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Student:   Mifrah Faraz, Master of Engineering Science UQ

Student to find best electronic ‘tags’ for managing Council’s traffic assets

With the results of Brisbane City Council’s latest CEED project, Council will be able to electronically track the location, movement and usage of Council’s various traffic ‘assets’ (eg. traffic lanterns, and traffic controller parts) across the city.

This project is expected to save Brisbane City Council (BCC) staff a significant amount of time and create an efficient way to keep track of such assets.  The review of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology will take into account the RFID’s intended ‘environment’ – inside BCC vans, and inside traffic control boxes/cabinets.

When she first heard about CEED, student Mifrah Faraz was about to start her Master of Engineering Science degree at the University of Queensland (UQ).

CEED student - Mifrah Faraz 
 Mifrah Faraz (CEED student) is completing an RFID
 investigation project for Brisbane City Council

Mifrah had just arrived in Brisbane to commence her Masters degree after completing her undergraduate degree in Telecommunications, back in Pakistan. Mifrah had a strong interest in wireless communication prior to being selected for the project. With that in mind, when Mifrah saw this project advertised via CEED she applied straight away.  When she was interviewed and later offered the RFID project at BCC, she was eager to jump on board.

The ‘whole year’ project (due to finish at the end of the academic year, in November) involves investigating all the current RFID tags on the market and finding the one which will be of most benefit to BCC’s requirements. For the project to be successful, Mifrah has to firstly understand the environment and relevant traffic assets within Council where the RFID technology will be used. The purpose of this project will be to discover if (and how) BCC can track their assets utilising RFID technology.

Mifrah says the main tasks for the project will be undertaking experiments to determine ‘signal to noise’ ratio, and to acquire some RFID tags in order to test them in the intended environments. Since commencing the project in February, Mifrah has already performed experiments to determine ‘signal to noise’ levels inside BCC’s controller cabinets located at specific traffic intersections, and inside  vans). Mifrah aims to develop a sound knowledge about RFID technology by the end of the project, in order to recommend a suitable, cost-effective solution for BCC. She says the knowledge that she will gain during this project can be applied to other applications in telecommunications.

Mifrah has identified two risks for this project. Firstly, there may be no suitable technology for BCC’s specific environment. And secondly, as the RFID tags need to be sourced from suppliers, there may be a delay, which could set back testing and therefore, results. To manage such risks, Mifrah can allot time to different tasks and already has plans in place … just in case.

Originally from Pakistan, Mifrah has been in Australia for just over a year. One of her personal objectives for the project is to gain ‘local’ work experience in Australia as well as telecommunications-related industry experience. Mifrah says she’s “already gained an idea of the Australian work culture since commencing the project at BCC, and is enjoying the relaxed, focused, goal-orientated work environment in Brisbane”.

Mifrah is excited about being able to identify and recommend the optimal RFID technology to use at the Traffic Network Service department in BCC. She is also eager to discover the test results on the RFID tags - to ensure they are working correctly is a major milestone/goal of this project. Mifrah is also keen to undertake the research aspect of her project, which is important for UQ’s assessment of her final report/thesis.

BCC’s project supervisor, Greg Van Ryt recently commented on Mifrah’s progress so far and the anticipated benefits of the project to BCC, “This is an important project for BCC’s Traffic Network Services work unit as the electronic tags have the potential to assist us in tracking traffic signal parts and also in ensuring vans are adequately equipped with spares.  We need to carry out research into what the optimum available RFID tags are for our application in terms of price and performance and if they will work for us in our environment.  That’s where Mifrah comes in, doing the ground work and research on our behalf so we can make the best informed decision.  We look forward to working with Mifrah and seeing her results as they come in across the year.”

Written by Heylee Menzies (CEED Marketing Assistant – January to June 2013)

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