Innovative Auto-ID and LBS - Chapter Three Historical Background

This chapter takes the reader through a historical tour of identification techniques from ancient times to the present. The histories shed light on how the purpose of citizen identification (ID) has changed as it has been impacted by complementary and supplementary innovations. The chapter provides a thorough exploration of government-to-citizen (G2C) ID systems, so as to better understand the possible uses or potential misuses of current and future mandatory ID schemes. It also presents some of the evolutionary changes that have taken place in the nature and scope of citizen ID, and their subsequent potential implications on society. Historically governments have requested the registering of their population for census collection and more recently the need to know what social benefits accrue to each household. Nowadays, however, citizen ID numbers are even used to open bank accounts and to subscribe to mobile services, among many other things. In addition, auto-ID techniques are not only pervasive but are increasingly becoming invasive.

 

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Innovative Auto-ID and LBS - Chapter Two Innovation Studies

This chapter will explore literature in the field of innovation in order to establish a conceptual framework for the auto-ID trajectory research. The primary aim of this review is to provide a critical response to the literature on technological innovation. The review will also serve to: (i) identify and understand widely accepted definitions, concepts and terms, born from past innovation research as a guide for further research; (ii) review theories, theoretical frameworks and methods adopted by other researchers doing similar innovation studies (especially in the area of information technology) in order to choose an appropriate approach for this study; (iii) understand what aspects of complex high technologies (high-tech) have already been explored by researchers and what aspects have been neglected and to discover any similarities or differences in existing findings.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Titlepage

This is the titlepage of my PhD thesis completed at the University of Wollongong in 2003 on the topic of the Automatic Identification Trajectory. I began my research in February 1997, submitted on the 5th May 2003, and graduated on the 19th December 2003. I received news of my PhD results some 12 hours after giving birth to my first child. Needless to say after 28 hours of intense labour, the news of the 6+ years of research on automatic identification was put in perspective. It is indeed the journey that matters...

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Dedication

This is the dedication page to my PhD thesis. Michael Michael (35) a barrister in NSW died unexpectedly of a heart attack on New Years Day in 1994, and his younger brother Andrew Michael (22), a qualified accountant who was in his second year of medicine, died of an asthma attack the morning after returning from study abroad. Andrew insisted on visiting his brother at the cemetery the day he arrived back from Hungary. Both my husband's cousins are greatly missed. 

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Abstract

Traditionally the approach used to analyse technological innovation focused on the application of the techno-economic paradigm with the production function as its foundation. This thesis explores the rise of the evolutionary paradigm as a more suitable conceptual approach to investigating complex innovations like automatic identification (auto-ID) devices. Collecting and analysing data for five auto-ID case studies, (bar codes, magnetic-stripe cards, smart cards, biometrics and RF/ID transponders), it became evident that a process of migration, integration and convergence is happening within the auto-ID technology system (TS). The evolution of auto-ID is characterised by a new cluster of innovations, primarily emerging through the recombination of existing knowledge. Using the systems of innovation (SI) framework this study explores the dynamics of auto-ID innovation, including organisational, institutional, economic, regulatory, social and technical dimensions. The results indicate that for a given auto-ID innovation to be successful there must be interaction between the various stakeholders within each dimension. The findings also suggest, that the popular idea that several technologies are superseded by one dominant technology in a given selection environment, does not hold true in the auto-ID industry. 

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Publications

During my PhD I was working full-time for Nortel Networks as a senior network and business planner. I did not have much time left over to write papers for conferences or submit to journals. But I did manage to write a number of case studies for a textbook on electronic commerce and as part of my day job present at several global conferences.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter One Introduction

This thesis is concerned with the automatic identification (auto-ID) industry which first came to prominence in the early 1970s. Auto-ID belongs to that larger sector known as information technology (IT). As opposed to manual identification, auto-ID is the act of identifying a living or nonliving thing without direct human intervention. Of course the process of auto-ID data capture and collection requires some degree of human intervention but the very act of authenticating or verifying an entity can now be done automatically. An entity can possess a unique code indicating personal identification or a group code indicating conformity to a common set of characteristics. Some of the most prominent examples of auto-ID techniques that will be explored in this thesis include bar code, magnetic-stripe, integrated circuit (IC), biometric and radio-frequency identification (RF/ID). The devices in which these techniques are packaged include labels and tags, card technologies, human feature recognition, and implants. Generally the devices are small in size, not larger than that of a standard credit card.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Two Literature Review

The primary purpose of the literature review is to establish what relevant research has already been conducted in the field of auto-ID innovation. It is through this review of the broader research topic that a specific proposal can be accurately formulated. First, a critical response to the literature on technological innovation is required. Second, a thorough evaluation of research on auto-ID technologies is necessary. Third, an attempt to locate works that deal with both innovation and auto-ID will be made. If these works are scant, then the question of whether this warrants a sufficient gap for further research will be posed. Can this thesis act to fill the void in the literature by offering a first attempt at understanding the innovation of technologies in the auto-ID industry?

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Three Research Design

A qualitative research strategy was chosen over a quantitative one due to the complexity of the research problem. The study grants the qualitative researcher the ability to focus in on a grand tour question throughout the thesis, followed by subquestions within (Anderson & Kanuka 2003, p. 35). In this instance the investigation is mainly preoccupied with the auto-ID trajectory. This type of strategy allows the researcher unlimited inquiry in areas that he/she believes is required, finding synchronicity with the systems of innovation (SI) framework underlying the study. Intrinsic to this type of research, as stated by Creswell (1998, pp. 16-17), is a commitment to collect extensive data. This researcher has chosen to conduct data analysis using categories or like themes to make sense of the large amount of data collected. In this thesis, long quoted passages also characterise the style of presentation, not only to substantiate claims made by the researcher but also to show the diverse positions held by the various auto-ID stakeholders, pointing to key pieces of evidence throughout.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Four Historical Background: From Manual to Auto-ID

Before the introduction of computer technology the various means of external identification were greatly limited. The most commonly used method was relying on one’s memory to identify the distinguishing features and characteristics of other humans, such as their outward appearance or the sound of their voice. However, relying solely on one’s memory had many pitfalls and thus other methods of identification were introduced. These included marks, stamps, brands, cuts or imprints engraved directly onto the skin, which were to be later collectively referred to as tattooing. Historical records date the first tattoo about 2000BC to Ancient Egypt, though there is evidence to suggest that tattooing was introduced by the Egyptians as early as 4000BC (Cohen, T. 1994, p. 25).

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Five The Development of Auto-ID Technologies

In this chapter the story behind the development of individual auto-ID technology will be explored. First to highlight the importance of incremental innovation within auto-ID; second to show the growth of the auto-ID selection environment as being more than just bar code and magnetic-stripe technology; third to point to the notion of technological trajectory as applied to auto-ID; fourth to highlight the occurrence of creative symbiosis taking place between various auto-ID devices; and fifth to establish a setting in which results in the forthcoming chapters can be interpreted. The high-level drivers that led to each invention will also be presented here as a way to understand innovation in the auto-ID industry.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Seven: Ten Cases in the Selection and Application of Auto-ID

The overall purpose of this chapter is to present the auto-ID selection environment by exploring ten embedded case studies. The cases will act to illustrate the pervasiveness of each auto-ID technology within vertical sectors which are synonymous with the technology’s take up. The focus will now shift from the technology provider as the central actor to innovation (as was highlighted in ch. 6) to the service provider stakeholder who adopts a particular technology on behalf of its members and end users. It will be shown that new commercial applications do act to drive incremental innovations which shape a technology’s long-term trajectory. The four levels of analysis that will be conducted can be seen in exhibit 7.1 below, with three examples to help the reader understand the format of the forthcoming micro-inquiry. This chapter dedicates equal space to each case and for the first time will show that coexistence between auto-ID technologies is not only possible but happening presently, and very likely to continue into the future.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Eight The Auto-ID Trajectory: Converging Disciplines

Having studied the past and present applications of manual and automatic identification technology it is now feasible to investigate the likely future of auto-ID. While this chapter can be considered predictive in nature, it is based on leading-edge research, most of which has not been cited collectively as has been done here, in the auto-ID trajectory context. As identification techniques and devices have evolved incrementally since the 1900s, the turn of the twenty-first century has witnessed a new breed of auto-ID innovations; traditional devices that have found uses in non-traditional applications, many of which can be considered radical in their novelty. By tracing these developments the possible trajectories can be determined shedding light on the short-to-medium term course of auto-ID over the next fifty years. It should be noted that the trend towards digital convergence, shown within the auto-ID industry itself in chapter seven, is also present at a macro level, across different disciplines. Thus this chapter will inexorably be linked to showing how auto-ID devices have been utilised in other fields of study, such as medicine, and the innovative applications that have been born from these newly-formed relationships. This is a significant contribution to auto-ID research; not only being able to understand the autonomous nature of auto-ID but also being able to comprehend where new research dollars are likely to be spent, granting one the ability to ponder on the implications of subsequent developments. In addition, the chapter will present a view of complementary and supplementary peripheral technologies that are essential parts of this trend toward technological convergence. Finally, the human metaphor will be used to explore the auto-ID paradigm, beginning with auto-ID devices that are carried, to those that are worn, to those that penetrate the skin, and to those that wish to do away with the flesh altogether.

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The Auto-ID Trajectory - Chapter Ten: Conclusion

The principal conclusions from the findings given in chapter nine are threefold. First, that an evolutionary process of development is present in the auto-ID technology system (TS). Incremental steps either by way of technological recombinations or mutations have lead to revolutionary changes in the auto-ID industry- both at the device level and at the application level. The evolutionary process in the auto-ID TS does not imply a ‘survival of the fittest’ approach,[1] rather a model of coexistence where each particular auto-ID technique has a path which ultimately influences the success of the whole industry. The patterns of migration, integration and convergence can be considered either mutations or recombinations of existing auto-ID techniques for the creation of new auto-ID innovations. Second, that forecasting technological innovations is important in predicting future trends based on past and current events. Analysing the process of innovation between intervals of widespread diffusion of individual auto-ID technologies sheds light on the auto-ID trajectory. Third, that technology is autonomous by nature has been shown by the changes in uses of auto-ID; from non-living to living things, from government to commercial applications, and from external identification devices in the form of tags and badges to medical implants inserted under the skin.

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