T&D World Magazine

Comprehensive Physical Asset Management System Uses Active, Semi-active RFID Technology

AXCESS International Inc. has released its comprehensive physical asset management solution, Asset Activator, which uses both active and semi-active RFID technology. This "on-demand" solution provides automatic location, tracking, inventory counts, and protection of all types of enterprise assets. Built on AXCESS' ActiveTag technology, the unique low-cost RFID asset management solution enables corporations to manage assets and effectively protect intellectual property and customer privacy data as noted under Sarbanes Oxley and the code of conduct stipulated for NYSE-listed companies. It provides both management and security in one package and is capable of interfacing with the full range of existing enterprise systems. Asset Activator is installed and operating in several corporate facilities worldwide.

Asset Activator seamlessly interfaces with existing security and access control systems to provide asset protection from loss or theft, while simultaneously integrating into asset management systems to enable automatic management and inventory accounting. An asset not designated as authorized to leave the premises or a secure area will trigger a standard alarm in the security system. Assets can be assigned authorized custodians for ease of movement. Dynamically accounting for assets reduces the manpower needed for inventory counts while increasing the accuracy of inventory accounting.

Asset Activator is more affordable and more accurate than RFID technologies that use signal power estimations or signal triangulation techniques for determining the location of assets. The Asset Activator solution uses a "Control Point" architecture to locate, track, count and protect tagged assets by activating the tags on-demand at key strategic points in and around the enterprise. Tags can be programmed to transmit only when requested, hence on-demand. Called "semi-active" in the RFID industry, on-demand operation conserves battery power and complies with regulatory requirements to avoid constant tag transmissions typical in many active RFID systems.

Key to the establishment of control points inside a building is AXCESS' new "Switch Plate" activator-antenna unit. The activator-antenna activates the tag as it passes, automatically and accurately transmitting only at that time so the asset's exact position is tracked as it moves throughout a facility. The palm-sized unit fits in with the aesthetic design of a building and avoids the objectionable portal structure typical of passive RFID tag systems. The areas between control points can be sized as needed by the customer's unique requirements for asset visibility and location precision.

The seamless interface into legacy security access control systems is accomplished using the industry-standard Wiegand data interface from the RFID receiver to the security panel. The existing security system determines if assets are authorized to enter or leave an area without triggering an alarm. A simultaneous TCP/IP network interface from the receiver makes the system a standard enterprise network application complete with intelligent middleware to process the tag data and an interface with enterprise systems such as IT and accounting application software. Asset Activator is integrated with ActiveTrac, a desktop software package provided by AXCESS that enables easy and simple tag enrollment, asset tracking and security. Optionally, customers can use AXCESS' OnlineSupervisor browser-based software solution.

AXCESS' patented ActiveTag RFID product uses small, battery-powered tags (generically called "semi-active" tags) that when automatically activated, transmit a wireless message typically 30 to 100 feet to hidden palm size receivers. The receivers are connected via an industry-standard interface to existing security alarm equipment or networked on the existing corporate network. Optionally, the tag system can also be used to trigger security video recording and live remote video transmission. The tags are used for a variety of other security applications including automatic personnel access to facilities, automatic vehicle access to parking areas and yards, as well as special purpose sensing. Automatic email alerting and paging is offered for rapid response to security incidents.

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