The registration of a filled supermarket trolley directly at the checkout via RFID transponders, without customers having to place all items on the conveyor belt, is, at the moment, still a long way off. The idea of integrating RFID data into video images however has now become a reality for the first time. This application has been made possible through the close cooperation between Regensburg based company Dallmeier and initPRO. The two firms collaborate within the Network for Innovative Logistics.
The Network for Innovative Logistics, abbreviated NIL, has made it its goal to provide comprehensive IT logistics solutions and services for manufacturing, warehousing and transportation. The initiative is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. In all seven companies as well as both of Regensburg's universities pool competences from all areas of the logistics chain and together develop new solutions and innovative products.
Within the scope of the NIL project the two companies Dallmeier and initPRO work on the integration of RFID data into video images. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) makes it possible to transmit data via radio waves, contact-free and without intervisibility. At the core of this technology is the so-called RFID transponder, also known as RFID tag, which consists of a chip and a connected antenna. The antenna is capable of absorbing energy from the electromagnetic waves and thus activating the chip in order to transmit the data stored on the chip back to the reading device, namely the RFID reader.
The developmental work conducted by initPRO relied on already existing documented interfaces by Dallmeier. Thereby, Dallmeier’s wide experience in the area of video surveillance as well as initPRO’s know-how regarding RFID were incorporated into the work. Armin Biersack, who is in charge of the project at Dallmeier, was very satisfied: "We have worked together very closely and so, together, we were able to create a solution that can be practically used in a variety of applications."
For the very first time, data which are transmitted by the RFID tag such as date, time or serial number can be integrated into the video image. For this purpose the RFID reader sends data to the Dallmeier recorder via Ethernet. The data is then displayed within the management software PView, either in or next to the video image.
An important area of application for this technology is the documentation of the transfer of risk with providers of logistics services. So as to be able to definitively allocate later reclamations for transport damages or losses, the flow of goods is completely documented throughout the logistics centre, right up to the moment when the goods are handed over to the parcel shipment company or the forwarding agent. Thereby, the parcels are scanned when they come in and when they go out. Additionally, they are captured by a high-resolution colour camera. The registered process data is saved by the digital recording system, together with the image data, in order to ensure that images and parcel data can later be clearly matched.
“Meanwhile, the scanning of the goods is more and more frequently expanded by RFID technology. This saves time as the goods no longer have to be registered manually but can be booked automatically and in seconds by reading devices. Therefore, it is important to be able to also integrate RFID data into the video images so that parcels and whole pallets can be conclusively identified in the future", says Norbert Jungbauer, Managing Director at initPRO.