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TimeForge Intros Beacon-based Solution for Managing Staff, Assets

The company's PlaceForge system can locate personnel in real time via Bluetooth readers that receive signals from beacons incorporated into key fobs.
By Beth Bacheldor

Each fob transmits its unique ID number, and the PlaceForge software calculates its location based on the strength of the signal received by the various hubs within a range of approximately 100 feet. The tracking data is compiled, sorted, analyzed and synthesized into reports that managers can then use to determine the exact locations of staff members and assets, as well as where they have previously been. The collected location data can be correlated with point-of-sale (POS) data. All of TimeForge's software, including PlaceForge, come with a complete Web application programming interface (API), along with pre-built integrations for a number of software suites, including Retalix's ISS45, IBM's ACE, NCR's Aloha, Micros, Dinerware, Restaurant Manager, POSitouch and several others. The data and reports are hosted on TimeForge servers that companies can access via a PlaceForge Web-based application.

The PlaceForge software can generate a report showing where a particular employee has been. (Click here to view a larger version.)
For example, Presley explains, PlaceForge can create a visual map illustrating where employees are at any given time, which can be correlated with POS data indicating which products customers are buying. That information can provide greater insights into scheduling, planning staffing levels and deciding on floor assignments.

TimeForge's Anthony Presley
Sometime in the future, Presley says, his company plans to launch beacon-based asset tags that can be affixed to shopping carts or to any asset that a company wants to track. According to TimeForge, tagged shopping carts or baskets would enable managers to know which areas of their store customers are visiting the most and least frequently, as well as where and when customer service staff is most needed. Retailers can thus decide how to optimize their entire retail space for maximum customer service. What's more, by tagging critical assets—such as shopping carts or forklifts—managers can instantly and continuously view not only where equipment is located but also how often it is actually used, as well as where and when it is most needed.

The PlaceForge employee-management solution, which includes the hubs and fobs, is currently available to select partner customers in the Texas area. In mid-September, the system is expected to be made available nationwide through TimeForge and its distributors. TimeForge also plans to showcase its solution at a store as a demonstration next month in Texas, though as of press time, Presley declined to identify the store.

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