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Vital Entertainment Cuts Equipment Loss, Boosts Efficiency at Film Production Sites

The solution, from Dominate RFID, consists of an RFID reader that plugs into a smartphone or tablet running an app for managing lenses, cameras and other equipment fitted with passive UHF tags.
By Claire Swedberg

When items are moved onto a worksite, Vital Entertainment's employees first use the reader, plugged into the headphone jack of a smartphone or tablet, to read the tag of every item being delivered to the project. Each tag's unique ID number is stored in the app, along with a description and photograph of that item, as well as its serial number. Once all of the items' tags have been interrogated, the app stores that data, indicating what was delivered to that site.

At the end of the production project, workers retrieve the equipment and use the RFID reader to again read all of their tags. Once this is done, the app displays a list of all items with the tag ID numbers that were not read. If a user selects one of these items in the app, a picture and description are displayed, thereby informing that user what he or she is looking for. The interrogator can then be placed in Geiger counter mode to locate that specific piece of equipment.

Blagmon said her company has now acquired eight of the plug-in readers and approximately 300 tags, and that it only takes 30 minutes to train staff members in the system's usage. All data can be uploaded to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, Roozi says.

Throughout the past few months, Blagmon reported, Dominate RFID has added additional functionality to help the company manage its assets. In the future, in order to better target theft, the firm intends to purchase a fixed reader with Impinj antennas, to be installed at work-site exits. Once the solution is in place, if the reader captures an item's tag ID, the presumption will be that it is being stolen. The system will forward that tag ID to a tablet or phone running the app, which can then issue an alert to authorized parties via e-mail or text message, as well as emitting an audible beep.

Since the system was taken live less than a year ago, Blagmon said, the incidence of equipment loss has dropped. What's more, she reported, work at sites has become more efficient, though she did not provide specific percentages by which labor time was reduced.

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