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RFID Tracks Gear for Australian Customs and Border Protection

The agency is using HF passive tags and readers at 22 offices and on numerous vessels, to track the location and maintenance records for thousands of weapons and pieces of equipment.
By Claire Swedberg
The central office's management team can log onto the arms-inventory-management software to view data in real time, and can perform audits at any time, as well as create maintenance checklists, since the software can flag items approaching their maintenance date. Those checklists can then be used by the staff to locate those assets for maintenance or repair. In either case, each asset's tag must be scanned at the armory, where a staff member, using the handheld reader, would select a prompt indicating whether the item was being serviced on-site, or being shipped off site for maintenance. Prior to the RFID system's installation, office personnel simply placed paper notes on the equipment that required maintenance, in order to ensure it would not be used. With the assetDNA system, however, an alert is displayed once the tag is read by a handheld interrogator, thereby indicating that the item requires service before it can be issued to an officer.

In some cases, handheld readers are also being used on vessels operated by Customs and Border Protection. A vessel's equipment-issuing officer would utilize the handheld to read staff members' ID cards, along with the IDs of any equipment assigned to those individuals.

HID Global's Tony Hilder
Because the system would be used at so many locations, and by so many employees, Bennett says, the software needed to be clear and easy for the officers to use. Moreover, the tags had to be rugged enough to sustain damage from water or impacts. The results have been good, he reports, with audits conducted more frequently, now that the central location has access to real-time data rather than spreadsheets provided by each office. Audits that previously required four hours or more to complete, by several officers at each location, can now be conducted in an hour or less, he adds.

Since the system went live over the summer, Bennett says, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service "has better, faster, more reliable data." The agency declined to comment for this story.

For the past 10 years, Relegen has also provided its RFID-based solutions to the Australian Defense Force (ADF), for the purpose of managing its assets.

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