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Use case scenarios for area reading

In our previous two articles we have introduced some of the Nordic ID directors’ aspects about future RFID application systems including new sorts of fixed readers. Now it is time to hear what Atte Kaskihalme has to say.

As we learned from Hannu Heino's article "The technical possibilities of area reading", the RFID world is constantly evolving and now it is time to develop systems that enable automatic item-level monitoring, including new kinds of fixed readers. Some of this kind of system's highlights are the capability for achieving 100% reading accuracy by using continuous reading, and decreasing manual errors. As it has already been told in Hannu Heino's article how this system works in practice, the focus of this article is on where this kind of system could be applied in the Logistics and Manufacturing industries. The use cases vary relatively much, here are only a few potential use cases introduced. The retail use cases for this system were introduced in the article  "Bringing continuous area reading into the shop floor".

Opening up the use cases

The selection of potential use cases cover healthcare sector, warehouse, rental clothing business and tracking individual persons. These specific use cases are picked for further investigation as they give a picture of the versatility of the system. And also, as the use cases vary, their objects for the system vary too. In manufacturing industries, the system is perfect for real-time inventory and monitoring of the tag location and status. The benefits gained among others consider unbreakable work process and shrinkage.

Healthcare sector

In the healthcare sector, the challenges are also real-time inventory but in addition and even more importantly patient safety. In this sector, let's take an example of consumables. The consumables are first tagged and when there is traffic in the warehouse, there's no special need for an additional registration. This is due to the fact that the readers constantly monitor and update the stock status with item locations. The system might even order by itself for stock replenishment according to the backend data. In addition, the age of the consumable can be easily tracked through this fixed reading system. This can be applied in any field of business using the FIFO practice (First In First Out) - the system monitors that the items are taken out of the stock in the right order. This, in turn, minimizes shrinkage and supports patient safety further because of the lack of errors in item picking.

Warehouse

Another application area is a warehouse with a locker holding special goods, such as explosives, inside. To enter the locker and to get access to the explosives, a person identification is required. The fixed reader can combine the process - no locker is needed when both the explosives and the persons are tagged. When the fixed reader is on, it is possible to synchronically compare the persons entering the area and the disappearing object. Another locker-based use case is a car key application at a car rental office. When a car rental agency wants to track where the car keys are and how the cars are rented, they can utilize this one easy-to-install system.

Warehouse _tools2

clothing RENTAL

In clothing rental business, the challenges are rapid stock turnaround and stock accuracy. This means that often an inaccurate number of clothes returns for laundry which makes the real stock status is unknown. The system would bring in a complete solution - if the system is installed in a place where the clothes are collected into one place for laundry. When the reader constantly monitors the tags, we are up-to-date with the number of items in the monitored spot. This way the gained benefits are the automation of customer deliveries and better process quality and customer satisfaction.

People tracking

Another use case for the system is people tracking. In such premises where moving people are wanted to be identified and monitored, the system provides constant up-to-date tracking. These premises consider for instance fairs, nursing homes and hospitals where it is crucial to individually identify the moving persons. RFID technology has been used in this case before - there has been a different technology and dedicated readers. Now the benefit of the area lies in one quantity, which can be easily installed without cables.

What can we conclude from these use cases?

"Some cases cannot be solved by fixed readers and automated monitoring system, but this area reading system would bring a solution in certain cases. Let's take for example tool monitoring in an assembly line area. If a crucial tool is missing, work in the whole assembly line stops. If the tools are tagged and the reader system monitors the tools, we can be sure that the tools will not exit the assembly line area and we can further locate where the missing tool is. In future, Nordic ID will take a deeper look at some of the use cases in form of case studies," Kaskihalme concludes.

To sum, there are several benefits that this system would offer for the customer. Minimizing manual work and human errors helps in stock accuracies, and easy installation enables even more than before. New processes can be attached to tag reading, and we are also open for new kind of applications. What is common for all the use cases is that the implementation and rollout of the system is executed more easily than with other fixed readers.

Atte Kaskihalme boldly states: "If you want to reach a 100% accuracy, the area reading system is the best option for your business."

Atte Kaskihalme _Nordic ID

Atte Kaskihalme, Business Area Director (Logistics & Manufacturing) at Nordic ID

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