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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

In addition, the school is testing passive UHF RFID tags on plastic mail-sorting trays in which mail is transported from a mailroom to recipients. The unique ID number encoded on the tray's tag could be linked to building 2A, for instance, and the mailroom staff would fill that box with letters destined only for that building. As a mail deliverer arrived at the building, the existing RFID reader portal would capture the tray tag's ID number and confirm that the box was dedicated to that building, and then either update the electronic record to indicate the mail was received at that time, or issue an alert (either audible or visual) to the mail staff at the portal, indicating that the box was being delivered to the wrong building.

Tagging is currently underway as the university continues to construct new buildings, Riegl reports. Items such as chemicals or equipment for the new research-and-development and biohazard laboratories are still being fitted with passive UHF tags. If employees carry badges, the school will be able to link specific individuals with the assets being removed.

Bruno Riegl, Verasset's project manager
In the future, Riegl says, the university may opt to use the asset-tracking solution to monitor maintenance as well, by allowing the maintenance staff to locate an asset using a handheld reader, and then enter data indicating which services are being provided related to that item. If a worker removes the asset from the building, that event would also be stored, based on a read from one of the portals.

According to Riegl, Verasset faced a variety of challenges related to this installation, including navigating the documentation requirements for customs and other agencies to bring equipment into Qatar. Having successfully acquired all of the necessary paperwork, inspections and certifications from multiple agencies, he says, Verasset has become an expert in dealing with the process of implementing a technology solution in a country such as Qatar.

Additional challenges were created by the widespread nature of the installation in buildings that are, in some cases, located in remote areas of the campus, as well as by the harsh weather, Riegl says. The university thus worked with Verasset to improve its own Wi-Fi network, to ensure that data culled from wireless readers could be received by software on its database.

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