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In German Courts, RFID Dictates Where Audio Files Are Stored

A number of judicial workstations in North Rhine-Westphalia are using passive HF RFID tags not only to track and locate paper documents and folders, but also to manage dictation files.
By Rhea Wessel
Apr 30, 2008As many as 15,000 judicial workstations in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia may soon be fitted with an RFID-based system for managing and locating paper documents and folders, with the option of employing the technology for organizing audio dictation files as well.

Thax Software, which has already supplied its RFID-based Findentity system to a number of law firms, government offices and financial institutions (see Austrian Bank Finds RFID Yields Big Returns When Tracking Loan Files), was awarded a public tender to supply the technology to the North Rhine-Westphalia courts. Thax's Findentity system has been commercially available since 1999.


Thax is developing an option that uses RFID to manage dication files created on a BlackBerry device.
In February 2004, the company began offering an optional RFID dictation module in a pilot conducted at the district court of Detmold, in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Detmold court was one of the first in Germany to cease the use of analog dictation tape cassettes, which must be stored physically and located manually, and to switch to digital audio files, which are saved in electronic folders on a computer.

Since the 2004 testing, Detmold has steadily increased the number of workstations at which workers can use RFID to organize digital dictation files and save them in the proper places on their computers. Fifty Detmold stations currently have the RFID dictation system.

The RFID dictation module works in conjunction with Thax's basic Findentity system, which features adhesive RFID labels attached to paper documents related to legal cases, or to the folders used to store such documents. As workers transfer case materials from room to room, they scan the tags by placing a stack of folders on a desktop RFID interrogator that resembles a mouse pad. The reader identifies all of the folders and documents by reading their tag numbers, and the system is updated regarding their locations, so that employees can determine the building and office in which a particular folder and its documents are located.

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