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Tapestry Solutions Commercializes Enterprise-wide IoT System

The commercial solution for global manufacturers and other firms, dubbed Enterprise Sensor Integration, is based on a 50-site-wide middleware platform developed for Boeing to manage 80 different systems using RFID or other sensors to track assets, inventory and work in progress.
By Claire Swedberg

Some use cases only required portal-based location data (such as capturing tag IDs as objects passed through a dock door), while others demanded that the software capture each item's every movement. Sensor data can also be required in some parts of Boeing's operations. For example, if epoxy is being applied to a component during assembly, the company needs to monitor the temperatures at which components and epoxies have been exposed—and, in some cases, how long a particular tool has been used, when it was calibrated and who used it. The AIT-IMS solution captures and manages this data, then uses it for analytics purposes.

Boeing's AIT-IMS is currently managing two billion tag readers each week across all 50 sites. Boeing reported a savings of more than $100 million during its first year by reducing labor costs, increasing workflow efficiency, preventing asset theft, lowering rental equipment expenses and improving decision making based on the analytic data. Tapestry estimates a recurring savings for Boeing of $80 million annually. Boeing next intends to expand the system's analytics functionality, Spencer says, moving beyond "Where's my stuff?" to "What's the status of my stuff?"—which, he adds, will enable the company to identify inefficiencies and take corrective measures.

Employees use PCs to monitor maintenance schedules and supply chain data.
"We believe AIT-IMS is the only system of its kind that has been successfully rolled out at a scale of this magnitude," says Jim Caldwell, Tapestry Solutions' AIT-IMS program manager.

Tapestry Solutions is marketing the ESI technology as an integrated solution for health care, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, automotive, and other manufacturing and worldwide military programs. The system not only manages RFID data for location and status information, but also monitors IoT deployments, such as for thermostats, door locks, machine operation and lighting, based on sensor data. The technology is scalable, Spencer notes, so additional systems can be added to the ESI solution over time. "One of the things that's powerful is the development platform," he says, which enables users to build interfaces for a wide variety of applications, as well as for analytics purposes.

Tapestry Solutions is presently in discussions with several foreign military organizations, in addition to companies in the health-care, automotive, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries.

A staff member uses an RFID reader to manage inventory.

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