Item Tracking and Accounting System (ITAS)
The NUERA Technology Suite is a major project presently being pursued by NuEra-ID. ITAS is a testbed that was installed into a customer site to demonstrate the benefits and feasibility of the ITAS.
ITAS consisted of:
DataMatrix Barcode Symbology Used
Because the NUERA barcode reader was not mature, it was not feasible to use NUERA barcodes to mark items within the stores. As a consequence, for the purposes of demonstrating the concept of the NUERA tagging system, DataMatrix 2D barcodes were used instead. These barcodes were capable of representing the NUERA 128 bit encrypted numbers. DataMatrix barcodes are usually displayed as a matrix of squares as shown in Figure 1 but they can also be displayed as a matrix of dots as shown in Figure 2.
Outline of Process
Before tagging items, all items listed on inventory were downloaded into the barcode readers. Readers had the capacity to store around 10 million line items. Special software was written in C Sharp to run on the barcode readers. This software was such that the user only had to type around 3 or 4 characters to uniquely identify any item and cause it to be selected on the list. Tests showed that for very large lists of millions of items, the item could be found within half a second of a unique string being typed into the barcode reader. A tag was attached to the item and once the item was located and selected on the list in the barcode reader, the tag was scanned. This then linked the item from that time onwards with the unique number on the tag. The results of this tagging were then sent by WiFi to the local server. From that time onwards, when an article was tagged, it could be rapidly located on the server's database and all of its details retrieved.
Results of the Trial
The results of this demonstrator system indicated that it required around 60% less effort to tag items using the NUERA identification system than it did using the GS1 system of identification. The reason for this was because of the GS1 system requires that the tag actually identify the item by way of its stocknumber followed by a unique serial number obtained from a register, either locally or from the supplier of the item. This is an extremely difficult thing to do in practice unless you are a manufacturing concern making a limited number of items. The GS1 system requires that the tags have to be individually printed for each item; especially when that item has a serial number already engraved into or attached to it. This necessitates the storeman to have to preprint each tag or to print the tag in the workplace and to match each tag with an item. With the NUERA system, the storeman simply has tags, each with a unique number on them. When they find an item and locate it on the inventory list, they only have to associate the unique number with the item listed in the inventory. From that time onwards the tag is linked to the inventory record. This is far less labour intensive than the GS1 system.