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European Hotels Deploying RFID-enabled App for Linen Management

The Acuity Connect app, used with handheld RFID readers, enables hotels or other linen-using companies to leverage the tags on their towels, bedding or uniforms to track inventory at their facilities.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 18, 2017

A year ago, at the request of potential customers, Invengo Textile Services developed a mobile app-based, RFID-enabled linen-tracking system for hotels or hospitals as a low-cost extension of its Acuity real-time visibility solution. Now, the company reports, having proven its success in those early installations and having built business analytics for the cloud-based service, Invengo is offering the solution to customers worldwide.

Acuity Connect enables companies such as hotels—whose laundry services providers already employ Acuity to manage their linens—to use the technology for their own purposes. These include tracking towels, bedding or uniforms as they arrive at the facility, and when they leave.

The Acuity Connect system enables hotels and other businesses to use RFID technology to track their linens.
Since 2012, linen service providers across Europe have been using the Acuity system to better manage their inventory. Approximately 10 million tags are currently being tracked on linens daily across the continent with this system, says Fabrice Morini, Invengo Textile Services' sales VP.

The linen service providers typically own the towels, bedding and other linens, as well as some uniforms, that its customers in the hospitality and health-care sectors use. These customers sign contracts to pay for the use of the linens for a specified period of time, and the laundry and linen service company picks up the items when they are soiled, washes them at its own laundering site and returns them to the customers, who pay monthly fees for the service.

However, the company notes, tracking these products is a difficult task. Typically, about 30 percent of inventory is lost each year, though how it was lost, or who was responsible, can be difficult to identify. Large or busy laundry services cannot count every item as it arrives in a cage, soiled or wet, from a customer—and while some companies have used bar codes to track inventory, individually scanning each item can also be time-consuming.

With the Acuity system using EPC UHF RFID tags, Morini explains, a cage with up to 500 items can be read as it passes through a portal at a dock door for soiled linens and through an RFID-enabled cabin for clean linen checkout and shipment to customers. The technology helps the linen service companies to identify when products are lost so they can address the problem, and also saves manual labor time employees would otherwise spend counting linen items.

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