Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Joys of RFID

Welcome all to the “So What?”!! The Hunter family off to the South Pacific? *pffffftttttt* yea right he’s probably syncing up his Blackberry right now or sitting on the couch watching cartoons. Anyway……

I guess I should at least give a little background on myself before I dive into the Oracle silliness. Most of you know me as OracleDoc on the forums and I’m currently working for a Defense contractor who has a contract with the US Army in Germany. I’ve been here for over two years now and I don’t see an end in sight. In all actuality, I rather enjoy what I’m doing because it’s cutting edge and it keeps me on my toes, not to mention it’s in the land of beer and Autobahns!

I’ll give you a little sample of what we do here because I think it’s a great technology and it’s going to be more main stream with the commercial world here very soon (if it hasn’t already).

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). Go watch this commercial then come back. Basically anything the Army slaps an RF tag on or any other device that has the ability to broadcast its location, my database stores its location. I can then regurgitate that information onto a webpage either textually or as an image on a satellite map. I’m sure you’ve all seen Google earth, so imagine you have a piece of equipment that you want to know where in the world it’s at, you plug in the identification number of the tag and voila`! there it is displayed neatly on a Sat image.

*side note; These things are great for tracking teenagers driving habits

Funny story….couple months ago I was looking for a particular truck that the Army uses solely in Kuwait for transporting food. I plugged in the criteria and said give me all the food carrying trucks that have reported within the last 24 hours and bring it to me on the Sat map. I was expecting to see all these little truck icons scattered throughout Kuwait but to my surprise, I see this one lonely truck icon smack dab in the middle of Beirut. I’m thinking “nawhhh it’s a glitch”…click ”refresh” but nope it was still there. So I plug in the id number of this truck and tell it to give me the history of all its positions. Good Lord…. this truck started out in Kuwait then worked its way up to Iraq, then on over to Syria, then finally stopping in Beirut. At this point my mind is throwing up red flags all over the place because there’s a remarks column next to the tag and it’s saying that the truck was destroyed by an IED (improvised explosive device) several months back. At this point I call in my boss and we start making phone calls.

As it turns out, the truck was stolen and the company that owned the truck instead of saying it was stolen just said it got blown up. You say stolen and the investigation and paper work start, you say blown up and you get reimbursed for the cost of the truck. Needless to say someone got their genitals whacked.

3 days later the little truck icon in Beirut disappeared. I love my job!


Gary Myers said...

Piqued my interest.
Having a look at :
presumably there was SOMETHING in Beirut (or in the truck itself ?) that
forwarded the RFID information.
Do we get into "I could tell you but then I'd have to shoot you" territory ?

OracleDoc said...

Hee hee..no I wouldn't have to shoot you. There are devices out there that are trans-ceivers that let satellites know where they're at, at all times. They're great when you don't want to have to depend on the truck passing by a reader.

Ever seen those semi-big white domes on trucks usually located on top of the cab behind the wind screen?

Anonymous said...

Hope you aren't the one that blew up Jack Bauer's friend on a deep cover mission in Beirut!

David Aldridge said...

Sounds like a similar functionality to the commercial Lo-jack system, right? Sounds like good stuff. Can you setup alerts to warn if particular vehiclkes stray outside of a given area?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like confidential information you are leaking on a fairly widely read oracle blog.

Trying to lose your job?

Are you a hippy?

What defense contractor do you work for exactly?

OracleDoc said...

Yeah it's similar to Lo-Jack but better :)

And, yes we can setup alerts.

Sounds like you're not too informed about RFID. Don't be scared I'll hold your hand.

We do the exact same thing FED-EX does but on a more granular scale.

Your 3 other questions, I'm not going to take your bait go play somewhere else.