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About NuEra-ID (NuEra-ID) - Continued

How NuEra-ID began

The genesis of NuEra-ID is very much a personal tale, so I have written this in the first person. 

I was recalled into military service in late 2005 because of a lack of Chartered Professional Engineers in the Army.  As a part of my duties, I had to carry out technical audits of military units within a formation called Land Command; comprising around 85% of the Australian Army's assets.  It soon became apparent to me that there were considerable savings to be made if it were possible to uniquely identify all items being held on inventory.  At that time, and it is still the same situation today, the Australian Department of Defence only accounts for comparatively few of its assets individually because, to do otherwise, would cost far more than the savings it would accrue through improved asset management.

The Obvious Benefits of Cost-affordable Individual Identification

There is no doubt that if it were possible to track all items individually, it would result in substantial gains in productivity in business and improvement in military capability in the context of Defence.

Consider for example:
  • how simple it would be to perform a stocktake if all articles on inventory could be identified individually
  • how it would not be possible for one office to take the chairs of another in order to make up its numbers (Recounts would be a thing of the past!)
  • the ease with which one could:
    • track down the cause of a defect in a production process
    • identify and with precision isolate contaminated foodstuffs
    • determine whether or not a warranty claim was valid
    • manage the storage and consumption of items that had a limited shelf life
    • account for a week's worth of groceries when taking receipt of them after ordering them online

In the past, the cost and practical difficulties of achieving individual identification of "trivial" items have been prohibitive.  In the future, we hope there is NU-ERA.

Exploring RFID as a possible solution

Initially, I considered using a very cheap RFID transponder so, in late 2006, I contacted friends and fellow engineers, Ivan Curtis and Mick Evans, with whom I had worked in the past and sought their advice. The concept was to build an RFID tag that could hold 128bits of data and cost as little as humanly possible.  The figure of 128 bits was arrived at because it was felt this provided a sufficient range of Identifiers such that the supply would be, for all practical purposes, inexhaustible.  128bits also happened to be the largest primary key that could be used in a PostgreSQL database at that time.  This made the Identifier ideally suited for database applications where speed of retrieval was important.

After about a month of analysis, my friends and I concluded that the cheapest RFID tag, that is a chip, with antenna and covering on a label of some description, would cost around US 7 cents.  This we concluded made it too expensive for what was required; namely to uniquely identify everything in any organisation.  We then turned our minds to some form of high density non-volatile memory device like, for example, a small segment of a CD ROM.  This then, eventually, led us to considering some form of two dimensional barcode.

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