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RFID Ensures Equipment Is on Hand for Poker Tournaments

Alpha Logistics Europe is leveraging a UHF RFID system from Real Asset Management to gain visibility into each piece of equipment that goes to poker tournament sites, and to ensure that they are then returned when the event ends.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 13, 2018

When poker tournaments take place across the United Kingdom and worldwide, a large amount of equipment comes with each event, whether it's a matter of a few tables or thousands of items. That equipment can include chips, tables, chairs and the machines used to shuffle cards.

Alpha Logistics Europe, a company that specializes in managing that equipment, has a complex task of ensuring that the proper equipment is on hand for each event and is then returned. The Kent-based company is now using RFID technology to accomplish this task, with a solution provided by Real Asset Management (RAM), owned by real estate software applications firm MRI Software. The system consists of UHF RFID tags affixed to items, as well as handheld RFID readers from Zebra Technologies and RAM's cloud-based software.

Poker tournaments are hosted by a variety of companies and can range from as few as two players at a single table to hundreds of tables with thousands of participants. At a typical event, Alpha Logistics delivers four articulated trucks loaded with furnishings and play equipment. Some of these items are disposable, such as chips, while some are high-value and reusable.

Keeping track of what is delivered and returned had typically been a manual endeavor involving pen and paper, but that method left room for error and failed to provide the real-time information the headquarters required. "We often have a number of live events taking place at the same time, so having complete traceability of the equipment is key," says Joe Page, Alpha Logistics' live events manager.

The solution is RAM's cloud-based software, which captures data regarding the movement of goods via RFID and then shares that information with Alpha Logistics' management. RAM is a U.K.-based solutions company that provides fixed asset, maintenance and facilities management software to public and private businesses. One of its solutions is asset-tracking software that works with either bar codes or RFID technology.

Alpha Logistics' partners organize poker tournaments across the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, as well as in the United States. These tournaments, either open or invitational, are held at a variety of venues and include both amateur and professional players who could win, in some cases, millions of dollars. The events are often televised, and a live audience watches the action onsite as well.

With the RAM solution, location data becomes accessible to both management and those in field, says Sachin Naran, Real Asset Management's account manager. The solution consists of adhesive UHF RFID tags applied to assets—or, in some cases, to pallets or cases filled with smaller items, such as chips. Each tag's unique ID number stores data about that item in RAM's cloud-based software.

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