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N.Y. State Agency Is More Energy-Efficient, Thanks to RFID

Taking inventory of hundreds of computers, printers, monitors and other electronic equipment can now be accomplished in a single day, instead of several weeks.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 02, 2010At a state energy agency in northern New York, it often took several weeks to complete a biannual audit of assets valued at more than $100 apiece, including computers, monitors, printers and scanners. Each item was pulled away from the wall, or turned over, so a worker could locate its serial number. That number was then written down or manually matched against an inventory list, and the name of the item's user was written next to the serial number. Items often were not where they were expected to be, and in some cases, a device's location had changed by the time one building's audit was nearly complete. So if a number was transposed, and if staff members went back in search of that item for verification purposes, it simply wasn't there anymore.

"We have a small staff to keep track of what we purchase, to ensure we take care of it for the taxpayer," says Glen Kaatz, the agency's operations support manager. "We did the audit every other year, but we wanted to do it annually."

To make this feasible, Kaatz began seeking a more automated way of taking inventory that would be feasible within his limited budget. He found a solution provided by inLogic, using EPC Gen 2 passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags from Confidex to identify both the assets and their users.

The system was installed approximately 18 months ago, Kaatz says, and has been utilized in one audit—which, he says, required only one day instead of the three weeks or so it previously took using the old manual method.

The energy agency has three offices in Albany, N.Y., as well as satellite offices in other areas of New York State. The three Albany offices employ 350 workers, who collectively use 1,400 electronic devices worth more than $100 apiece.

The agency and inLogic developed a system in which a Confidex Steelwave Micro tag was attached to every device, as well as to each employee's nameplate on doorways and cubicles, says Bill Compitello, Confidex's director of sales. When a new piece of equipment is received, a tag is attached to that item, the RFID number of which is scanned, while the asset's serial number and description are input into the system, either manually or via another bar-code scan.

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