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Qatar University to Expand Its RFID System to Track Staff, Mail

The institute is already using a solution from Verasset to manage about 30,000 assets throughout its campus.
By Claire Swedberg

Qatar University is using Lockwood Technology Corp.'s AssetTracker software as the backbone to the RFID-based asset management system, while the school supplied its own Oracle-based software to manage inventory read data, with Microsoft BizTalk to link RFID read data to the inventory software.

The xPortal contains an RFID reader and antennas integrated in a compact unit measuring 30.5 inches by 8.75 inches by 2 inches.
Verasset sent 10 of its employees to apply the tags onsite—a process that lasted four weeks—and record each tagged asset into the university's software. With that task completed, each time an asset passed through one of the portals, the software is updated to indicate where that item was last recorded as being.

Because the university is growing quickly (its student population increased by 20 percent during the past year), it is now considering other ways in which the system can be used to boost efficiency and better manage its operations, explains Bruno Riegl, Verasset's senior project manager.

Verasset has now provided the school with evaluation tags for badges that personnel can wear while moving around the campus. Each badge has a built-in UHF RFID inlay (for the purpose of location tracking) and high-frequency (HF) RFID inlays (for use in access control), and incorporates an HID Global DESFire EV1 card containing a UHF inlay made with an Impinj Monza 4QT RFID chip, with a unique ID number encoded on it that could correspond to that specific employee.

As the staff member passes through a UHF RFID portal, the software residing on the college's database links that ID to the individual and stores a record of that movement. In that way, the university can collect data that could be accessed in the event of an emergency—such as identifying which people are within a given building if a fire or other catastrophe occurs. In addition, the readers could be linked to audible or visual alerts that could be triggered at the portal for an individual entering a restricted area. One concern for the university is ensuring that staff members do not inadvertently enter a restricted area containing those of the opposite sex, as buildings and classes are segregated. For example, the library has separate wings for females and males, in which students and faculty members conduct research. If a male individual attempts to walk into an area designated for females, he could view an alert on a monitor at the portal correcting his mistake.

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