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

Defence as a Customer Prospect (Continued)

TIMS was successful from a number of points of view:

  • TIMS demonstrated that the NuEra-ID identification system was totally compatible with other forms of barcode identification and could work comfortably side by side with these other forms of ID.  If anything, the NuEra-ID system sat above these other systems, bringing them together as one cohesive method of item or process management.
  • Importantly, the NuEra-ID method of identification was shown to require about 60% less effort than other unique ID systems that had a hierarchical segregation of the Identifiers, such as GS1.

To add to the difficulties of progressing this project, during this period of the project's development, Tenix/Toll sold the Defence contract to British Aerospace Engineering Systems Australia (BAESA) so there was a change of management to be contended with.  Both Tenix/Toll and BAESA were very difficult organisations to deal with and had many of the characteristics of the ADF; characteristics commonly found in large organisations where bureaucratic process suffocates the entrepreneurial spirit. p class="textGpHdr">Investors

Investors for the development of technology were found in the form of Bligh Street Capital Partners, Bartter Enterprises and Mr Denis Lozina.  Bligh Street Capital Partners is headed by the Honorable Mr Neville Wran and his longtime business partner, Mr Alber Wong. Bartter Enterprises is owned by Mr Peter Bartter, former owner of Steggles Chickens.  Peter has subsequently become Chairman of the Board of Directors of NuEra-ID. 

Technology Development

FPGA Development.  Ivan Curtis developed an FPGA connected to a web-cam to demonstrate how it was possible for a reader to read a NuEra-ID barcode.  Experiments were performed with a laser etcher to create the barcode using this method and these experiments were successful.  During this time it became apparent that, within the funds available, it would not be possible to develop a fully-functional reader.  The prototype reader developed by Ivan required around 25 seconds to read a NU-ERA barcode.  Ivan was confident this time could be dramatically reduced with further development of an Application Specific Integrated Circuit and more powerful circuity.  It was hoped that funding for this further development could be obtained from Defence. 

Decryption Dongle.  For the Tenix/Toll demonstrator system it was necessary to use DataMatrix barcodes to represent the NuEra-ID Identifiers.  To further demonstrate the use of this technology, a decision was made to develop a decryption dongle that could be attached to any computing device with a USB interface.  The decryption dongle was developed by GF Micro in the UK with Ivan providing engineering direction.  It had the ability to decrypt the Identifier read by a conventional barcode reader and to check that the Identifier was indeed a Identifier issued from the NuEra-ID Identifier registry.  On 15 Apr 2008, development on a stand-alone crypto module commenced.  Mick Evans handled project coordination at the local level in the UK as he had a long-standing personal relationship with the people in GF Micro.  By August 2008, the module had been designed by GF Micro in the UK and constructed and tested by Ivan Curtis in Adelaide.

Submission of an Unsolicited Innovative Proposal(UIP) to Defence

In late 2010, an unsolicited innovative proposal was submitted to Defence at the suggestion of the Secretary of Defence.  The result was interesting in that it gives an insight as to why Defence has a problem with new technology, particularly the ADF which has a "small-military", "follow-the-leader" mentality.  Their reply stated, "While the 'NU-ERA 2D Bar Code System' is a great idea and provides a unique method for tracking, the problem lies in its interface with all other entities that Defence deals with.  It does not comply with the current ADF and allied standards, and for this reason its introduction into service would cause problems with existing systems.  It would require a world-wide change in current tracking methods, which would not be cost effective for Defence at (sic) present time."  Besides the fact that the latter assertion concerning the need for a worldwide change, was shown in the demonstrator system at the Defence National Supply and Distribution Centre to simply not be true, what this response was actually saying was that the system being proposed was novel, that is, innovative, and unless it is being used by others, the ADF would not consider it. So it would seem innovation is OK provided it's innovated somewhere else first!

Where to Next?

NuEra-ID needs to find further investment to develop its reader to the point where it can be used in the workplace.  This requires the building of an ASIC and the design of advanced, powerful, energy efficient circuitry to support the ASIC.  NuEra-ID also needs to raise finance to build a hand-held laser etcher as this will greatly facilitate the marking of items coming off production lines and in the workplace; including places such as the humble corner grocery store.

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