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RFID Adds Intelligence to Cabinet Locking Solution

Accuride's Senseon Plus, designed for use by pharmacies, hospitals, veterinarians and retailers, allows companies to automate the locking and unlocking of cabinets, as well as control who accesses them and when.
By Claire Swedberg

According to several studies (see Notes from the Field: Prevalence of Risk Factors for Suicide Among Veterinarians—United States, 2014 and Study: 1 in 6 veterinarians have considered suicide), suicide rates are higher for veterinarians than for dentists and doctors, and four to six times higher than among the general population. Ready access to lethal drugs is considered to be a factor.

Jewelers and other retailers face very different concerns. Jewelry or other high-value items may end up missing, without a record of who accessed them and when this occurred, and it can be difficult to identify how that loss happened and then resolve the problem. Similarly, banks and other financial services companies must manage access to lock boxes that could contain high-value property or cash.

Senseon Plus offers an audit trail intended to help customers identify and analyze data regarding who has accessed high-value or sensitive items, and when they have done so. Each cabinet or bank of cabinets comes with a built-in 13.56 MHz HF RFID reader, compliant with the ISO 15693 standard, that was designed and built by Accuride. That reader can control access to up to 10 different openings, all built together at a customer's site.

The system is available as a standalone model, with no need for a wired or wireless connection to a server. Users can simply plug the cabinet into a power source, then program any cards that have access to that cabinet by tapping each card against the reader and using the touch screen to link its ID number to a particular employee, as well as provide specific access or restrictions.

Once the system is in operation, users can simply tap their card against the reader as they access the cabinet. The system's built-in reader stores all tag IDs that are used to access the cabinet, along with data related to whether they were authorized and whether the cabinet was then opened. At the end of the day or week, management can use a handheld programmer (which connects directly to the cabinet and also stores cabinet access information) to upload the read data, and then plug it into a PC or laptop to access, store or share that information. In that way, they can not only view who accessed the cabinet and when, but also carry out analytics.

For instance, the system would enable a jewelry store to understand how often a specific cabinet was opened or not opened, as well as make decisions about where an item should be displayed, or whether something else should be displayed at a given location. "That can be used as a sales tool," Hicks says. For health-care or veterinary users, the system would identify who was accessing opioid or lethal medications, and how often, as well as who attempted to access them, even if they were denied access. "So if someone were trying to open without the proper credentials, that information can be stored."

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