Networking Practical Networking in the Modern Business Essay

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Practical Networking in the Modern Business Environment

Networking architecture is vital in the organisation of any business firm in today's globalised world. RFID, Cloud Computing, Intranet Network Architecture and Digital Rights Management (DRM) are major fields of endeavour that require the resources of companies. Increasingly, all aspects of an organisation are linked via the Internet and various other technologies in ways of connectivity that we did not even imagine before.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been a vital part of the Wal-Mart Corporation's growth. At the beginning of the 1990s, Wal-Mart trailed K-Mart which at that time could negotiate lower wholesale prices due to its huge size. Part of Sam Walton's strategy for catching up was to set up a point-of-sale system. Such a system is a computerized network that identifies each item that is sold, locates the price in a computerized database. After this, the system creates an accurate customer sales receipt and stores item-by-item sales information for use in analysis of sales and reordering inventory. The strategic use of this helps Wal-Mart avoid overstocking issues by learning what merchandise items are slow sellers. This has made Wal-Mart's inventory and distribution system a world leader. For example, in 5-year period, Wal-Mart invested somewhere above $600 million IT "Wal-mart: attaining competitive," 1999) .

Wal-Mart use telecommunications to directly link from its stores to its warehouses. Wal-Mart began implementing an RFID chip-based pallet and case-level tracking system in 2005. They are require their suppliers to supplying products with RFID tags on pallets and cases. Due to the enormity of Wal-Mart's supply network, the Wal-Mart implementation is having has made RFID and a mainstream technology. It has resulted in lower cost RFID tags, ever more readily available RFID equipment, a wider acceptance of RFID standards and widespread resolutions of operational and integration issues. (Want, 2006, 26). The best advantage for all of this is of course real-time tracking of everything in the supply chain. This helps Wal-Mart track the exact number of products that they hold (Michael & McCathie, 2005, 3).

The world of hi-tech is not always smooth. The most significant IT worry for Wal-Mart's suppliers is related to the electronic price tag (EPC) system. Their biggest concern is obviously related to cost and resource requirements to implement the technologies. Problems with the price have caused some suppliers to balk. Due to this issue, bar codes will probably be around for some time to come.

However, on the pro-side, EPC networks allows products to be monitored in the store, alerting monitoring systems with specific sales details in real-time and when products go missing. This allows Wal-Mart to take anti-theft measures to prevent future occurrences. Obviously, RFID and EPC can provide theft prevention in the retail outlets themselves as well as in distribution centers (ibid).

However, the cost factor has caused Wal-Mart to have to introduce RFIDs and EPCs in stop and start again fashion in the last eight years for some product lines. For instance, in July of 2010, Wal-Mart was working with its suppliers of men's jeans and basic items (undershirts, socks and underwear) to be able to track these items using RFID tags based on a second-generation ultra-high frequency UHF RFID standard technology. This effort is part of the next generation of Wal-Mart's EPC RFID program. This will concentrate on products that have multiple stock-keeping units (SKUs). These products are a challenge to manage from the inventory perspective (Roberti, 2010) .

To help defray the high cost of the RFID technology, Wal-Mart is using its size and market share to help suppliers by leveraging the best price on EPC RFID tags. By doing this, Wal-Mart will be In this way, Wal-Mart will be aiding a supplier that only needs a small volume of tags. They will then pay less than they would pay if they purchased the tags on their own. The retail giant is not giving money to their suppliers to subsidize the cost of the tags. Rather, they are sharing in a cost-of-goods model that includes EPC RFID labels as an integral component item in the total cost of goods. In this way, costs can be better predicted and supply sources adjusted as necessary to keep down prices (ibid).

This assignment consists of four different TASKS. Answer all of them.

Design of an Enterprise RFID System

The cost and cumbersome nature of active RFID tag systems makes their integration into retail products difficult. This makes it incumbent to design any Enterprise RFID system around passive RFID tags. Also, the design of the system will be designed around the RFID transaction, that is, the reading of the tag by an RFID reader on the trip from the manufacturing facility, to the distribution warehouse, to the retail store and finally to the home environment. In other words, the front end of the system is the manufacturing warehouse. While the back end used to be the retail store, the RFID tag makes it possible to track the product to the home if there is a reader in a smart product (such as a refrigerator, for instance). The tags need to be embedded in a layer effect at the item, package and pallet level. Therefore, of equal importance in the design of the system is the placement of the tag reader (Sounderpandian and Boppana 2007 108).

While this IEEE article assumes in its design of a system that it will center around the retail environment, it raised an interesting possibility of the tag tracking the product through its use in the home if a reader is available. With the increasing use of smart appliances, we must take this into consideration in any system design. For this author's design of a system, we need to examine whether or not the back end is in the home or in the retail store. It will very soon be economical maintain RFID tags on the object, especially if it is a durable item such as an a large appliance or automobile (Konidala, Kim, Yeun and Lee 2011 112). Due to various security considerations, consumers have to be able to "kill" the tag or to keep the signal within the home and uploaded to only authorized places (ibid., 114). The consumer will likely manage this information from the smart phone in order to do something like to turn on an off appliances in a "smart" manner (ibid.,116). To further speculate, in the area of consumer goods, the consumer might be persuaded to participate in the RFID tracking to help stores in their merchandise management in exchange for rebates or coupons to get them to "sign on" to the management of the consumer information. With the consumer in mind, this author proposes a layout for an Enterprise RFID system as follows, with the back end being the home network:

General Enterprise RFID Information System Design with Home RFID Tracking-Front End (Manufacturer), Middle-Store, Back End (Home Network)


First of all, we have to define what Cloud computing is. Cloud computing can be defined as the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product. In the case of Cloud computing, shared resources, information and software are provided to computers and other devices in a company as a metered service over a network (usually the Internet). In other words, the approach to computer services is more along the lines of something similar to a utility Cloud Computing Defined 2011).

It is used as needed and one is not immediately concerned where the equipment or services are physically located. Cloud computing is a new supplement, delivery and consumption delivery variety for IT services based upon Internet protocols. It typically involves the provisioning of dynamic, scalable and virtual resources (Knorr and Gruman 2011). Cloud computing is a byproduct and also a consequence of ease-of-access to remote computing sites provided over the Internet. This might take the form of web-based computing tools or applications that the users can access and use via a web browser just as if the programs were installed locally on their own computer network. Security concerns are one of the major drawbacks of the technology (Binning 2008).

One of the most successful examples of Cloud computing by a fortune 500 company is Amazon and it serves as an excellent case study to see what types of IT services are best outsourced. Amazon's family of applications known as Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) (Amazon introduces split 2011). With every page request, Silk calculates its division of labor between the new Kindle mobile tablet hardware and Amazon EC2. In other words, the systems share responsibility in a symbiotic and redundant system that takes into consideration such factors as network conditions, the location of cached contents, page complexity and architecture and the list goes on. This results in the web browsing experience that Amazon users have grown used to. It is now available on the Kindle tablet Cloud computing has been highly embraced recently by businesses around the world. The financial advantages for Amazon are great (due to…[continue]

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