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NASA Improves Inventory Time by 30% Using Passive RFID Technology

NASADataSpan announced  that it is implementing a RFID system for NASA to more efficiently inventory and manage over 250,000 assets spread over its Space Centers, Research Centers and other facilities throughout the United States. The final integrated solution includes Gen 2 RFID-compliant metal mount tags from Omni-ID, Alien handheld readers and customized software from EDP, LLC. Inventories include a wide variety of computer assets, vehicles, cameras, radios, lab equipment, calibration components, mobile tracking systems and specialized asset types unique to the NASA mission.

According to Miguel A. Rodriquez, NASA HQ Equipment Program Manager, “Under NASA’s current conditions of reduced Center staffing for many support services, we needed a faster way to conduct and track our large and mobile asset population with fewer personnel. After studying several approaches, we began an RFID Proof of Concept effort at Langley Research Center in Virginia with DataSpan in 2012. DataSpan took the time to understand our requirements and has provided us with a complete, customized end-to-end solution from design, hardware procurement, custom software installation, SAP integration services and operator training. The final result has improved our time to conduct inventories by approximately 30% using passive, Gen 2 tags, readers and customized software. DataSpan and their team worked very closely with our Center personnel and provided a seamless RFID data flow interface to our SAP Property Management Module,” he added.

“We have installed RFID components and trained NASA and contractor staff over the past several months at nine of twelve targeted locations,” said Jim Ferguson, DataSpan’s Director of Data Security Technology. “Much of the success of this project is directly due to the involvement and participation of NASA’s senior management team as well as IT technical staff at each of the NASA facilities. Our primary project goal is to ensure that NASA’s asset management personnel are completely self-sufficient in the entire RFID lifecycle from tag enrollment, handheld and middleware software inventory operation to the SAP database integration process.”

DataSpan partnered with PentaSys, LLC to provide the on-site software technical and training services for EDP both during and after each on-site installation. “We modified the EnaSys handheld and middleware to match existing NASA asset inventory processes as closely as possible and comply with Agency IT security requirements. Fortunately, NASA had several years ago established a uniform barcode-based inventory system and we were able to leverage that system and easily integrate the newly generated RFID data into their legacy SAP back-end with minimal effort,” said Ferguson.

“At DataSpan, we realize the critical nature of NASA’s Asset Inventory Management Solution to smooth running missions and operations,” said Nancy Shemwell, DataSpan’s COO. “In step with our unwavering commitment to customer value, I am pleased to see that the project is delivering the desired functionality and services, the rollout is progressing on schedule and is exceeding NASA’s expectations.”

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