. Such a system would allow for a "Google-like system" to report on where products are at any time.

What do you think? Keep an eye out ... there may be a "Google Lost & Found system" soon, powered by Intellareturn.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

RuBee - A hidden jewel or an RFID killer?

RuBee. No, it’s not an imitation jewel, but rather a new protocol (IEEE 1902.1) for retailers and manufacturers to consider as an alternative or complement to RFID item-level tagging.

Is this the end of RFID as we know it?

Probably not. While the RuBee efforts include backers like Best Buy, Tesco, Metro Group, HP, Intel, IBM, Sony, Panasonic, Motorola and NCR, it should work with the plans for RFID and those applications or areas that can’t be best served by radio-frequency identification – especially since the RuBee protocol focuses primarily on magnetic rather than radio transmissions.

In an IEEE statement, RuBee is described as "a bidirectional, on-demand, peer-to-peer, radiating, transceiver protocol operating at wavelengths below 450 Khz. This protocol works in harsh environments with networks of many thousands of tags and has an area range of 10 to 50 feet."

Why is this important? It helps with the areas that RFID has problems with, primarily liquid and metal deployment challenges. Therefore, RuBee could support many high-end items that contain metal -- iPods, cellphones, televisions and most other appliances.

So why would people use RuBee?

Simply, RFID’s high bandwidth capability allows for many/multiple tags to be read in a short period of time. As a result, RuBee wouldn’t be applicable to low-end products for inventory management. Instead, according to John Stevens, chair of the IEEE's P1902.1 Working Group, “RuBee is a visibility tool, whereas RFID is a tracking tool. If you've got 50 items on a conveyor that need to be read in under a second, RFID will work, but if you have a product where you want access to internal records inside a warehouse and [want to] find out about its history from the day it was born ... that's visibility."

Intellareturn Take: Innovation and exploration are the keys to progress as we continue to research and create new technologies.

While RuBee transmission technologies have some extremely advantageous attributes and possibilities, RF transponders do as well. Both RFID and RuBee transponder standards are still evolving and we suspect both will continue to progress. For Intellareturn, our intellectual property for warranties and reverse logistics covers many protocols for providing and utilizing unique identifiers. In fact, we welcome more innovative options as that's what allows the market and technology to improve.

Remember the start of the Internet's commercialization? These efforts are similar and the opportunities are still unfolding.