The Appliance Approach to RFID

Posted by Ken Lynch on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 @ 12:10 PM

Tags: RFID, Asset Tracking, RFID Appliances

Combining Read Points and Auditing For Asset Tracking

“If you have garbage in, you get garbage out and I need to make sure that I am capturing all the data I possibly can.  By doing that, it means I’ve got the best performance on the front-end in capturing the data versus anyone else on the market.”

The above statement from Jack Romaine, CEO of Element ID, Inc. is how market leaders think when evaluating technology and making choices that can make or break their ability to deliver quality Auto Identification products in a competitive market.

Element IDFor years, companies have benefited from using barcodes to track their assets.  But how should they transition to using newer technologies?  With the growing adoption of RFID, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based Element ID recognized that companies could benefit significantly by leveraging their existing infrastructure when moving from barcodes to other auto ID technologies.  To ease this transition they developed a complete RFID system product or ‘appliance’. 

With previous experience developing their own High Frequency (HF) RFID solutions from the ground up, Element ID sought to take advantage of existing embedded RFID reader technology to build a family of Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Appliances.  Today,UHF Series Logo the company’s UHF Series Appliances consist of an RFID Reader + Automation System Controller + Embedded Linux PC – all in a single box.  In providing this total solution, Element ID gives its customers all the benefits of RFID without asking them to spend extra money on new infrastructure – all while maintaining the benefits they are used to with barcodes and other auto ID equipment.

RFID Appliances in Action

Element ID UHF Series Appliances are targeted at companies needing a cost-effective solution for the tracking of high-value assets throughout a building, such as IT assets, or lab or hospital equipment.  One particular application where having a complete appliance is much more cost effective is in the tracking of high-value assets such as IT equipment.  In this context, the Element ID solution consists of three parts:

Elevator read point – An Element ID UA1200 appliance is mounted in the elevator and functions autonomously to gather data as assets are moved from floor to floor. 

Standard read points throughout the building – The Element ID UA1200 solution requires no middleware and data is delivered directly to the asset management software the customer already owns.

Auditing component – An Element ID UA1000i appliance is run off a battery and placed on a cart.  The IT department wheels the cart around to inventory asset tags.  Data can be delivered over Wi-Fi or stored on the reader and downloaded when the employee returns to her desk.

Putting all of these pieces together gives the customer a complete solution for tracking high-value assets.  While the scenario described above for tracking IT equipment, Element ID also could be used for semiconductor or pharmaceutical companies tracking expensive lab equipment, or a hospital with expensive equipment.

We’re interested in your thoughts on how RFID appliances could benefit your business.  Please comment below.

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