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Social Security Administration Awards $3.3M RFID Contract

The system, provided by RFID Global Solution and CodeSource, will track more than a million IT and office assets at three data centers and 1,500 offices across the United States.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 27, 2013

One year after completing an initial installation of passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID technology to track IT assets at its data center in Woodlawn, Md., the Social Security Administration (SSA) has signed a $3.3 million contract to supply RFID tags and readers to all three of its national data centers, as well as to 1,500 field offices across the United States. The technology will track the locations of data-center assets and office equipment on a central server, integrated with multiple asset-management and maintenance software systems.

The five-year contract was awarded to CodeSource, with RFID Global Solution serving as partner for the deployment, and calls for fixed reader portals, handheld readers and carts to interrogate passive UHF RFID tags on data equipment, IT assets and office furniture. The contract also includes active RFID sensor tags, to track whether cabinet doors are left open, and to monitor temperatures and other environmental conditions.

Thomas Manzagol, RFID Global Solution's founder and COO
At the center of the solution is RFID Global Solution's Visi-Trac software, with integration and installation services provided by RFID Global Solution and CodeSource. Motorola fixed and handheld readers will interrogate Confidex tags attached to assets. RF Code will provide the active RFID sensor tags used at the data centers, according to Thomas Manzagol, RFID Global Solution's founder and COO.

In September 2012, CodeSource and RFID Global Solution won an initial contract for an RFID system to track servers at the 100,000-square-foot Woodlawn data center. To fulfill that contract, RFID Global Solution attached passive UHF hard-cased Confidex Steelwave Micro tags to 15,000 servers, and also supplied its Visi-Trac software to manage the collected read data from fixed reader portals at the data center's exit, as well as handhelds used to capture inventory data from servers and other IT equipment stored in racks (see Social Security Administration Tracks Data-Center Assets). By last spring, the SSA reported a 90 percent reduction in inventory tracking labor.

This summer, RFID Global Solution installed the same technology to track 15,000 servers at the SSA's 100,000-square-foot data center in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. With the new contract, the firm will deploy the solution at a third SSA data center—a new 400,000-square-foot facility, located in Urbana, Md.—where approximately 36,000 servers will be tagged. What's more, several expansions to the system will be provided at the Woodlawn and Raleigh-Dunham sites.

For instance, while personnel at the Woodlawn and Raleigh-Dunham data centers have employed Motorola MC9190-Z handheld readers to read tagged IT assets, the process still requires that workers sweep those devices past each rack, and so the SSA was interested in finding a faster solution. RFID Global Solution is now providing a wheeled audit cart that comes with a more powerful Motorola reader: the FX7400. Staff members can roll the cart through each aisle and quickly read all tags on every rack. The audit carts will be added to the existing data-center systems, Manzagol says, and be part of the new installation in Urbana.

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