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Events Production Company Uses RFID to Keep Organized

Based in Germany, Joke Event employs EPC Gen 2 tags to track chairs, sound equipment, lights and thousands of other items it rents to customers for parties, corporate gatherings, shows and trade fairs.
By Rhea Wessel
According to Seidenstuecker, some of his 58 permanent staff members and 85 freelancers were hesitant about using the new technology until they realized it was being utilized to improve how the company works, rather than to eliminate jobs. Now, he said, they frequently suggest how to improve the use of the system.

One major problem the company faced when implementing the RFID system involved how to tag such a wide variety of items composed of different materials. The project partners solved this dilemma by using five different types of RFID tags, each of which were tested for their compatibility with the items tagged, such as metal boxes, wooden chairs or plastic articles. LogDynamics Lab, located in Bremen, together with the RFID Service Center Bremen, helped with the tests.

At a job site, Joke's workers use a handheld computer with a built-in RFID interrogator to read an item's tag.

All of the handheld computers are manufactured by Psion Teklogix. Those used remotely include a UMTS card for connecting to the company's server. The tags attached to items are made by Confidex, Innotech Resources, KSW Microtec and Sandstone Technologies Group. Tag cost ranged from 40 cents to €5 ($6.45) apiece for special tags.

"We reuse some of the tags, so we could spend more for higher-quality tags," Seidenstuecker told attendees. Looking forward, Joke is considering the addition of active RFID tags with sensors for tracking sensitive equipment, such as LCD projectors and moveable lights. The company is also working to expand the application to all of its 100,000 items.

Seidenstuecker said his company invested a six-figure sum in the application and expects to recover that amount within two years, through cost savings and higher productivity.

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