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Iron Mountain to Introduce RFID-Ready Boxes for Records Storage

Starting in 2015, the document storage service company plans to RFID-tag all cardboard cartons that it provides to customers, to leverage an RFID solution provided by InSync.
By Claire Swedberg

Iron Mountain carried out initial testing of RFID technology approximately five years ago, prior to working with InSync. During the past few years since those early tests were conducted, the company has deployed millions of passive EPC Gen 2 ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID labels (made with a variety of Alien Technology and Avery Dennison inlays selected for different types of storable assets). The labels are printed with bar-coded ID numbers, and are then attached to individual records, as well as to the cartons containing those documents for customers who wish to use the technology.

Iron Mountain expects to take RFID deployments live at additional storage centers as the company talks to customers and determines whether RFID is the right fit for their needs. To date, a center in London and multiple facilities throughout the United States are equipped with InSync RFID solutions consisting of RFID-enabled carts, as well as handhelds made by Motorola Solutions' RFID division (now owned by Zebra Technologies). The RFID-enabled carts, designed and built by InSync, are made with fixed Impinj Speedway RFID readers and Laird antennas and onboard computers running InSync's iApp software. The carts can capture tags' ID numbers within several feet of the cart as it moves around the facility. This, the firm reports, provides Iron Mountain and its customer with 100 percent read-rate performance.

Once a tagged item is stored onsite, the unique ID numbers encoded to its tag and its carton's tag are stored in Iron Mountain's software, linked to details regarding the records and who owns them. The asset is then placed into storage. Inventory checks can be performed at periodic intervals, or as requested by customers. Because the facilities typically span several hundred thousand square feet, employees use the RFID-enabled cart, which they wheel down an aisle and read tags as they pass, collecting data about all items stored at that location. That information can then be provided to the customer.

Iron Mountain's staff can also employ handhelds to locate a specific carton or record at a specific location, as needed.

The Inventory Governance Solution combines three services Iron Mountain previously offered separately: data validation (to ensure that key information about a box's contents is classified according to customer policy before it is sent offsite to storage), data integrity (which refers to ensuring that new data matches legacy information already in storage) and auditing (which allows customers to choose how to audit their records, either by random statistical bar-code scanning or via RFID).

Because the company expects radio frequency identification technology to become more widely used in the future, it has opted to RFID-tag all storage cartons that it provides to its customers, beginning in 2015, whether a particular customer immediately requires it or not. In that way, if a customer opts to transition to RFID technology usage in the future, Iron Mountain will be able to respond quickly, since that customer will already be set up for immediate or future auditing needs.

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