US company WhereNet has grafted business rules onto radio frequency identity (RFID) tagging to automate workflow in the car industry.
The wireless location and communications company has launched WhereSoft Vehicle, a vehicle tracking and management system that assigns RFID tags to vehicles. The tags transmit a signal that is picked up by access points.
Car makers can use WhereSoft Vehicle to tag each car as it rolls off the assembly line and link it to a vehicle identification number. The tags are active rather than passive, with a range of about three metres. Access points spread around the plant capture location data.
But to avoid RFID generating what one industry analyst has called a tidal wave of data, WhereSoft Vehicle adds context.
"The context is business process and business rules that help a company ignore things that are happening the way they are supposed to and alert managers to an exception that needs to be taken care of," said Bill McBeath of ChainLink Research.
Logistics automation is the first target for WhereSoft Vehicle. According to McBeath, once business rules are assigned to specific shipments, companies will be able to create a processing hierarchy based on the business value of the products.
"When shipping items, sometimes you are concerned about cost, other times about meeting a schedule no matter the cost," he said.
Dan Doles, president and CEO of WhereNet, said WhereSoft Vehicle could be used to trigger an alert if a lorry didn't turn up in a delivery bay at a particular time.
"In the future everything worth managing will be able to identify itself and its location, and there will be software to use that data to make things more efficient," he added.
WhereSoft Vehicle is available now and costs between $250,000 and $1m (between £135,000 and £540,000).
Ephraim Schwartz writes for InfoWorld