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County College District to Track 90,000 Assets With RFID

The system, provided by Radiant RFID, will enabled the Dallas County Community College District to manage location data about assets ranging from computers to farm animals, and to integrate that information with its own management software.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 10, 2017

The Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) has deployed an asset-management system employing radio frequency identification technology to locate its tens of thousands of assets across seven campuses and two satellite locations. The district is currently in the process of applying tags to its IT assets, musical instruments, medical equipment and farm animals, in order to monitor where they are located, based on bi-annual audits. In some cases, rooms containing tagged items—computer labs, for instance—are also equipped with fixed reader portals to identify whenever an asset passes through the door. The solution, known as Virtual Asset Tracker (VAT), is provided by Radiant RFID.

The DCCCD is a network of seven independently accredited Texas colleges in Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. The ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID-based solution is being deployed at each of these locations, as well as at a support site and district office building, according to Misherlae Pace, the DCCCD's District Service Center project coordinator.

Workers tag each item, then use an RFID reader to interrogate that tag's ID number.
The district has thousands of assets, Pace says, which are typically counted and audited about once a year. Those physical counts, carried out at its nine locations, take place from November to March of the following year, and then require auditing of the results. "Conducting these inventory counts at every campus is a very arduous process," she states. The district spends a large amount of money for the labor involved in those counts, and because they are performed manually, the information is still often outdated, or errors can be made.

DCCCD's Misherlae Pace
So in 2016, the district opted to deploy the VAT system from Radiant RFID, consisting of a TSL 1128 Sled handheld UHF RFID reader (with a Bluetooth connection to an Apple iPod Touch), as well as fixed Impinj and Zebra Technologies readers, a variety of RFID tags, hosted RFID VAT software, onsite training and customer support. DCCCD is also using Radiant RFID's VAT2Go app to enable access to RFID-based asset-location data from a mobile device, explains Megan Ward, Radiant RFID's sales and marketing director.

DCCCD has multiple software platforms in use, Pace explains, and needed VAT to seamlessly integrate and share data with these systems. Radiant RFID's Automated Import and Export Module is intended to make this process easy, she says.

The solution—which is slated to be taken fully live later this year—will work this way: As staff members tag items, such as routers, furniture, PCs, printers and musical instruments, a tag (with a bar code printed on the front) is affixed to each object's surface. The ID number for that tag can be interrogated via an RFID reader, scanned from the bar code or input into the system using an iPod Touch running the VAT2Go app, and location data—such as the room number—is entered with that ID. The ID is linked to the item's description and any serial number. The VAT software then stores that data, along with the location assigned to that item.

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