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RFID System Measures Employee Productivity One Task at a Time
A passive, 125 kHz RFID system being offered by newcomer Zeitgroup enables companies to track and monitor when employees arrive and leave, as well as measure their job performance.
Mar 11, 2009—Startup company Zeitgroup is launching a passive RFID-enabled system designed to help businesses monitor their workforce by measuring and tracking employee attendance, productivity, workflow and more. The system, for instance, can monitor the amount of time it takes automotive mechanics to service vehicles. It can also track where and when security personnel inspect the buildings or grounds they are hired to guard.
The system employs passive 125 kHz RFID tags compatible with EM Microelectronic' EM4102 tags. Available in a variety of form factors, the tags can be affixed to areas or assets as required, depending on the specific application. The system also includes an RFIDat battery-powered mobile RFID interrogator, which measures 59 by 44 by 14 millimeters (2.3 by 1.7 by 0.6 inches)—about the size of a credit card—and weighs 38 grams (1.3 ounces).
Companies can use the system for a variety of applications. To measure how long it takes auto mechanics to service vehicles, for example, a firm could affix the tags to vehicles as they enter the auto shop, explains Carlos Guzman, a partner with Zeitgroup. When a mechanic begins working on the tagged vehicle, he positions his RFIDat reader to within about 3 centimeters (1.2 inches) of the vehicle's tag, then pushes the button on the interrogator. This directs the device to scan the tag and cull its unique ID number. The RFIDat also time-stamps the read, and stores the transaction in its memory. Upon finishing his work, Guzman says, the mechanic repeats the process by placing the reader near the vehicle's tag and pushing the button once more.
Similarly, to document a security guard's rounds, a company could affix tags to walls or doorways in various sections of a building. Upon reaching a doorway or wall tag, the guard can place the RFIDat near the tag and press the button. The interrogator records each tag's unique ID number, creating a trail that documents where and when the guard has patrolled.
Also included in Zeitgroup's system is a docking station, known as RFIDock, for recharging an RFIDat reader's battery and downloading the collected tag data and time-stamps, as well as the unique ID number of the device's embedded RFID tag, which identifies the employee using that reader. The stations—which come with either one, two or four slots in which interrogators are placed—can store up to 16,000 tag reads, and can be connected to a PC via an RS-232/Ethernet cable, in order to transfer information downloaded from the readers.
In addition, Zeitgroup offers custom software called ZeitCom, which includes a MySQL 5 database and is compatible with the Microsoft Windows 98, 2000, XP and Vista operating systems, as well as the MAC Leopard 10.5. A company can install the software on a computer and utilize it to manage the RFIDat's communications and configurations, such as inputting and correlating employees' names with the ID number of each RFIDat's embedded RFID tag. The software also serves as a program for compiling and reviewing the data.
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