Enterprise Asset Management with RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Tue, May 11, 2010 @ 04:58 PM

Tags: RFID, Tool Tracking, Asset Management, Industrial Automation

ARC Advisory Group recently published a report titled "RFID Enables Improvement for Mobility and Enterprise Asset Management", in which they cite a "rapid uptick" in end user plans to implement RFID solutions for enterprise asset management (EAM).  According to a survey of 65 companies, ARC reports that a growing number are planning to move away from using bar codes in favor of deploying RFID to help manage their corporate assets.  Of the survey respondents - representing more than 1,300 facilities - 12 percent indicated they were already using RFID, while 20 percent said they have budgeted to add RFID to their EAM systems this year.

RFID-enabled applications identified by ARC as being available to users to help improve their asset management and maintenance include inventory management, recording asset history, data acquisition for condition monitoring, and location tracking.  According to RFID Journal's coverage of this report, one application that stands out is the use of RFID for inventory management or tool tracking because of the durability of RFID tags compared to bar coded labels in industrial environments.

Enterprise asset management and tool tracking are applications that ThingMagic is very familiar with.  Tool Link, an innovative solution offered by Ford Motor Company and DeWALT, includes ThingMagic's rugged RFID readers and tags and is available in 2009 and 2010 model Ford pickups and vans.  ThingMagic is also partnered with Atlas RFID, supplying the RFID technology to power the Atlas RFID AMS (Asset Management System) - a comprehensive, automated asset data collection and management system that promotes the safety and security of personnel, tools and equipment. Further, Element ID, a provider of high performance RFID readers and specialty industrial automation equipment/systems, recently announced the integration of the ThingMagic M5e embedded RFID module into their UHF Series Appliances for tracking high value assets throughout a building, such as IT assets, or lab or hospital equipment.

The bottom line - Big gains in productivity are economically feasible TODAY by using low cost Passive RFID and complimentary visibility technologies.  No application is too challenging, so if you want to explore how to implement RFID to improve the management of your assets, contact ThingMagic.

Addressing Food Safety Issues with RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Sat, May 08, 2010 @ 12:48 PM

Tags: RFID, Sensors, Healthcare, Food Safety, Agriculture

With the most recent E. coli outbreak, which has sickened 19 people in 3 states, we have to ask ourselves, at what point will it be considered unethical to not use low cost tracking technologies such as passive RFID and low cost sensors to make it impossible for this to happen again?

As the Associated Press article, E. coli outbreak sickens 19 people in 3 states points out, local authorities had been investigating the outbreak for several weeks.  In addition to the life threatening illnesses and costly investigations that could have be avoided, imagine how much faster the contaminated produce could have been identified and removed from the retail supply chain by using data generated by RFID and sensors.

There are plenty of examples of passive RFID being used to drive efficiencies into the produce supply chain. There is now an incredible opportunity, if not a responsibility, for growers, distributors and retailers to expand their use of technology, not just to enhance efficiencies, but to create value for their customers in ways that promote health and safety.

One such innovation was recently presented to an audience at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010 and covered by RFID Journal in an article RFID Tracks Leafy Greens in Arizona.  As detailed, researchers at the University of Arizona's School of Plant Sciences are developing a system that uses RFID and GPS to allow farmers and retailers to trace lettuce through the supply chain while offering farmers a better view into the productivity of their fields.

Similarly, ThingMagic is working with several partners in agriculture related markets, focused on developing and implementing solutions that can improve the quality and safety of goods moving through supply and cold chains.

If you have a food safety project that could benefit from our full line of embedded RFID, fixed RFID reader and embedded active sensor R&D program, please let us know.

RFID Journal LIVE! Review

Posted by Ken Lynch on Mon, May 03, 2010 @ 01:46 PM

Tags: Business Intelligence, RFID, Healthcare, Embedded RFID

This year's RFID Journal LIVE! Conference provided a great opportunity for vendors and customers to gather to learn from each others successful deployment experiences, launch new products, and most importantly generate new business.

Several members of the media & analyst community attended and reported on the event.  One of the most insightful and intriguing post-show articles was published by Supply Chain Digest, sharing the observations of IDC analyst Leslie Hand.  Leslie's analysis titled RFID and Auto Id News: IDC on RFID Journal Live Event Takeaways, detailed 10 specific observations, several of which were independently reported by other analysts and many of which ThingMagic is experiencing on a daily basis.  These observations include:

1. End-user expectations have matured significantly

2. Industry focused basic RFID education is necessary

3. The vendor community has matured significantly

4. Innovation is still taking place, but there is no need to wait for the next big breakthrough

5. Asset tagging, RTLS and transit pass projects pay the bills for many vendors

6. Projects that involve government, defense and aerospace organizations abound

7. Retail apparel and footwear projects are taking off

8. Vendors are diversifying, strengthening the array of choices for integrated retail RFID applications

9. Some hardware vendors are demonstrating a clear understanding of end-user process and technology requirements

10. RFID in the cloud is a reality

In addition to providing an opportunity for us to move business forward, for ThingMagic, RFID Journal LIVE! provided a great platform for several partnership, product, and solution deployment announcements.  Congratulations and thank you to all of our dedicated partners and customers involved in the following exciting announcements and achievements:

  • The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center was selected by RFID Journal as the winner of the Most Innovative Use of RFID Award! This deployment includes ThingMagic's Astra UHF RFID readers as part of an integrated RFID solution designed to reduce patient anxiety and improve the workflow between clinicians, patients and administrators at the hospital. Watch the following video where Ray Lowe, regional director, IS operation, described the system at the conference.

 

 

  • ThingMagic announced a partnership with Element ID, which recently used ThingMagic's M5e module to build their UHF Series Appliances. You can check out our case study to learn how the Element ID solution saved one customer more than $150,000 in up front software fees versus a typical RFID deployment.

 

  • ThingMagic announced of the addition of the M6e to our embedded RFID reader module family. Read full press release here, including the announcement of our M6e beta test program. This program offers customers and prospects the opportunity to gain early access to the M6e for evaluation and design-in. If you're interested in the M6e beta program, or would like more information, please contact our sales team at sales@thingmagic.com or 1-866-833-4069 (+1 617-499-4090 for callers from outside the U.S. and Canada).

We're really excited by the interest and feedback that we got from people who stopped by to talk to us.  Thanks to Mark Roberti and the team at RFID Journal for another excellent event!

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