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RFID News Roundup

Trimble's RFID-enabled CrewSight automates personnel management on construction sites ••• FinnCode brings NFC-enabled added-value to Italian luxury shoes, bags ••• Ams, STMicroelectronics launch secure NFC mobile-payment solution ••• Estimote adds beacon-sharing to its Cloud platform ••• Mayo Clinic, Gentag partner to develop wireless sensors to treat obesity, diabetes.
By Beth Bacheldor
Mar 05, 2015

The following are news announcements made during the past week by the following organizations: Trimble, ThingMagic; FinnCode; ams, STMicroelectronics; Estimote; the Mayo Clinic, and Gentag.

Trimble's RFID-enabled CrewSight Automates Personnel Management on Construction Sites

Trimble's ThingMagic division has introduced CrewSight, an automated jobsite-management system designed to help general contractors rapidly and accurately manage field personnel on a construction site. CrewSight leverages data from ThingMagic RFID-enabled sensors to provide insight into jobsite operations, and to help construction contractors operate more effectively and intelligently and improve productivity, safety and security.

ThingMagic's VIS Box is a construction worker self-check-in device that combines an RFID reader and a communications system.
CrewSight builds on a custom design that Trimble created two years ago for DPR Construction to help the general contractor manage building safety and access at the construction site for the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center at Mission Bay (see DPR Construction Uses RFID Building-Security Solution). That solution leveraged ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID readers and ID cards, as well as Trimble's cloud-based server integrated with building information modeling (BIM) software, to help the general contractor ensure that all individuals could be safely evacuated during an emergency, prevent site access by unauthorized personnel, and control access to clean or completed spaces on the project.

According to Trimble, CrewSight is an end-to-end, cloud-based offering for general contractors that can be easily and cost-effectively deployed. As labor costs on construction sites continue to make up almost 40 percent of total project costs, the company reports, it is essential for general contractors and project managers to correlate productivity with actual hours of worker time. Knowing which workers are onsite, and when, allows project managers to validate project costs for labor, provide proof of compliance and maintain safety on the site. In addition, even general contractors that have implemented systems to control the entry and exit of workers on the jobsite face challenges, since entering the data from these systems is not typically automated.

The CrewSight system automates the management of workers entering or leaving a site, allowing the tighter tracking of progress, in order to pinpoint discrepancies and identify opportunities to optimize work processes. Serving as the central hub of a complete labor-management solution, CrewSight captures data from ThingMagic RFID readers automatically, without the need for human intervention. Contractors can maintain tighter access of their sites, ensuring that only workers who are verified can enter. They can also more easily monitor that the proper number of employees is onsite for each phase of the project, to keep schedules on time and budgets in line. Moreover, Trimble reports, the system provides a safety element, in case personnel need to be located in the event of an emergency. Site supervisors can receive alerts on their smartphones or tablets in real time, which can be critical if there is a dangerous situation on the jobsite.

The CrewSight Web-based application enables contractors to collect, view, analyze and store workers' data. The information is stored in a database that can be used to verify employees' authorization and record the number of hours worked, and the data can also be sorted and analyzed for a variety of uses by the contractor, such as meeting compliance regulations. CrewSight provides up-to-date data that is accessible from any Web-enabled device, according to Trimble, and will be integrated with existing scheduling software, such as Trimble's popular Prolog project-management and scheduling software, to enhance the implementation with real-time field data.

The end-to-end system also includes the contractor's choice of RFID devices that collect information for worker entry and exit on the jobsite. Depending on the types of devices chosen for each site, contractors have the options of using guard-assisted worker check-in, worker self-check-in using a device called a VIS Box, or hard access using a turnstile or vehicle gates. This access-control functionality prevents unauthorized workers from being on the site or in certain areas without the proper credentials. In addition, CrewSight allows contractors to monitor every zone of the site and supports monitoring multiple sites from the same user interface.

According to Mark Sawyer, the general manager of Trimble Buildings' general contractor and construction management (GC/CM) division, CrewSight can help construction managers control labor costs by providing accurate reporting on the actual number of hours that contractors and subs work, thereby ensuring that projects stay on track. The planned integration with scheduling software, such as Trimble Prolog, will provide a more complete picture of the site, the workers and the entire project, he adds.

Trimble CrewSight is available now in North America via the BuildingPoint network and other authorized distribution partners of Trimble GC/CM solutions.

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