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Cellular Service Provider Manages Its Reps Via NFC

Lycamobile is using Crystal Ball's RFID-based solution to monitor its salespeople around the world as they make calls to resellers of international calling cards.
By Claire Swedberg
Tags: Retail

When an employee begins her workday, she signs on with her phone, using the Crystal Ball app, and begins traveling to one of her assigned clients. The GPS data provided by the phone enables the software to track her location and even how fast she is traveling. When she arrives at a client's site, she then uses the phone's NFC function by tapping a passive 13.56 MHz RFID tag that she had previously installed in a discrete location at that site, for example on a wall or in a doorway.

Each tag, made for Crystal Ball by a third-party manufacturer, has a built-in NXP Semiconductors RFID chip encoded with a unique ID. The phone captures the tag's ID, sends it via GPRS to the Crystal Ball server where it can then be stored with the time and the ID of the user. When he leaves the site he taps the tag again, and the software determines the individual has now left the site. The software records not only when, and how frequently, the representative visits each customer, but for how long. In that way, management knows if a client has not been visited and is due for a sales representative to pay a call. Management also knows whether the individual is doing the work expected, and when a delay may have occurred.

A Lycamobile salesperson uses a Samsung Mini 2 smartphone to log in via an NFC RFID tag installed at a client's site.
Crystal Ball has been offering the NFC version of Mobile Track since early July. It also offers a Lone Worker app to help U.K. companies to comply with the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, which require an organization to provide proof, following an event, that it followed proper procedures designed to ensure that a work vehicle had been safe and had been operated safely. Crystal Ball's founders launched their company at the same time that this new legislation was passed to provide vehicle-tracking as well as asset-management solutions for companies that send their workers to remote locations as part of their jobs.

The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) reports that more than 6 million people in the United Kingdom work either in isolation or without direct supervision, often in places or circumstances that put them at potential risk.

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