The study, conducted by researchers in the RFID Research Center at the University of Arkansas, demonstrated RFID’s usefulness in several shoplifting scenarios, including many items moving through a security/reader portal at a high rate of speed and many items stuffed into a “booster bag,” a traditional shopping bag lined with aluminum foil.
Despite modern surveillance technology, retail outlets continue to be plagued by theft. Shoplifters have discovered various methods to deceive or elude electronic-surveillance systems.
Radio-frequency identification of products is one possible tool to combat theft, and the technology performed well in a new feasibility study on its use as a potential sales-floor theft-deterrent system. The study, conducted by researchers in the RFID Research Center at the University of Arkansas, demonstrated RFID’s usefulness in several shoplifting scenarios, including many items moving through a security/reader portal at a high rate of speed and many items stuffed into a “booster bag,” a traditional shopping bag lined with aluminum foil.
Bill Hardgrave, director of the research center and professor of information systems in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, announced the findings Sept. 10 at a two-day forum on item-level RFID hosted by the research center, the Voluntary Interindustry Commerce Solutions Association and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.
“The most interesting data came from scenarios involving the booster bag and testers running through portals with many items,” Hardgrave said. “These scenarios included many multiple RFID tags, and we were able to obtain a great deal of information at the entry/exit portal.”
Researchers tested two types of ultra-high frequency, generation 2 RFID tags in various baseline and shoplifting scenarios. The tests involved comparisons to two conventional systems, acousto-magnetic and low-level radio-frequency electronic article surveillance, currently used in many retail stores.
In the baseline tests, the researchers experimented with various tag locations and orientations as the tags moved through portal readers. In each test, the RFID system performed as well as or better than the conventional systems. The specific strength of RFID, as demonstrated in the baseline tests, was its ability to capture individual tags at various locations and orientations. Perhaps more importantly, the RFID technology recorded the total number of individual tags, while the other technologies simply noted the presence of any tag in the read field.
“Because RFID can uniquely identify individual tags, it can provide information on the number of stolen items within a bag or the number of items held by a shoplifter,” Hardgrave said. “Conventional systems cannot uniquely identify individual tags, which means they can report only one item in a bag that may have 20 or 50 stolen items.”
Based on advice of retail loss-prevention professionals and prevention-technology providers, the researchers then tested the technology in these shoplifting scenarios:• Fifty tagged items in a booster bag lined with aluminum foil. (The presence of metal tends to reflect ultra-high frequency signals and therefore reduces read rates.)
In the second shoplifting scenario – a tagged shoe worn by a tester walking through the portal – the RFID system was 95-percent successful. Hardgrave said this result demonstrated a weakness with the RFID system in that it did not read all tags at the foot level. Scenario three, a tag placed on the collar of a shirt worn under an untagged jacket, also exhibited a weakness. Hardgrave attributed this finding to the tag’s proximity to the tester’s body, which likely absorbed radio-frequency energy and thus compromised the system’s ability to read tags. Likewise, in the sixth scenario – tagged socks held in a tester’s hand and tucked under the opposite arm – the RFID system did not perform as well as the conventional surveillance technologies. Again, the human body acting as a shield had a stronger effect on readability of RFID tags.
“Body proximity had an adverse effect on read rates,” Hardgrave said. “That is something we will investigate further. In general, though, RFID fared well. Clothing and cloth material did not significantly interfere, and moving the tags though the portal at different heights did not significantly affect success, either. To see that speed of movement did not cause decreased performance was very encouraging. Overall, RFID performed adequately enough to warrant further investigation.”
The study is available upon request or can be downloaded at http://itri.uark.edu/research. Enter “rfid” as the keyword.
The University of Arkansas RFID Research Center is a subunit of the Information Technology Research Institute within the Walton College. The center officially opened in June 2005. In September 2005, the center passed performance accreditation criteria established by EPCglobal Inc. The center is the only accredited academic EPC/RFID test center in the world.
Hardgrave, holder of the Edwin and Karlee Bradberry Chair in Information Systems, is also executive director of the Information Technology Research Institute.
CONTACT:Bill Hardgrave, professor of information systems; executive director, Information Technology Research Institute; director, RFID Research Center
New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions
12.12.2018 | Universität Zürich
NIST's antenna evaluation method could help boost 5G network capacity and cut costs
11.12.2018 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
17.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.12.2018 | Architecture and Construction
17.12.2018 | Life Sciences