Monthly Archives: April 2010

Toll Global Logistics Expects RFID to Provide Significant Savings: RFID Journal.com

Read more about the operational benefits, increased productivity, and end-user value that a global 3PL is creating with RFID technology, all while reducing costs – a great example of an enterprise innovating and coming out of the recession with a cutting edge technology solution to leapfrog competition!

www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/7552

 

Cheers!

 

/a

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Spotlight for Laptop tracking

Here’s a great (short) video that the team recorded of an operational (‘live’) Laptop tracking solution (at a financial services institution in India) built on Spotlight. I’ve also included a deck that articulates (briefly) the solution approach, workflows, and the technology used.

 

Couple of important takeaways:

  1. The base capabilities of the Spotlight product allows end-users to easily model and deploy domain-specific solutions for asset tracking (such as tracking laptops, baggage, IT assets in-store items etc.) and evolve use-cases organically over time on a real-time solution platform. See here to learn more about Spotlights’ capabilities that allow you to deploy various asset tracking initiatives on a single, unified solution platform and check out the Asset Tracking solutions page to see how the same concepts apply to baggage, IT asset tracking etc.)
  2. Device independence is baked into the solution – i.e. though you see an ‘Active’ Hand-held reader being used in this scenario (as outlined in the solution) the beauty of the solution is that it can ‘plug and play’ with a variety of HW (we’ve done variants with MC 9090 Handhelds from Motorola and fixed / active readers from any HW manufacturers that support BizTalk RFID as parts of the solution) which in essence is the leverage that the BizTalk RFID platform gives you – A way for applications (such as Spotlight) built on this platform to work seamlessly in a device independent manner… and given this has been the case for quite some time now, maybe the new phrase (in addition to RFID for Everyman) to describe this support for heterogeneous device landscape might be ‘So easy,that even a caveman understands this’ 😉 🙂

As you can see, this is a fairly generic scenario for validation and verification of asset and owner in a single automated transaction via RFID technology. In essence this could be applied to a plethora of scenarios for eliminating errors and reducing time during:

  1. Personnel verification in secure areas
  2. Guest verification in resorts (ski passes come to mind here!)
  3. IT asset verification during servicing
  4. Oil & Gas Asset tracking

And a whole lot more which involves secure access and enhanced guest experience.

Enjoy and drop me a note if you’d like to learn more about the solution.

Cheers!

/a

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Spotlight rocks the Impinj party! An exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ look at the Guest Experience app built on Spotlight

At the recently concluded RFID Journal Live event (where we announced Spotlight, and Microsoft featured our customer Toll Global Logistics in the opening keynote), a really fun thing we also did was partner with Impinj to provide the ‘Guest Experience’ application for their party.

Here’s how it worked – every attendee who walked in to the door with their ‘pit pass’ (a RFID enabled tag) would be welcomed (there were folks who were pre-registered and new folks who would be signed up at the entrance), and they automatically got entered into a drawing for an iPad at the end of the day via a drawing. A big screen projector displayed all entrants with a revolving Spotlight that bounced around the screen before the winner was picked, and there was also a verification station where attendees could walk up wave their badges and get greeted.

From an implementation perspective, I have to say this was probably the fastest production app I’ve ever seen built in such a short period of time which is a testament to the base capabilities of the Spotlight product (which was customized for the Guest experience app) but also to the kick-butt engineering team we have here at S3Edge (take bow you guys!) – not to forget the great HW platform that Impinj provides 🙂

Now if you are wondering what the fuss is (around the production readiness of the app), consider the following:

  • There were multiple read points doing different things that needed to be monitored and managed in a distributed environment (commissioning at the entrance, reading attendees as they walked by via the new Impinj portal, and the verification station) <easy enough to handle through Spotlight’s inbuilt scalability features and declarative device profile and management support>
  • The app was a multi-tenet ‘hosted’ app with the different web-based screens on different machines (the verification, contest winner, welcome gate, and the command center) which meant the various web-clients needed to be managed across a distributed environment <if you’ve built a pub-sub based distributed application you know what I am talking about in terms of the gnarly issues that needed to be designed for :)>
  • A command-center to monitor all client and device activity and troubleshoot in real-time
  • A commissioning app that handled new guests, and old guests who forgot their passes both via web-based and Microsoft Excel based import <handling all the data consistency (or inconsistencies :)) in a fail-proof manner>
  • A way to upload data via MS Excel
  • A way to visualize the layout via a map, zones, and reader bindings
  • Last but not the least, a scalable way to manage an unknown no. of attendees <end result was 300+ folks <who were all accommodated with no issues whatsoever thanks to Spotlight’s enterprise-ready runtime>

Here are a few screen-shots to show you how the app worked behind the scenes <Note that all of the underlying capabilities are driven by Spotlight technology with Guest Experience screens being the customizations atop the product>

 

The layout screen with map of room overlaid with zones (read-stations) and their bindings as well as zone logs

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The verification screen client  (in non full screen mode) with the Impinj screen-save in the background) – this was running separately at the verification station and you can also see the other screens on the left) 

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The command screen client (in non full screen mode) which was the monitoring center

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The New-guest registration screen client (in non full screen mode) which allowed new guests to be registered and added to the already existing DB of folks who were attending the party

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And here are some live images from the party to complement the above:

The Welcome screen at the entrance as registrants walked by

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The party in full-flow with the winner pick screen client in the background

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A closer look a the Winner pick screen with the yellow Spotlight bouncing around the list of registered attendees

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And the winner is… <Yep – Spotlight even managed to smoke out the person from OAT Systems ;)>

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Lots of good fun overall, and I am really proud to say that Spotlight came through with flying colors and no glitches whatsoever – another testament to this new and exciting technology that’s changing the face (and ROI profile) of scalable, enterprise-ready RFID solutions.

 

Drop me a line if you’d like to know more or have any questions.

 

Cheers

 

/a

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Customer video of Spotlight in action at RFID Journal Live keynote

At Microsoft’s RFID Journal keynote today, an example of how the base capabilities of the Spotlight product has been customized and deployed by an industry leader in the 3PL industry – Toll Global Logistics – was showcased.

If you haven’t seen it already, I’d urge you to invest 3.5 mts on this great video to see how a leader in the logistics space has invested in technology to leapfrog competition and drive more value out of the supply chain for their customers.

 

Enjoy!!

 

Cheers!

 

/a

 

 

P.S> For those of you who made the connection, yes this was the customer I was referring to in this earlier post 🙂

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Introducing Spotlight – an industry first packaged RFID-based asset tracking product for vertical markets from S3Edge

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(Fine print: Industry Solution Starter-kits come standard! Click here to learn more)

 

Today we launch Spotlight, our packaged asset tracking product which allows end-users to do the following out of the box:

  • View asset movements in real-time by answering the following:
    • “What are all the zones that this asset has been seen at?”
    • “What are the assets that have been seen at this zone?”
  • Reason on asset movements by providing business critical inferences such as :
    • “This asset has moved to a new location from <previous location>”
  • Find items in the real-world by seamlessly executing real-world search on asset observations and answering the following:
    • “Where was it last seen?”, “Is it in a particular zone now?”
  • Act in real-time based on activity observed. Typical examples include:
    • Presence (asset type and location) based feedback
    • Actions based on exceptions (“This asset should not be in a particular zone”)
  • Gain business insights from ad-hoc, on ground activity by providing configurable ‘self-service’ reports on asset movements across zones;
    • Ex.: “Tell me where the bags for this flight were last seen”, “Tell me all the missing items in the front store from last audit” etc.

And a whole LOT more!

Read more about it here, and check out our (brand new) website – www.s3edge.com to learn more about Spotlight and the Industry Solutions that we are currently focused on (Tip: DO NOT miss the Virtual Product Tours that show the product in action!).

We’d love to hear from you when you want to Get Started (click here to learn more) with utilizing Spotlight technology for a RFID solution deployment that you are planning.

And if you haven’t seen the video of Spotlight in action at Toll Global Logistics check it out on our website or at our YouTube channel here.

All in all, while this is the culmination of an exciting 2 years in working closely with end-users and delivering on their needs, we look forward to a whole new chapter of scalable, enterprise-ready software solutions unfolding on Spotlight.

I’d love to hear from you if you have any q’s / thoughts / comments –> send me a note or send mail to info@s3edge.com.

 

Cheers!

 

/a

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“Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come”, Sir Victor Hugo 1852

Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Victor_Hugo

Hopefully you are still reading on, curious about what prompted my sudden philosophical leanings after a few months of silence 🙂

Well, simply put – we’ve been HARD AT WORK and the culmination of a 2 year effort is all ready to be unveiled tomorrow – but am not going to let it out just yet (however excited I am about the impact and the relevance to our industry :))

Today, I wanted to bring your attention to 2 recent articles / quotes that caught my eye and are extremely relevant to what we’ve been talking about for a while now: the need for packaged, scalable RFID based solutions for vertical markets

“I think we are evolving from a focus on pure middleware software to more packaged solutions around that middleware,” he told SCDigest. “Having big vendors like Microsoft investing in RFID support for their middleware is helping the solution providers by letting them focus on building the specific solutions for different industry scenarios as opposed to spending all of their time on building the infrastructure. I think this is helping to reduce the time it takes to deliver some of these implementations which can lead to quicker time to value”

  • Michael Dortsch’s statement (and to quote), “(RFID) technology is complex and costly to implement, requiring investments in the chips (ultra-high-frequency tags still run more than 7 cents apiece), readers, software, and new business processes ” in his write-up titled RFID in 2010: Will Anyone Care?”, and of interest to our favorite topic of discussion was Mark Roberti’s (of RFID Journal) response which went something like this:

“RFID needs to be simpler to deploy and more focused on complete solutions. RFID vendors have done a great job of making the technology work better and they have overcome many obstacles to deployment, but for many applications, you still have to buy hardware, software and hire a systems integrator to stitch together a solution.”

Touché! Simply put, the powerful idea whose time has come is:
A packaged offering comprising of hardware, tags and the needed controlling software, that can be quickly deployed with little or no disruption to existing enterprise systems, and dramatically simplifies the way enterprises evaluate and integrate RFID technology into their operations.
And from hereon nothing is going to stop customers from reaping the benefits of real-time technology by leveraging such an offering as their enterprise wide solution platform to enhance the efficiency of their processes for years to come!

Stay tuned – all the details in ~18 hrs time!

Cheers

/a

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