Case Study - Handheld RFID for Field Asset Tracking

Released on: May 4, 2008, 5:58 pm

Press Release Author: Tracient Technologies

Industry: Agriculture

Press Release Summary: Case Study - Tracient Handheld Readers Provide RFID Read/
Write Capability in the Field. To be used for identifying location markers in
Construction, Agriculture and Utility sectors.

Press Release Body:
Tracient Technologies is supplying its Explore-R HF and Padl-R HF handheld RFID
readers to Airfield, a Luxemburg based systems integrator, for it's field asset
tracking solution. The solution has been successfully trialled by Faynot, a French
company who produces intelligent survey-markers for land surveyors - intelligent in
that they contain electronically readable/ writeable information.

Historically asset identification for items in places such as vineyards, vegetable
plots, water distribution systems, building sites and telecom networks has been done
visually and the recording of asset information has been manual. This process has
inherent weaknesses in terms of speed and accuracy.

Operators need to accurately identify assets so that the required business process,
for example vine pruning/ spraying, pipe maintenance/ removal, can take place. This
is not always easy when the asset's identity details have been scratched, worn off
or obscured by mud.

Another challenge is accelerating the process of recording asset identification
information against the customer's asset register. The manual process is time
consuming and creates an unacceptable risk of data entry error, especially through
operators selecting incorrect asset records in the database / handheld application.

Thirdly, and most importantly in this instance, operators need to be able to write
information back to the asset. For example: time of visit, operator's ID, nature of
work carried out.

Arnaud Bellaire, Airfield's Director of RFID says "It is important for any business
operating assets in the field to be able to accurately identify of each piece of
equipment, regardless of its location. Identification errors can lead to unnecessary
expense resulting from incorrect/ missed servicing, mistaken replacement, incorrect
application of chemicals etc. It is also desirable to have the asset information
stored on the asset so that any authorised visitor to the site can access and create
up-to-date asset information, without real-time access to their enterprise

Options that Airfield considered for their solution included Bar-codes and handheld
computers with built-in RFID. Bar-coding was dropped due to dust and dirt covering
the bar-codes and making the labels unreadable. The built-in RFID handheld computer
option was dropped because Airfield wants their customers to be able to make use of
their existing PDAs and mobile phones. Also they know operators prefer not to have
to carry a heavy, bulky device around with them for long periods of time. Airfield
chose RFID for their solution because it presents a highly automated and efficient
way of identifying assets in the field and recording asset information on site.

Airfield needed a user-friendly handheld reader that could read/ write tags. Arnaud
Bellaire says he chose Tracient's Padl-R HF and Explore-R HF readers for their
lightweight, compact form factor. "Bluetooth connectivity to a wide range of
handheld devices was also important" he says "as we want customers to be able to
leverage off their existing investments in handheld devices."
How does the solution work? Airfield places ISO 14443A tags in 'i-bornes' which are
resin moulds dug into the ground. The tags contain a unique number linked to the
customer's asset record in their enterprise database. The tags also have up to 4K
bytes memory space so that data can be recorded directly onto the i-borne. Upon
finding the i-borne the operator scans the tag using either an Explore-R HF or a
Padl-R HF reader. The tag information is then transferred to the operator's smart
phone via Bluetooth. The smart phone holds the customer's database and matches the
tag ID with the asset. The operator can then write information such as time/ date of
visit, operator's ID, status of asset, GPS location and other business related
information into the keyboard or touch screen of their smart phone and transfer it
back to the tag using the 'write' function in the RFID reader. Airfield's software,
written for the smart phone, offers a simple interface for collecting data from the
i-borne and writing data back into the tag's memory on the i-borne.
Airfield has found the tags in the i-bornes can be read quickly with 100% accuracy.
Therefore asset identification is 100% accurate as is the transfer of information.
Most importantly the operator is able to update the information on the tag, thereby
ensuring real time asset information is available to whoever is in the field.
Feedback from Faynot is Tracient's RFID readers are easy to understand and use, and
the lightweight form factor is appreciated by operators having to carry the device
for long periods of time.

More details about Tracient's readers and the solution can be found at

About Tracient Technologies
Tracient Technologies specialises in the design and manufacture of wireless handheld
RFID readers designed especially for mobile/ field applications. Tracient's products
are designed to international standards and offer plug and play Bluetooth and USB
connectivity with rapid integration into workstations, handheld computers and
cellular phones.

Neil Edmond
Sales and Marketing Manager
Tracient Technologies Ltd
Ph +64 3 9777 067

About Airfield
AIRFIELD specialises in RFID architecture and computer integration services . The
company offers high added value services that cover advice, training, engineering
and implementing of RFID solutions. AIRFIELD\' s approach combines a working
understanding of the need for traceability with the strong technological know-how
required in this complex and fast-growing sector. AIRFIELD\' s mission is to
accompany and implement traceability projects. Their experts comprehensively pilot
the project from beginning to end. They help enterprises think their traceability
project through, achieve their investment targets and implement it.
Arnaud Bellaire
Director - RFID
+352 691 468 360

Web Site:

Contact Details: Neil Edmond
Sales and Marketing Manager
Tracient Technologies Ltd
8/404 Barbadoes St,
Christchurch 8013
New Zealand
Ph +64 3 9777 067

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