Purpose – The emergence of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology promises enormous opportunities to shift business process automation up to the wire level. The purpose of this paper is to explore the methodology of incorporating business logics into RFID edge systems, and thereby facilitate the business process automation in the RFID-applied environment. Design/methodology/approach – Following the object-oriented modelling perspective, concepts of classes, instances are deployed to characterise the runtime context of RFID business scenarios; event patterns are used to aggregate RFID tag read events into business meaningful events; and business rules are established to automate business transactions according to the elicited events. Findings – The paper has emphasised the synergy between business process automation and automatic data acquisition, and has identified the inter-relations between RFID tag read events, application-level events, business rules, and business operations. The reported research has demonstrated a feasible scheme of incorporating business process control and automation into RFID-enabled applications. Originality/value – The paper analyses the characteristics of RFID data and event handling in relation to business rule modelling and process automation. The features of event-relied awareness, context containment and overlapping, etc. are all captured and described by the proposed object-oriented business model. The given data-driven RFID middleware architecture can serve as one reference architecture for system design and development. Hence, the paper plays an important role in connecting automatic data acquisition and existing business processes, and thereby bridges the physical world and the digital world.