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Special Issue of IEEE Proceedings - RFID - A Unique Radio Innovation for the 21st Century.

Proceedings of the IEEE (http://www.ieee.org/portal/pages/pubs/proceedings/index.html) is organizing a special issue of its publication entitled:"RFID - A Unique Radio Innovation for the 21st Century".

Introduction and Background to the topic

Today RFID is finding its ways into industrial sectors ranging from retail for tracking inventory to manufacturing for tracking product status to airlines for finding lost baggage. While RFID technology has been around for decades, it is only in the last few years that a rapid reduction in prices of readers and tags, coupled with the advancement in enterprise I.T. systems, along with demand from marquee customers such as Wal-Mart has spurred the awareness, business value and deployment of RFID. By tracking assets, supplies and personnel, enterprises are now beginning to experiment with new business models to integrate RFID within their enterprise. While the first generation of RFID technology involved reading one or a small number of ID-only tags at a time with basic reader configurations with the majority of the applications being for tracking inventory, now, the next generation of applications are resulting in a far greater set of sophisticated requirements on tags, readers, middleware, infrastructure and I.T.

Examples of this new generation of applications include, retailers starting to use RFID to automate shelf replacement to prevent dissatisfied customers, or, hospitals using RFID to track critical devices that save patients' lives and improve healthcare quality and process flow. In a related discipline, pharmaceutical firms are using RFID to help prevent counterfeit drugs from reaching pharmacies. Grocers are using intelligent sensor-laden RFID tags to prevent food from spoiling. Such leading-edge innovations in the applications of RFID are continually pushing the borders of RFID capability and inducing research, innovation and scaled adoption, undergoing specialization even within individual vertical industries and applications.

In response to a demand for such vertical applications of RFID within each industry, standards, technologies, protocols, and middleware are being innovated on appropriately. For example, while retail industry's supply chain application has adopted EPC Gen 2 at ultra high frequency (900 MHz) with passive tags, healthcare industry's asset tracking application has refined active RFID operating at several different frequencies including 433 MHz and 2.4 GHz for finding patients. Increasingly specialized industry specific frequencies, protocols and hardware are rapidly appearing in the marketplace, thereby creating the impetus for research and the next generation of applications causing a virtuous cycle of innovations and applications.

While innovations continue to advance the field, the marketplace in combination with the physical realities of RF-reading capability, eliminate the unviable options, while furthering the viable ones. The need for a special issue is therefore to bring together the research community with the engineering and business community to form a picture of the state-of-the-art in the field in terms of the current progress on research and innovations in RFID, innovative applications, innovative methods of adoption and absorption of RFID by the enterprises, innovative business and case studies, and a view into what the future holds for this field.

Special Issue Overview

The special issue will focus on the research and technical innovations in RFID hardware (readers/tags), middleware/software, applications, systems and business cases in RFID. On the reader side, system on a chip is a new paradigm that is allowing smaller, efficient and faster readers. Mobile readers are being developed for newer applications such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals where doctors can carry such readers on their belts. Research innovations in software defined radios are also making their way into reader designs that allow for reading of multiple frequency/protocol/standard tags. RFID tags themselves have become highly specialized ¡V for example apparel tags and aerospace tags have little in common. Research into tags involves a variety of topics as listed below.

Using readers and tags to develop applications typically requires the use of a middleware program. Middleware typically allow scalability, homogeneity, security in the enterprise, integratabilty with enterprise I.T., modularity of system architecture, and other software benefits. Applications developed with the use of middleware are rapidly becoming more common due to such benefits that middleware¡¦s provide. However, as we move to a more ubiquitous RFID environment, where organizations in different industries with their own specialized middleware want to communicate with each other, newer middleware architectures may be required.

Eventually, enterprises require applications where RFID can provide a benefit to their business. This implies that with all the innovations happening around us, eventually it is the enterprise that will dictate which technology it is able to absorb. For example, whether the Pharmaceutical industry would adopt HP¡¦s Memory spot tag (large memory tag) or Hitachi¡¦s new dust chip for their ePedigree mandate would depend on how these technologies perform within the enterprise, the price/performance, the needs, process constraints, cost of respective systems, standards used, return on investment of the two respective systems, etc. Therefore bringing in the systems and business issues into the up-front discussion at the research stage itself could spur unique and different innovations ¡V much like the Wal-Mart mandate in 2005 spurred innovations in the EPC (Electronic Product Code) protocol specifically for retail that are well beyond those supported by the existing HF-tags operating on various ISO protocols.

Bringing these together, the topics for the forum include the following:

Topics include, but not limited to:

Reader Technology
  Hardware design
Antenna systems
System on a Chip (SOC)
Design of stationery, mobile, personal and handheld readers
Tag Technology
  Intelligent tags
Security and encryption
Power efficiency
Antenna design
Protocols of communication
High memory tags
Tag-to-tag communications
Tag storage
Communication speed and tag data download rates
Low cost developments
Miniaturization and materials innovations
Active, semi-active, semi-passive and passive technologies
Nano and MEMS technologies for ultra-small, low-power tags
RFID Middleware technology
  RFID Middleware Architecture
Database integration
Speed issues in data movement
Integration with ERP, SCM and MRP
Web services
SOA (Services oriented architecture)
Enterprise I.T. architecture and middleware touch points
Technological and system issues
  How it affects WLAN, WWAN, PAN, and other wireless networks
Infrastructure management
Impact on enterprise security
Wireless interference
Effect on physical products containing liquids and metal
RFID implants
RF modeling and simulation of reader-tag systems
System design, prototyping and scaling
  Inventory Management
Asset Management
Supply Chain
Aerospace / Airlines / Airport and baggage management
Shipbuilding, Entertainment/Media
Financial / Mobile Payments
Security and access
Business Issues of RFID
  ROI analysis at unit and enterprise levels
Revenue models in RFID services
Effect of RFID on process improvement for the enterprise
Impact on the CIO/I.T. office
Legal issues in RFID
Business versus consumer applications

In support of the special issue, UCLA-WINMEC is hosting a one-day forum on October 15th, 2008 to encourage the community to come together, present their research ideas, exchange information, and raise questions and discuss research issues. We are also inviting potential authors to present their research at this forum so that the authors can get a chance to evaluate their own work in concert with what the community is doing and network with the community, allow the Editorial Committee to give input to the potential authors on their research, and subsequently for those papers that are meritorious, recommend them to submit to the special issue of the journal. The URL for this forum is http://www.winmec.ucla.edu/rfid/AcademicForum/2009/ (for further information - email RFIDForum@winmec.ucla.edu). For the forum itself, an on-line proceedings will be created with abstracts.

Authors Guide

Authors wishing to submit their papers should download the PDF file.

The URL where authors can submit their papers is http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/pieee - the Manuscript Central. It is shared by all working issues of Proceedings. Authors should begin by creating accounts first. After receiving their password, they should go to the "author center" and follow step-by-step instruction to submit a new manuscript. Authors should indicate the special issue on RFID.

Please limit your manuscript to 6 pages in length and follow the paper template at this link: http://www.ieee.org/web/publications/authors/transjnl/index.html

Important Dates (2008 - 2009)

February 24, 09 RFID event in UCLA
September 15, 09 Paper submission deadline
December 30, 09 Review completed.
January 15, 10 Review comments and decisions sent to authors
February 15, 10 Authors accepted or conditionally accepted - return reviewed papers to associate editors with appropriate changes.
February 21, 10 Final List of papers decided for special issue
February 22, 10 Final acceptance and list of papers sent to IEEE
March 9, 10 All papers production ready to IEEE by authors.

Yours sincerely

Rajit Gadh (Chief Editor)
George Roussos (Associate Editor)
Katina Michael (Associate Editor)
George Huang (Associate Editor)
Shiv Prabhu (Associate Editor)
Peter Chu (Associate Editor)

For further information email rfidproceedings@winmec.ucla.edu