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RFID Equipment Manufacturer Uses RFID in Its Own HQ
ITEC puts its wireless tracking solution to the test at its offices and factory in Japan, tagging components, tools, paperwork and vehicles, as well as providing RFID-enabled badges for employees and visitors.
Interrogators located within the factory can read tags up to 20 feet away, while the parking lot reader can receive tag signals from a distance of up to 150 feet. With the system, Ohno says, ITEC is able to receive room-level tracking data, with location updates every 5 seconds. The company can analyze the read data with I'm Here software on the Web-based central server. That software, designed by ITEC engineers, offers employees desktop access to the system, to locate critical equipment, measuring devices, or a particular staff member or visitor, or to look up the availability of a specific company car.
"The engineering team designed the software program for usability," Ohno says. "The I'm Here monitor updates location information every 5 seconds, reloading only the changes, not the whole screen." In addition, the system enables authorized users, such as an account executive or supervisor, to receive an e-mail notification whenever a staff member or customer arrives at the site. The software also shows usage data for company vehicles or other tools. "This is useful for determining the number of hours it has been in use," Ohno states, thereby allowing the company to plan maintenance schedules or further purchases accordingly.
Alerts can be triggered when test equipment is not returned to its storage location, or when staff members leave the building or enter a restricted area. The system also sends out alerts via e-mail to the staff when a car is not in the parking lot, so as to keep them updated regarding the number of vehicles still available on the premises for other employees to utilize.
"From a user's perspective, ITEC has accomplished better management of its resources and assets," Ohno says. "It takes, literally, seconds to locate someone in the company." By knowing which individuals are in a staff meeting, employees can better determine whether they should interrupt—for instance, they would not need to disrupt a meeting to deliver a message to someone if they discovered that person was not actually in the conference room.
At present, I'm Here Model Factory 1.0 is commercially available only in the Japanese market. However, Ohno notes, "We have several large government and commercial customers evaluating the system."
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