Personalized Kiosk Using a ThingMagic USB Plus+

Posted by Shannon Downey on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 @ 12:03 PM

Tags: USB RFID reader, RFID Kiosk

One of our partners, TransTech, is working with customers to help build personalized kiosk solutions with our ThingMagic USB Plus+ readers.

Turns out, we had a customer develop this type of solution in the past and we wrote a case study about it.

Take a minute and read TransTech's blog post for their take on how to build a solution like this.

Desktop USB RFID Readers – Simple yet Versatile

Posted by Ken Lynch on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 @ 01:33 PM

Tags: RFID, Healthcare, Embedded RFID, Event Management, Airplane Parts Tracking, USB RFID reader, RFID Kiosk

ThingMagic USB ReaderThe value of small form factor RFID readers is not difficult to understand – it is a combination of simplicity, utility and low cost that makes them a popular choice among application developers. Any industry can benefit from being more efficient, yet many are apprehensive to put resources or systems (RFID being an example) in place to make it happen, because of any number of barriers to entry – “it’ll cost too much,” “it’ll be too invasive,” “it’ll be difficult to integrate with our current operations.

ThingMagic’s USB RFID Reader is one answer to these concerns, particularly for users developing and deploying interactive read/write applications. Its small form factor allows users to deploy without affecting existing infrastructure. The reader’s ability to be controlled and powered by a PC means plugging into a USB port is typically all that’s necessary to integrate with existing hardware systems. And, its low cost makes it an easier investment decision. The variety of industries that the ThingMagic USB RFID Reader has made its way into shows this versatility.

Aerospace

Writing information to an RFID tag is easy enough when it involves something as simple as scanning workers’ ID badges into a system, but this becomes significantly more difficult when the tag you need to scan is attached to an enormous airplane part you can’t necessarily just drag over to any old reader. Companies like Honeywell Aerospace have begun applying high-memory RFID tags to various parts they manufacture so that they can be tracked from birth through their eventual use by airlines, and repair if necessary. To write and read information on these tags, which often reside on difficult to reach parts, Honeywell uses simple and portable USB RFID readers provided by ThingMagic that can be easily plugged into a laptop. Using a USB RFID reader to write and read these high-memory tags allows aerospace companies to easily attach information part descriptions, manufacture dates, part numbers, and serial numbers to the equipment being moved around a plant and even to other countries.

Healthcare

Healthcare environments – hospitals, clinics, etc. – depend on accuracy perhaps more than any other industry, as errors could potentially affect not only just business, but individuals’ health and well-being. A recent deployment by XECAN (watch video), a leading provider of smart RFID systems for healthcare, fixes ThingMagic USB readers to the desktop PCs in hospital exam rooms. Doctors can then scan their badge upon greeting a patient and have immediate access to that patient’s profile in the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.

The time saved by not having to repeatedly enter login credentials for different software applications allows doctors more time to see patients and focus on care, letting the technology handle logistics. The entire process becomes more efficient and accurate, reducing potential errors and, in turn, lowering costs for patients, healthcare providers and insurers. And it involves little more effort from employees than simply touching their IDs to a desktop USB RFID reader.  Download XECAN Case Study

Sports

These types of readers are just as often applied in fast-paced, often outdoor environments as part of athletic deployments, and can be used to easily replace the guesswork involved in athletic competition with structure and automation for accuracy.

When you consider the logistics of racing sports, for instance, it’s obviously important to have accurate time recording measures in place for properly determining winners and statistics. What’s often neglected, however, (and which we’ve blogged in the past) is the need to monitor for fair play – a lesson Rosie Ruiz taught us all the hard way in 1980 when she became the “fastest” female runner in the history of the Boston Marathon (until investigators discovered she’d skipped most of the race).

To protect the integrity of racing sports, companies like RFID Timing deploy RFID systems to keep track of athlete information and monitor their progress at different checkpoints throughout a race. In these types of deployments, a USB reader could be used to encode and check UHF tags before they’re placed on a racer’s number prior to an event. The readers are also used to scan athletes’ tags in various locations, for instance at the point where a runner would pick up his or her race pack. Automating a process like this ensures an athlete’s details are correct in a timing system’s database.

RFID-Powered Kiosks

Though you’ll typically see these types of readers on a desk plugged into a PC or laptop, use cases have evolved in parallel with the explosion of social media to popularize RFID-powered social media kiosks at event functions. Showing the more casual and entertaining side of RFID, providers like ODIN (watch video) put together interactive kiosks that allow people to more easily engage with others and share enjoyable moments from the events they attend. Users who touch their conference ID badge to an RFID-powered kiosk and choose to attach it to their social media accounts can then easily share updates, check-ins, and photos from the variety of sessions, booths, or events they visit.

A cool use case we’ve blogged in the past was for the Olympics this past summer when candy company Cadbury partnered with the social media tech company dwinQ to set up a large, purple, inflatable booth – the Cadbury House – that was RFID-enabled. Prior to entering the Cadbury House, visitors could tap their event badges to a ThingMagic USB RFID reader and then choose to link the badge to their Facebook account. From that point on, other readers throughout the attraction would automatically pick up visitors’ badges and give them different options for sharing content, such as a photo opportunity with an added backdrop of participants receiving Olympic medals in front of a large crowd. They reported that an impressive 75% of attendees opted to link their Facebook pages, checking in 5824 times and sharing 8958 photos.  Download ODIN Case Study

The value of this type of reader, regardless of whether it’s found on a racetrack or in a hospital exam room, is that it can be easily deployed to provide immediate results. These types of readers are designed to plug simply into existing infrastructure so as to offer a quick solution that doesn’t disrupt ongoing operations already in place. The variety of applications – creative and entertaining like Cadbury to complex like aerospace parts tracking – shows its versatility. Because there are so few strings attached, virtually any industry could see improvements in performance, efficiency, or accuracy with desktop USB RFID readers.

RFID Garment Tracking at Disney

Posted by Ken Lynch on Mon, May 07, 2012 @ 10:09 AM

Tags: Garment Tracking, RFID, Inventory Management, RFID Kiosk, Laundry Management

I could write a flowery post about this deployment of ThingMagic RFID readers, but I think it would be more compelling if I just stick to the facts.  If you have a large inventory of garments that you need to track, take a look at the following ROI case and then contact us to discuss how RFID can help save you time and money.

  • Disney is using UHF RFID to track $100 million worth of costumes.
  • The solution has saved the company more than a million dollars.
  • Inventory counting times have been reduced from approximately 180 labor hours (within larger costume storage areas) to about two hours.
  • The system has increased the accuracy of inventory checks, from 85 to 90 percent accurate to nearly 100 percent.
  • The need to staff checkout counters has been eliminated, freeing up personnel for other tasks.

This is how it works. A Disney cast member walks through rows of costumes at one of the 25 storage areas. She selects her costume garments and proceeds to a kiosk with an integrated ThingMagic RFID reader. The cast member swipes her ID badge through a bar-code reader at the kiosk, where her face and name are displayed on a video screen. The RFID reader captures the garments’ tag IDs and feeds that information to the Disney garment management software. Voila. Cinderella is off to greet her fans without a moment’s delay.

When the cast member is done for the day, she puts her costume into a laundry chute where another ThingMagic RFID reader captures the tag IDs. The status of the garments is updated, noting when they enter and exit the laundry area. This same process works with uniforms for band members, wait staff, and… well, you get the picture.

Disney Soution

Disney also uses RFID-enabled inventory cycle count carts to expedite inventory counts in their costume storage areas.  What previously involved 15 to 20 employees manually scanning barcodes for nine to twelve hours can now be completed by one or two workers in about one hour.

The solution paid for itself in less than a year.

(Image source: RFID Journal RFID Helps Disney Employees Get Into Character)

Check it Out - RFID for Library Media Tracking

Posted by Ken Lynch on Mon, Sep 13, 2010 @ 04:00 AM

Tags: RFID, RFID Kiosk, Library Book Tracking

Significant Growth in RFID for Library Operations Reported

JustBooksSimilar to organizations that operate large supply chain and distribution processes, academic and public libraries need to manage a large number of assets.  These assets have historically included books, but now also include videos, CDs, DVDs and other types of multimedia.  With the expansion of the types of media offered, libraries are also seeking new ways to deliver improved patron services.

For libraries, RFID-enabled solutions offer capabilities that magnetic stripe or barcode technology simply cannot deliver as effectively.  The advantages of RFID include superior data collection rates, automated self-checking for material loans and returns, reduced inventory times, and automated sorting and re-shelving processes.  For patrons, this means a greater probability that the material they are looking for will be on the shelf, less time checking out books and other media and faster location of material that my have been misplaced or not yet sorted.

Established in 1983, ThingMagic partner Great Eastern Impex (GEI) is a leading systems integrator and solution provider in auto ID technologies, and is one of the largest manufacturers of RFID and barcode labels, tickets (tags) and printing ribbons.  With over 25 years experience in delivering value and innovation to customers in manufacturing, retail, distribution and healthcare, Great Eastern Impex also views large library systems as a prime market for the adoption of UHF RFID-enabled solutions.

One such GEI customer deployment is with India-based JustBooks, a Bangalore, India-based startup.  JustBooks teamed with Great Eastern Impex to use RFID to automate the inventory management processes throughout its entire library chain.  JustBooks’ has tagged more than 160,000 library items with UPM Raflatac RFID tags that have been converted into custom book labels by Great Eastern Impex.

Library member cards also include RFID tags that allow customers to use touch screen kiosks that run library management software and include RFID readers from ThingMagic.  These kiosks are used to automate the book borrowing transaction when books are placed by the kiosk during check out and return.  The system is also integrated with the library’s inventory system which allows staff to conduct rapid book counts and make corrections of items that may have been misplaced.

A recent survey conducted by Library RFID Ltd indicates significant growth in the adoption of RFID by libraries.  The report indicates that of 259 respondents from 193 different library organizations (primarily in the UK), 116 have already deployed RFID to some extent.  This is in contrast to only 28 reporting the use of RFID in 2009.  If this is an indication of global adoption of RFID by the library market, things look very promising.

Have you experienced RFID at the library check out?  Let us know how it went below.

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