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U.S. Customs' Bonded Warehouse Deploys Virtual Perimeter

The facility, located at JFK Airport, is using active RFID tags and readers from Axcess International to track individuals as they move between public storage and a secured area.
By Claire Swedberg
May 13, 2010In one of its bonded warehouses at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is employing active RFID tags to track the movements of individuals between a public storage area and a secured area. The system enables the agency to know when and where people cross a yellow line painted on the floor to delineate those two sections, as well as whether those individuals are authorized to do so. The system was provided by Axcess International. Due to interest from other organizations for a similar system, Axcess' president and CEO, Allan Griebenow, says his company is making the perimeter-crossing solution commercially available as part of its existing automated access-control and ID system, known as Dot Wireless Credential.

Bonded warehouses (also known as customs warehouses) store cargo pending the export or release of imported items that may require payment of duties or taxes. Part of the CBP's large warehouse at JFK Airport is open to the public, while access to the section for storing bonded items is restricted to certain airport personnel. The two locations are separated not by a physical barrier, however, but by a long yellow line, painted across the floor, that unauthorized personnel are not permitted to cross.

Axcess International installed RFID activators (which transmit an RF signal to awaken dormant active tags) and readers along the entire perimeter, and supplied its warehouse staff with ID badges containing Dot Wireless Credential RFID tags. This enabled CBP to track the identities of all individuals wearing the tags as they cross the perimeter, and to receive an alert if an unauthorized individual, wearing a tag with a unique ID number not listed in the authorized category, crosses the perimeter.

To detect when those not wearing a Dot Wireless badge cross the perimeter, Axcess has deployed additional hardware to sense a person's movement over that line. Griebenow declines to describe the details of the deployment, such as the type of sensors used. However, he says, the Dot Wireless Credential system with perimeter-tracking functionality can work with a variety of motion-detecting hardware, including infrared, video and pressure plates.

Typically, a detection system uses a light or infrared beam aimed in such a way as to detect any physical breach of a perimeter. Data indicating the breach is then transmitted to Axcess software via a cabled connection.

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