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EZOfficeInventory Adopts RFID

The tracking software company's customers are testing its new RFID-enabled solution to capture asset or equipment location data via TSL readers that forward that information to iOS or Android devices, bypassing the problem of older operating system software on many RFID readers.
By Claire Swedberg

A compromise came in the form of Technology Solutions (UK) Ltd. (TSL), which supplied a handheld UHF RFID reader that links read data to iOS and Android devices via a Bluetooth connection. In that way, users can capture data with the reader, which then forwards that information to the devices running an EZOfficeInventory app. However, Syed says, even with this reader, there are shortcomings since the TSL readers require proprietary integration. Bar-code scanners, on the other hand, act as a keyboard, using Bluetooth HID or USB HID, which makes integration simpler and more scaleable, according to EZOfficeInventory.

Zebra technology offers a Bluetooth-enabled sled reader known as the RFD8500 that operates with any Android or iOS mobile device that supports Bluetooth 4.0 or higher. The company says it is exploring additional integrated and sled options for customers.

EZOfficeInventory's customers range from large businesses to startups that seek to achieve efficiency across their business units, Syed says. Asset management, he adds, "is a mundane, boring area for enterprises, while it has an extreme value-add" when it is accomplished effectively. For users of EZOfficeInventory's system, RFID will mean that they can quickly check out equipment to specific individuals, or check those items back into a storage unit, or input information about how an item was used, or when it was maintained. The collected data could then be made available to those in the field via an app, or to a manager located miles away in another office.

There are numerous applications for the RFID-based solution, Syed reports. For instance, a nursing school plans to use RFID with the software to capture information regarding tagged items in a simulated surgical suite. By taking a handheld reader through an operating room prior to a training procedure with nurses, the school could identify what equipment is in the room, ranging from surgical supplies to the manikin that acts as a simulated patient. It can also determine what may be missing. This ensures that ORs are ready for each procedure and that training will not be delayed.

For aerospace companies, tags can be applied to equipment that will be used for the building of aircraft parts. Handheld readers can then capture the unique ID number of each item, such as a tool that leaves a storage area, and again when it returns, so that no asset is unaccounted for.

Companies with a fleet of custodians could use RFID to track when cleaning equipment or other items leave a storage area, as well as when they return, and with which employee. Organizations that send high-value equipment to provide services in remote areas—such as for disaster-response efforts—could utilize RFID readers at their office before equipment goes out into the field, or the readers could be utilized at a worksite to track what is being used, and to ensure that it has been accounted for again before crews leave that location.

EZOfficeInventory is vendor-agnostic when it comes to RFID tags, Syed says. Tags can be pre-encoded with a unique ID or can be custom-written for a particular use case. "Both types are supported," Syed states.

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