Properly implemented RFID middleware can have a substantially positive impact on the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your RFID infrastructure. Lowry Solutions’ RFID middleware provides configuration, monitoring and maintenance capabilities from a central console. The middleware supports EPC Global standard low level reader protocol (LLRP), enabling command and control of all the readers and antennas in your RFID landscape. LLRP is an agnostic protocol providing support for most reader OEMs, simplifying support of systems that consist of a mixed reader installed base.
Lowry Solutions’ RFID middleware allows you to create reader configurations specific to each reader — identified by IP address — and push those configurations to each reader. The LLRP configuration console allows you optimize your read zones by providing the ability to fine tune reader settings. Adjustments can be made to reader transmit power, RFID tag to reader air protocol and tag read sensitivity. Most importantly, these configuration files are saved as XML files in the middleware. Anytime a reader is power cycled or replaced, the RFID middleware will automatically push that reader’s configuration to it — eliminating unnecessary visits to the reader itself.
The RFID middleware utilizes a monitoring console that provides a standard traffic light dashboard. The console displays the health of every reader and associated antenna. With a quick glance, you can see the status of each reader and antenna. This is significant, especially if you are sitting in the middle of a one million square foot manufacturing plant with 150 installed readers. The middleware can also be configured to provide alerts and notifications in the event a device degrades or fails. The system can send an email or SMS message to designated personnel, enabling a rapid response and resolution to issues as they arise. This can eliminate a significant amount of downtime in your RFID read zones and eliminate the costs associated with manually recovering data transactions missed.
Lowry Solutions’ RFID middleware provides the maintenance functions necessary to sustain your RFID system. RFID readers are no different than PCs, laptops or servers. They require regular software patches or firmware updates that either improve reader performance or resolve issues. The middleware provides a maintenance console that allows you to perform these reader updates from a central console at a scheduled time of your choosing, eliminating the need to physically visit each reader. Once again, this is significant value, especially if you are supporting a large logistics center with 150 readers requiring updates.
Most organizations today have some form of a facility maintenance department or group tasked with resolving issues that arise. However, most of these teams lack the RFID knowledge to configure or maintain RFID readers. The RFID middleware, for the most part, eliminates the need. Should a reader need to be replaced, the maintenance personnel need only to set the reader’s IP address, connect the network cable and power. When the RFID middleware sees the reader come online, it will immediately push the reader’s configuration to it, placing the reader back in production.
Lowry Solutions’ RFID middleware substantially reduces the cost to own an enterprise RFID system. The ability to centrally manage, monitor and maintain a large population of readers dispersed across a large physical area produces significant cost savings. The ability to monitor and rapidly respond to issues in the RFID infrastructure eliminates the costs associated with recovery from downtime. RFID middleware is the essential component to cost-effectively operating an enterprise RFID system.