NuEra-ID Pty Ltd

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About NuEra-ID (NuEra-ID) (Continued)

The Idea of a Registry from which Unique Identifiers could be Issued

From the outset, it was appreciated that, for this idea to be an unqualified success, it was essential there only be one registry of Identifiers or, where there was more than one, that registries be able to be verified, by some validation process, as being a genuine issuer of Identifiers.  If that were not the case then there would always be a likelihood of two identical Identifiers being attached to two different articles in the same "workspace".  Ivan Curtis suggested that, by encrypting the numbers, it would be possible for users to verify that the number not only came from the authorised registry but also that it had been read without error by the reader.  The encryption system could be asymmetric or symmetric.  In the case of asymmetric, it would be necessary to use 256bits of data.  With an asymmetric system, clients would be given a public key to decrypt the Identifier in order to verify it was indeed genuine.  With a symmetric system, the key would have to be kept secret but the Identifier could safely be 128bits using AES256.  The method of encryption and the key used would actually give to the Identifier registry its identity.  In other words, it would be possible to have a number of registries; each using a different key and/or algorithm.  The chances of any two registries issuing the same Identifier would therefore be very small but would still be there.  It was therefore decided there could be different registries for different sized Identifiers, for example, one registry for 128bit Identifiers and another for 256bit Identifiers but never would there be two registries with the same sized Identifiers.

With the advent of the registry, the commercial model of the NuEra-ID became clear.  It would sell the service of providing Identifiers and maintaining a registry to its clients and would do everything possible to assist its clients to use those Identifiers to their greatest effect.  In performing that function, there would be opportunities for NuEra-ID to sell consultancy services as well as its numbers.  There would also be the possibility for NuEra-ID to license any Application Specific Integrated Circuits it developed; the primary purpose of these being to, with great rapidity, read multiple barcodes displayed in the field of vision of a high definition image sensor.

Unique Barcode Symbology

Early in the project it was decided to create a new type of 2D barcode.  The reasons for doing this were:
  • By having a unique barcode, it would be possible to require that it was a condition of the licence that the barcode only be used to represent Identifiers from the NuEra-ID registry.
  • The barcode would only be comprised of dots.  In this way it would be easily printable by low cost printers.  It would also be ideally suited for laser etching.  Such a laser etcher could be very simple in its construction compared to one that had to print squares and other special characters used by readers to identify the barcode in the field of view.
  • The barcode could have a high level of redundancy and so would have a greater resistance to dirt and damage than conventional 2D barcodes such as DataMatrix, QR Code and PDF417.
  • The redundant nature of the barcode coupled with the manner in which values were represented could aid a reader in quickly identifying a NU-ERA barcode in its field of view.  It would therefore be possible to construct a reader that could work at 200 frames per second and read multiple barcodes in its field of view simultaneously.
  • As a fall-back, the NU-ERA Identifier from the registry could be represented by common 2D barcodes such as DataMatrix, QR Code and PDF417 as well as by any commonly available RFID tag capable of holding 128bits of data.

Finding Investors

It was apparent to me, as a serving senior officer in the Army, there was no chance of developing this idea within the Australian Defence Force(ADF).  I had already had a long experience of frustration with trying to introduce new ideas into the ADF in the past.  (See Rifle Project and Silencer Project   The only way of causing this to happen was to find investors and develop it using a privately owned company.

In early 2007, I managed to attract a group of investors headed by Bligh Street Capital Partners to financially support this venture.  The main investor was Mr Peter c;Bartter, a former owner of Steggles Chickens, the second largest chicken producer in Australia.  Initially, Peter took a "back-seat" but has subsequently become fully involved in the company, assuming the role of Chairman and bringing a great deal of value to this venture.

Defence as a Customer Prospect

A long-standing friend of mine, Peter Martyn, (Peter and I were classmates at the Royal Military College, Duntroon)was a senior manager in a Tenix/Toll consortium that provided all 4th line logistic support to the Australian Defence Force.  Peter suggested that Tenix/Toll would be interested in exploring the use of this technology in the workplace.  His was a tricky path to tread because, being scrupulously honest, he did not want it to appear that he was helping "mates".  He could only do so much and, at all times, sought to keep the matter at arm's length; allowing others, unencumbered, to make decisions on this initiative.  My friendship with Peter actually proved to be a handicap because there were some in Tenix/Toll and later more so, British Aerospace Systems Australia(BAESA), that were suspicious of Peter's motives and so were not enthusiastic in terms of helping the project be a success.

Despite these difficulties, Tenix/Toll and later BAESA, eventually did engage NuEra-ID to develop two systems; one called the Job Tasking and Reporting system ( JTaR) and the other called the Tracking and Inventory Management System (TIMS).  TIMS was also known as the Item Tracking and Accounting System (ITAS).  Both JTaR and TIMs were intended to be demonstrators.  JTaR is still in use at the time of writing.  TIMS was independently audited by BAE Systems and successfully developed up to the point where it could be deployed but that deployment was prevented due to the failure of the $750 million Military Integrated Logistic Information System(MILIS), introduced by Defence in 2010.  MILIS was unable to produce stocksheets for over 6 months from the time of its introduction.

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