(1) Coping with the noisy nature of RFID data streams

Although the automatic detection of goods using RFID seems trivial at first glance, technical constraints limit the quality of the collected data. In particular, the absorption and reflection of radio waves may lead to unexpected read events and ultimately to false-negative and false-positive RFID tag reads. As a consequence, powerful techniques for filtering and aggregating sequences of RFID reads are one envisaged outcome of the SERAMIS project.

(2) Searching for information that matters in the RFID haystack

Only few authors have so far empirically investigated the benefits of information collected by large-scale RFID installations in productive use. Thus our second objective consists in developing novel performance indicators or other forms of management-relevant reports based on RFID data.

(3) Understanding the impact on workflows and decision-making

After achieving objective 2 we want to answer the following question: How can we make use of the obtained information in the best possible way on an operational or managerial level? Our findings could help managers to make better decisions or support sales staff with offering better advisory services to their customers. Furthermore RFID may also be used to feed novel decision models that substitute human decision-making. A well-known but nevertheless only poorly understood example is the issue of RFID-based shelf replenishment processes in retail stores.

(4) Putting it all together on the IS level

RFID data in themselves provide little value if they are not integrated with other operational systems to link tag IDs to product information and business events. It requires enrichment with information from further data repositories before any interpretation makes sense. Thus our goal is to investigate the different options and necessities for integration on the level of information systems.

(5) Managing the social and political context

The risks associated with RFID that are discussed in the public include both the direct impact of electromagnetic radiation on health, as well as indirect economic consequences such as the elimination of jobs through increasing automation. However, the most frequently voiced fear around RFID is the technology’s potential to breach personal privacy. Until today, it has not been investigated how RFID could be deployed on the shop floor and/or for innovative customer service purposes without compromising customer privacy. Thus our fifth goal is to get insights into privacy mitigation techniques that preserve the service potential of the rich set of RFID data while still respecting customer privacy.