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Nox System Uses RFID to Catch a Thief
The Nox system integrates RFID readers with surveillance cameras to automatically create video records when monitored items are moved. The system was originally developed for the FBI and is now available commercially.
Mar 30, 2008—This article was originally published by RFID Update.
March 30, 2008—RFID is widely used to provide visibility of inventory and assets. It is also providing visibility for thieves, as part of an unattended surveillance system.
The Nox system developed by SimplyRFID of Warrenton, Virginia, integrates RFID with surveillance cameras to create a video record of objects being stolen. Organizations apply RFID tags to assets and files they want to protect. RFID readers automatically detect when the objects are being moved and trigger the video camera to record the activity. The system can automatically send alerts by cell phone or pager if a tagged object is moved.
"Theft is a real problem, even for small companies," SimplyRFID president Carl Brown told RFID Update. "People want to stop and catch theft. They're finding a lot of value in this system for doing that."
Nox systems are often installed in situations where employee theft is suspected. Nox tags can be unobtrusively installed on objects as small as a pen and are often undetectable to the naked eye. Gen2 passive RFID is usually used, but other types of RFID, including long-range technologies, are also available.
Objects movements are recorded, time stamped, and archived, to provide a solid video record of activity. Organizations also use Nox to locate misplaced items by consulting video records to determine the object's last known location.
SimplyRFID originally developed the Nox system for use by the FBI and has since started marketing it commercially. It is targeted to four broad applications:
A Nox system at one company helped catch an employee who was stealing by using the shipping department to send goods to outside addresses, where he would retrieve them later. One such shipment was returned because it had an incorrect shipping address. The company opened the returned package, discovered its stolen goods, then used its Nox records to discover who sent the package.
Companies typically install Nox to monitor their shipping departments and dock doors, according to Brown, who noted the system can also be used to collect data and record shipments. "Organizations can use it to do more than catch crooks," he said. "But, in general they're using it to catch crooks."
Pfefferkorn Spedition, a German freight forwarding company, uses a similar system, albeit with active RFID technology, to record goods leaving its warehouse (see RFID Triggers Video Surveillance for Freight Tracking). The Nox system is also similar in functionality to some of the applications being tested at the University of Washington to measure RFID's usefulness for locating lost items (see University Launches RFID People Tracking Experiment).
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