Swiss Company Using Active RFID System To Track Employees

NoviTech, a Swiss provider of turnkey solutions for access monitoring, is using an active RFID system from INGECOM to automatically monitor the location of its employees in real time. The company is rolling out the system at its own headquarters with ambitions to deploy RFID tracking technology to healthcare centers to prevent the wandering of mentally-disabled patients.

The system detects the presence of employees in front of access points and denies or grants access by opening a door. A log file keeps track of the path of any of the employees, only for the purpose of investigation in case of forgery.

Finding the room where a tag is located is simple. All of the controllers send the data to a centralized database for software application to query from and include a set of configurable rules to triggers alerts in case of emergency.

The INGECOM system uses active tags and controllers in the 2.45 GHz range. While the controllers are available in different configurations, the Wi-Fi version allows the company to use existing technology infrastructure. A Wiegand configuration, with reduced throughput, is used in cases where Wi-Fi is not accepted, such as certain medical, banking or military environments. The tags are available in two formats –- a 4-millimeter credit card shape or a domino format that can be used as a keychain holder.

The tags are water-resistant and have a five-year battery life, even with a 1-second refresh rate. The tags also can propagate at distance of more than 3,000 feet in open space when using the range enhancer. The software-programmable range adapter embedded inside the controllers can modify the range to just a single room.

The system has been used successfully at NoviTech since mid-2007 with 20 controllers and 300 tags. The company plans to ramp up the program with 800 tags in use by the end of the year in other locations.

About the Author

Brent Dirks is senior e-news/Web editor for Security Products and Network-Centric Security magazines.

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