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Global Company Tracks Its Corporate Art

An RFID solution provided by NCS Technologies is helping to manage art at multiple sites via TSL's handheld reader and an app running on a mobile phone.
By Claire Swedberg

By September 2013, NCS had provided the system to the company so that it could begin managing the artwork's movements during the consolidation, as well as conducting periodic inventory counts. The reader itself is designed so that the phone can be mounted on it. Before undertaking an inventory check, a user downloads the NCS app onto a mobile phone and pairs the reader with that phone. The user then inputs the specific floor or area of the building into the phone's app, and views a list of the artwork that should be located in that area. The app also displays pictures of each item, which can be expanded via the phone's touchscreen if necessary. Employees can then begin reading the tags at that location, and the app will display that list, while also indicating any items that are missing or are in the wrong location. It can also display the expected location for a particular work of art.

The phone forwards the data to software residing on the company's server, via a Wi-Fi connection, to be stored and managed there by authorized personnel. If the individual with the handheld reader is authorized to do so, he or she can make such changes as attaching a new tag to a piece of art (if the original tag is not operating) and associating it with that item. The employee can also take a picture of the item with the phone, if necessary (if the original picture is unclear, for instance, or if the company needs to document damage to the art).

NCS Technologies' smartphone app displays an image of each piece of art in a user's collection, and also indicates any items that are missing or are in the wrong location.
When the company's managers were testing the technology, Smith recalls, they immediately discovered a piece of art mounted on an employee's office wall that had, in fact, been intended to be located elsewhere.

The software residing on the customer's server enables the art-management group to view where artwork is located at all of its facilities worldwide. This provides the company with an accurate inventory count, and also allows it to make any necessary changes.

According to Eldridge, the solution could now be sold for art management to other clients. Additionally, NCS could provide the software for use either on a customer's server, or as a hosted solution with which customers could simply access data on an NCS server.

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