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At Infosys, a 'Live Lab' RFID App Eases Parking
At its main campus in India, the IT services company designed and deployed a vehicle access-control system using EPC Gen 2 passive tags.
Infosys engineers went to work testing a number of passive tag and reader combinations and configurations before finding one that works well. Ramachandra says Infosys wanted to use hardware compliant with the EPCglobal Gen 2 standard for UHF passive tags to ensure interoperability and easy replacement of tags or readers in the future. Infosys is using a ThingMagic Mercury5 interrogator to read the tags. The RFID-enabled windshield stickers have been provided by Printronix, and while they do not contain specialized, metal-friendly tags, he says, they can be read easily because of how Infosys engineered the antenna arrays over the entrance gates.
Not all Infosys employees who park in the garage are being issued windshield stickers. Those visiting from other office locations, for example, must still use their low-frequency identification badges to access the building . The device-management and decision-making engine, therefore, needs to be able to process the inputs of the HID readers, along with the UHF tags and magnetic sensors. It must also orchestrate multiple events—such as controlling the gate and message boards—taking place in real time.
This parking garage system is significant to Infosys not only as an end user benefiting from better traffic flow and garage utilization, Ramachandra explains. It has also provided the company a blueprint for an RFID-based system it can deploy for its clients, either as a parking management solution or for different applications, such as yard management.
Designing and deploying the RFID system onsite provided Infosys with what it calls a "live lab" environment, in which it can put systems to test in a real-world environment. "We initially did a small pilot with 100 cars, testing the readability of the [windshield] tags in different conditions, such as heavy rain, to see if the humidity would impact their performance," he says. Neither humidity nor the intense heat generated inside a car parked outside on a hot Bangalore day, Infosys learned, had any negative effects on the tags.
The company uses this live lab approach to help it prove the impact of the other systems, both RFID and non-RFID, aimed at business process improvements, that it pitches its clients. "When prospective customers can see us actually using what we are selling," says Ramachandra, "that helps."
Infosys is also testing other RFID applications at its Bangalore campus, including a system for using RFID to help merchandize products at a retail store at the site.
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