Data Collection Technologies
Shantek Mobile Software Solutions offers custom designed data collection solutions for various industries.
Typically Smartphone apps, but often include the backend running on an application server, provide full
circle turnkey data collection including the analytics processes that make the data meaningful.
- Manual Data Collection
- Operators (Data Collectors) visually inspect and record the required information
- Data is collected using a portable device such as a ruggedized handheld PC or Smartphone
- Software provides flexibility with respect to:
- Realtime update to the backoffice or non-volatile storage until connectivity is available
- Data validation and limit checking with warnings of data errors
- Entry direction (Left->Right vs Right->Left)
- Selectable preprogrammed values and responses reducing keystrokes and errors from keyboard entry
- Data Collection Devices
- Data Probes
- Electrical probes, usually handheld, electromagnetically coupled, interrogate devices such as water meters
- Works in conjunction with a ruggedized handheld PC or Smartphone via serial cable
or Bluetooth to store or retransmit the data
- Radio Data Transmission
- 900 Mhz band radios attached to electrical devices, metering equipment, or sensors
- Allows for remote collection of data some distance from the source when inaccessible or in dangerous areas
- Radio receiver decodes fsk signal sending raw data to application software in a handheld device via serial cable or Bluetooth
- Software parses transmitted data by fields, storing records based on transmitted keys
- Data can be collected more quickly from a single location or while mobile
- RFID is a method to uniquely identify physical things based on an electronic tag placed on the item.
Typically, an RFID system is comprised of tags, a reader, and an antenna. The reader interrogates the tags using radio waves
via the antenna, and the tag responds with its unique information. RFID tags are either Active or Passive:
- Active RFID tags contain their own power source thereby, are capable of a read range of up to 100 meters. Their long read
range makes active RFID tags ideal for many industries where asset location and other logistical concerns are critical.
- Passive RFID tags have no power source. They are powered by the electromagnetic energy transmitted from the RFID reader.
The radio waves from the reader must be strong enough to power the tags, therefore passive RFID tags have a read range from
a few centimeters up to 25 meters.
Passive RFID tags primarily operate at three frequency ranges:
- Low Frequency (LF) 125 -134 kHz
- High Frequency (HF)13.56 MHz
- Ultra High Frequency (UHF) 856 MHz to 960 MHz
- Near Field Communication (NFC)
- NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity standard (Ecma-340, ISO/IEC 18092) that uses magnetic field induction to
enable communication between devices when they touch, or are brought within a few centimeters of each other.
- Jointly developed by Philips and Sony, the standard specifies a way for the devices to establish a peer-to-peer (P2P)
network to exchange data. The actual transmission of data occurs over Bluetooth or WiFi transport.
- Bluetooth 2.1 includes NFC, which will allow two Bluetooth-enabled devices held close to each other to exchange files
without going through a manual pairing process.
- Android Beam allows users to send photos and videos over Bluetooth by first using NFC to enable Bluetooth on both devices,
instantly pair them, and disable Bluetooth automatically once the transfer has completed. This works for Android devices
version 4.1 and above.
- Data Collection Middleware
- Resides on application servers to facilitate data decoding, conversion, and storage on other database systems directly.
- Simplifies the tasks required of handheld devices as raw data captured using any of the previously described methods, is forwared
to middleware which contains the business logic rules for the particular type of data being captured.
- Data collection applications on Smartphones and handheld PCs communicate with middleware over WiFi or cellular data links.
- Middleware can handle the metrics necessary for billing of data collection services.
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