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RFID-enabled Lockers Help U.K. Organizations Manage Electronic Equipment

Britain's Highways Agency, police departments and schools are using Traka's lockers to monitor the storage of radios and other devices, as well as those who use that equipment, and when.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 30, 2012More than 100 Highways Agency offices within the United Kingdom are managing the use of the organization's radios by means of a radio frequency identification solution that records when each radio is placed into or removed from a secured locker, and by whom. The technology was developed by Traka, a division of ASSA Abloy.

Traka, based in England, has provided electronic key-management solutions since 1990. At the heart of the key-management systems is the company's Traka iFob, a bullet-shaped device containing a passive RFID tag encoded with a unique ID number. Keys are permanently attached to an iFob via a security seal, with each iFob assigned a particular location within a Traka key cabinet, and locked in place until released by an authorized user.

Traka's John Kent
More recently, Traka developed its RFID-based solution to track assets entering and leaving lockers, initially intended for use by police departments. Since then, the RFID-enabled lockers have remained in use for several years, not only by the Highways Agency—which is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving England's primary road network, as well as U.K. police departments—but also in schools.

The company had previously provided a variety of products and solutions related to the access control of keys or other items using biometrics, PIN codes or magnetic ID cards to ensure that only authorized personal can access a locker, and thus any assets stored within it. The addition of RFID technology, however, provides a greater degree of visibility, since users could determine whether an asset is actually in a specific locker, based on information culled by an RFID interrogator built into the locker, as well as a 125 kHz passive RFID tag, compliant with the ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 standards, attached to the asset stored at that location. The system's software can also determine who has a particular item, based on which personnel accessed the locker at the time of its removal, according to John Kent, Traka's president and founder.

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