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Challenges and Results of a Custom NFC Solution Tackling Property Management and Asset Tracking

Smart-Tec NFC Solution

Smart-Tec NFC Solution

TTAG Systems and RFID Canada partner to provide an NFC real-time cloud-based system known as Smart-Tec for property management and asset tracking. Prior to deploying this NFC system, when a property management company was needed to service maintenance points or assets (such as fire extinguishers or sprinkler systems) in different locations, they would send in a site person. However, there was no way of knowing if their team member visited the stores and more importantly, checked the respective equipment.

Smart-Tec Solutions provides services and solutions to utility and property management businesses in the Greater Toronto Region of Canada. Developed by TTAG Systems, a partner of RFID Canada, provides efficient solutions to monitor on-site employees as they visit different maintenance locations, giving the company fast and accurate data on each employee, as well as property and asset check-ins.

Smart-Tec needed a solution that would allow property management companies to monitor physical site visits by the site person to make sure the equipment was properly checked. TTAG Systems and RFID Canada assessed the challenges and potential solutions and responded by creating a low-cost custom NFC solution that included a mobile app, durable NFC tags and a web dashboard.

Challenges

Checking the small assets. While geo-fencing and enabling the location services on the site person’s phone was an obvious option, this approach was only capable of providing a general visit location and no hard data to see if the employee checked the asset.

Small asset connectivity. We have also assessed IoT (Internet of Things) approach to making every small asset connected, installing RFID systems or Bluetooth beacons to communicate with the mobile app and some others. While all these approaches were viable, they resulted either in higher capital and operating costs or required significant maintenance efforts.

The Solution

A low-cost near field communication that utilized NFC tags, a Blackberry mobile app and a web dashboard.

The Ironside Micro™ HF/NFC tag is attached to the wall next to fire extinguisher.
The choice of technology was clear; because NFC technology works within very close proximity, an employee has to physically touch the NFC tag with his phone to record the visit. Moreover, programming and attaching an NFC tag to every asset would be simple, inexpensive and require no connectivity or maintenance in the future.

The Blackberry mobile app records site person’s interaction with the NFC tags and transfers this information to the web dashboard, where management could check the results in real time, including visited locations, date, time and checked assets.

RFID Canada has identified the proper NFC tags to use for the project. The Ironside Micro™ HF/NFC tag we used is designed for industrial assets, is durable and can easily face varying weather conditions and rough handling.

Results

Reporting in an asset inspection with Smart-Tec Tracking App for Blackberry is as easy as tapping the NFC tag.

Here are the final results created for Smart-Tec NFC Solutions:

* A real-time cloud-based system for property management and asset tracking that has numerous applications in industries that require tracking of human activity and asset points.

* Low ongoing maintenance and operational costs. The NFC tags chosen were inexpensive, very durable, and once fixed to the assets and location, they don’t require connectivity or consistent maintenance.

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