mobilePLUS & RFID

Leveraging RFID & mobilePLUS

Just as one size doesn’t usually fit all, one type of marking doesn’t always work when you’re tasked with tracking your assets. Some items are high profile, high value, or just need a boost in overall visibility.

Items like these are prime candidates for RFID tags.

mobilePLUS was designed to help you to track any and all of your assets – regardless of their markings. This includes the ability to leverage RFID on a select few – or all – of your assets.

Whether you’ve been using RFID for some time or just getting started, mobilePLUS can help.

The Freedom of the Tag

The mission behind the mobilePLUS solution is to enable an accurate picture of your organization’s assets. Understanding anything about an asset begins with the label or tag. mobilePLUS has been designed to work with traditional barcodes, 2D barcodes, and RFID. As a result, you have the freedom to use whatever marking you prefer across your enterprise – or within select asset sets. The choice is yours.

mobilePLUS uses industry-leading mobile devices like scanners and tablets to capture the data from RFID tags. Once captured, mobilePLUS communicates that information (along with any other updates from your staff) electronically to your business systems.

So if you have a need for RFID – mobilePLUS is ready. mobilePLUS can assist you with recording the application of the RFID tag to the asset, leveraging the tag for updates, and finally retiring the tag once the asset is out of use.

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 reading 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 useful tools for choke processes that collect the movement/time information for assets in a scripted or stationary 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 are additional actions that follow a scan or supplemental 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, that IT asset passed that particular reader. Without any other data, 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.

Ready to Learn More?

Check out the links below to get additional information regarding using RFID & mobilePLUS.  We’d love to hear more about the challenges that you’re dealing with and see how we may be able to help.  Just send us an email or give us a call (636) 590-2900 and let’s talk.

Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.
Dean Kamen