Automatic identification and data collection

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Systematics of identification techniques

Techniques for identification , data acquisition , data collection and data transmission are summarized under the designation automatic identification and data acquisition or automatic identification (Auto-ID) . This includes technologies such as barcodes , smart labels , biometrics , mobile data acquisition , OCR , RFID , speech recognition , various types of chip cards and information carriers based on optical free space data transmission ( optical radio relay ).



Auto-ID techniques are used to automatically identify objects. For the unambiguous recognition, unique features are used for identification, which are referred to as identifiers . Probably the best-known example is the scanner cash register in the supermarket, which reads a barcode as an identifier. Another possibility is to use numbers from a number range .

The given features can also be used to identify objects, provided that their combination is unique. Biometric methods can identify people with relative certainty based on their voice pattern, fingerprint, iris or facial features.

Data acquisition

Barcodes and other optoelectronically readable writing can be used both for the transport of data and for the identification of objects. Coded information is read in by machine in order to link IT systems with the real physical world.

With OCR-A , a machine-readable font was developed as early as 1968. Any data type and information can be represented with a barcode. For the purpose of data transfer z. B. developed the barcode font PDF417 (Portable Data File), with the symbols of which data can be represented.

The data encrypted on a barcode or in a plain text line are not exclusively identifiers, but can be normal user data.

Compared to manual input by data typists with input speeds of around 2 characters / second with approx. 1 error per 300 characters, the automatic data acquisition is practically error-free with a significantly higher transfer rate. This lowers the costs both for data acquisition and for necessary corrections in the event of data errors.

Data collection

The data acquisition discussed in the previous section enables the processing and storage of data. In doing so, the automatically collected data stocks are aggregated, manipulated and converted to other data formats. This data can in turn be used to extract information that is important for business processes or for monitoring a supply chain.

Data transfer

For this purpose, the data is stored in a structured manner according to agreed rules. The subsequent interpretation on the recipient side is guaranteed by the definition of common data types with defined data fields and sizes. Examples are EAN128 , Odette and EPC . A protocol is thus agreed that can also be exchanged electronically as an EDIFACT subset.

Like letters and numbers on paper for people, barcodes and transponders are a medium on which messages can be stored and transmitted in a machine-compatible manner. This means that asynchronous communication takes place between the sender of the message who applies the data carrier and the recipient, the reading station.

Auto-ID procedures based on optical free space data transmission ( optical radio relay ) exist for logistical areas of application . Here, data is transmitted to information carriers with the aid of visible light, which is emitted by modulated LEDs. The transmitted data can be received from the information carrier by means of a photodiode and shown on a display. The displayed data can then also be used with other Auto-ID technologies, e.g. B. barcode or matrix code readers can be detected. Examples: Electronic Shelf Label (ESL), IdentOverLight.


The boundaries are fluid and several processes are often used at the same time (e.g. car key = key profile and RFID). In cooperative systems such as EAN , the techniques for identification with the barcode EAN-13, data transmission with the EAN128 protocol and business data exchange with EANCOM grow together to form an integrated system.

Areas of application

Areas in which Auto-ID is applied

  • trade
    • Product identification with European Article Number barcode; Since January 1, 2009, the name has been changed worldwide to GTIN (Global Trade Item Number).
    • automatic and timely inventory
  • Transport and logistics
  • safety
    • Determination of identity through identity cards and other personal identification
    • Access control of buildings
    • Theft prevention in the form of article surveillance systems
    • Immobilizer with transponders
  • Business data
    • Data acquisition from occurring in the production data
    • automated payment transactions with transfers and checks
    • Form processing, parking space management
  • Others
    • Borrowing books in libraries
    • Baggage handling at airports


  • E. Fleisch, F. Mattern: The Internet of Things. Ubiquitous Computing and RFID in Practice: Visions, Technologies, Applications, Instructions . Springer, Berlin 2005, ISBN 978-3-540-24003-7 .
  • T. Aha, C. Wölker, M. Wölker (Eds.): Ident technology: Practical use in industry, services and trade . ident book volume 4 . Umschau Zeitschriftenverlag, Frankfurt / Main 2000, ISBN 978-3-930007-98-1 .
  • K. Krämer, M. Wölker, R. Jünemann (Hrsg.): Basis of company processes - identification technology . Umschau Zeitschriftenverlag, Frankfurt / Main 1999, ISBN 978-3-930007-97-4 .
  • R. Jünemann, M. Wölker, K. Krämer: Communication in the logistics chain: Automatic identification . Umschau Zeitschriftenverlag, Frankfurt / Main 1998, ISBN 978-3-930007-95-0 .
  • R. Jünemann, M. Wölker, K. Krämer (Ed.): Identification technologies - a guide through practice and research . Umschau Zeitschriftenverlag, Frankfurt / Main 1997, ISBN 978-3-930007-96-7 .
  • R. Jünemann; M. Wölker (Ed.): Automatic identification in practice and research . Verlag Praxiswissen, Dortmund 1996, ISBN 978-3-929443-63-9 .
  • M. Astitouh, S. Lorisch, S. Heißmeyer, L. Overmeyer: Auto-ID with visible light in intralogistics - IdentOverLight - a new functional principle . Huss-Verlag, 2013, ISSN  0017-9442 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. IdentOverLight research project . Institute for Integrated Production Hanover. Retrieved August 2, 2013.