RFID & mobilePLUS Solutions
The Power of the Combined Technologies
RFID & mobilePLUS
RFID got off to a bumpy start in industry. For a long time it seemed like it was a really interesting technology – but far too expensive to implement for many applications.
The RFID world has definitely evolved. That shiny new object is now an important tool to leverage when you need to track critical items. The types of RFID applications are as varied as the types of RFID tags available. And this technology is poised to continue to expand and grow further enabling real-time visibility to assets.
The mobilePLUS solution offers two approaches to using RFID – mobile tracking solutions and fixed reader solutions.
Mobile RFID Solutions with mobilePLUS
The mobilePLUS solution architecture provides the ability to read passive RFID tags as well as 1D/2D barcode labels. The capture method (barcode or RFID) to be read may be chosen by the user during an inventory event – based on how the items for that audit activity are labeled or tagged at the time. This approach allows you to implement RFID over time – or as needed.
Once you have your tags in place, the difference between using barcode labels vs. RFID tags is the time and labor involved in the read from the scanner. Although barcode reading is semi-automatic, it requires line of sight with each asset individually. RFID, on a mobile device, gathers multiple RFID marked assets in minutes and does not require line of sight.
Fixed Reader RFID Solutions with mobilePLUS
Fixed RFID readers can be effective tools for choke processes that collect the movement/time information for assets in a scripted or fixed path process – but they are most effective when used in conjunction with other tools. Many assets, for example, do not follow a given path. So the benefit of collecting information at the choke point is significantly improved when there is additional action that follows a scan or additional data that is provided to complement that Reader pass-through.
The first step is to determine what the actions would be following the scan of an item by a fixed RFID reader.
Say you want to track the movement of IT assets. What do you want to happen after an RFID tag is scanned? Do you plan to take some immediate action (i.e. alert to send staff out to confiscate the device/prevent)? Do you plan to report movement (i.e. send an alert to IT management)? Do you want to wait to see if it passes another Fixed Reader and then take action?
You’ll want to consider the overall process flow when you are considering using Fixed Readers. Because at a scan, all that a Fixed RFID Reader knows is that at a specific point in time, an IT asset passed a particular reader. Without anything else, there will not be any information as to who was carrying or moving the asset, where it was going, etc.
Preparing Your Environment for RFID
Environment preparation and item tagging can be a cumbersome task when moving into automating inventories with traditional barcode labels – or RFID tags. mobilePLUS includes Retag functionality to make this process as painless as possible.
Retag provides an easy process to initially label or tag items or to convert existing identification or barcode labels to new RFID tags – or new barcode labels (for example – if you elect to track based on a standard tag design instead of a manufacturer barcode).
Preparing your environment can take a little time. But with Retag, you can evolve your use of RFID over time to meet the changing needs of your organization.
Mixing It Up
Not sure what to use? Maybe the answer is to mix it all up. There isn’t one “way” to approach RFID. The right way is the one that works the best for your team now – and allows for change in the future.
Looking at the problem from the subject of your tracking can help determine the right approach – or mix of tags. There are three levels of asset management using labels and RFID: tracking, tracking and traceability and real-time location. These levels are not mutually exclusive, but rather complementary and build on each other.
|Tracking||Records the location of an item at a specific point in time||Barcode labels (1D/2D), Passive RFID|
|Traceability||Records the location of an item at a specific point in time & offers history of past location reporting/movement||Barcode labels (1D/2D), Passive RFID|
|Real-time Tracking||Records the location of an item in real-time providing opportunity to take action on an event at the time the event is recorded.||Active RFID|
Considering leveraging RFID in your tracking solutions? We can help lay out the best approach for you. Let’s talk.