Meta-data alignment in open Tracking & Tracing systems

van Blommestein, Fred and Karnok, Dávid and Kemény, Zsolt (2014) Meta-data alignment in open Tracking & Tracing systems. In: RFID Technology Integration for Business Performance Improvement. Advances in E-Business Research (Aebr) Book Series . IGI Global, Hershey, pp. 121-139. ISBN 9781466663084 10.4018/978-1-4666-6308-4.ch006


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In Tracking and Tracing systems, attributes of objects (such as location, time, status and temperature) are recorded as these objects move through a supply chain. In closed, dedicated systems, the attributes to record and store are determined at design time. However, in open Tracking and Tracing systems, the attributes are not known beforehand, as the type of objects and the set of stakeholders may evolve over time. Many supply chains require open Tracking and Tracing systems. The participants in the supply chain are individual companies, spread over many countries. Their trading relations change constantly. Usually they participate in multiple supply chains. E.g., a company producing chemicals may serve the chemical industry, the food industry and the textile industry at the same time. Transport companies carry goods for multiple industry sectors. Yet, they play a role in the traceability of all goods they produce or carry. Open tracking and Tracing systems are not dedicated for a certain type of product or object nor for a specific industry sector. They simply record the location, time and other attributes of the identified objects, and store that information in the data store of the object owner, based on the identification (e.g. RFID) tag. What attributes are to be stored is determined by stakeholders, such as (end) users of the object. In some cases (e.g. food) legislation prescribes what to record. An open Tracking and Tracing system therefore needs to be able to dynamically handle the set of attributes to be recorded and stored. In this chapter, a method is presented that enables components of Tracking and Tracing systems to negotiate at run time what attributes may be stored for a particular object type. Components may include scanning equipment, data stores and query clients. Attributes may be of any data type, including time, location, status, temperature and ownership. Apart from simple attributes, associations between objects may be recorded and stored, e.g. when an object is packed in another object, loaded in a truck or container or assembled to be a new object. The method makes use of findings in ontology engineering and of type theory. New types are based on existing types, with some restrictions. Both the range of values of a type and its meta‐attributes (such as cardinality) may be restricted to define a new type. Programmatically, concepts of co‐ and contra variance are used to make the method implementable. The method was developed in two European funded research projects: TraSer and ADVANCE. In TraSer, a truly open and extensible Tracking and Tracing system was developed (TraSer project consortium, 2006; Monostori et al., 2009). In ADVANCE, a distributed management information system for logistics operations was designed and implemented, that makes use of Tracking and Tracing information (ADVANCE project consortium, 2010; Kemény et al., 2011a).

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics and Computer Science > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science / számítástechnika, számítógéptudomány
Divisions: Research Laboratory on Engineering & Management Intelligence
SWORD Depositor: MTMT Injector
Depositing User: MTMT Injector
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2015 11:00
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 11:00

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