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IEEE CRFID/RAIN Alliance Number Resolution Challenge


The IEEE Council on RFID and the RAIN Alliance have partnered to offer a new HeroX Challenge on Digital Twin Number Resolution. Prizes totaling $10,000 will be awarded to engineering solutions that are capable of resolving multiple, varied RAIN RFID tags with their digital twins on the web. Keep checking back to this page for updates on the challenge.


In addition to the HeroX Challenge Submissions, IEEE CRFID invites technical papers and posters addressing this number resolution problem as part of invited sessions at the annual IEEE RFID 2022 (17-19 May 2022, Las Vegas, NV) and IEEE RFID-TA 2022 (September 2022, Cagliari Italy). Submission guidelines for peer-reviewed papers and posters can be found in the 2022 call for papers.


Imagine a world where people can quickly identify, locate, and authenticate the things that matter to them:

  • A recalled spinach package: my grocery store can identify the exact spinach that was in the contaminated batch, without having to throw out all the spinach in inventory.
  • An authentic purse: I am certain that the high-end purse I received as a gift is truly manufactured by the brand, and I can even learn a little more about its provenance.
  • A smart suitcase: My RAIN RFID-enabled suitcase allows me to skip baggage lines and security by registering it with my airline and TSA. I track my bag from the moment it leaves my hand until I am alerted that it’s on the carousel at my destination. If my bag is ever lost, couriers automatically know where to return it– and my smart home would recognize my bag on its arrival.

This IoT is a new open foundation for innovators to dream and create upon. Standards bodies and industry groups will evolve, adopt, and build the foundations. Companies and individual people will build applications that leverage the agreed standards and systems.

We seek a true IoT with the following principles:

  • Every item has a digital twin. As an item changes ownership, each owner may create their own digital twin–meaning that there may be multiple digital twins created for and associated with a single item over the item’s lifecycle.
  • A twin is an item’s digital representation. Different item owners may have different representations of the same thing. A twin owner may want to record and share different bits of information about it with different parties. There is no need to transfer ownership or control of a digital twin record because each identity will have its own Twin which they create.
  • A twin’s creator is its owner and has complete, granular control over its visibility. The item owner also owns the item’s digital twin–both the information it contains, and with whom that information is shared. Twin owners may be individuals or organizations. Individual fields as well as entire twins may be important to their creators, but contain information they do not wish to share universally. Additionally, twin owners may wish to change what is public or private over time. Given this, changes in item possession, custody, and ownership require different digital twins for the same item. The references and links between these digital twins allow for evolution of the twin.
  • Any type of digital identifier can be used to look up a twin. An IEEE assigned MAC address, a GS1 EPC on a RAIN RFID tag, a manufacturer’s serial number, or even a hand-written code labelled on a thing by an individual could all be used to find that thing’s digital twin.