Over the past 5 years FileTrail has been working with the latest RFID technology. Our efforts were kicked off when Wal-Mart announced its RFID Initiative. As the technology has matured, FileTrail has adopted it to fit in the office environment. We built our RFID technology to fit on top of the FileTrail software, rather than as a separate solution. Organizations in many industries have implemented the FileTrail software with RFID to track and manage their records. Today, FileTrail is the undisputed leader in RFID solutions in the office environment. The latest RFID technology – called Ultra-High Frequency, or UHF – started gaining support in 2003. Wal-Mart announced their RFID Initiative in July 2003, and similar announcements followed from Kroger, Tesco, Boeing, and the US Department of Defense. Each of these initiatives required that major suppliers – generally very large companies like Proctor & Gamble – also adopt RFID technology.
While the technology was still young, the early initiates created an instant market. With so many large companies involved, the investment dollars would be available to help mature the technology. The volume of RFID tags required from just these few end-users meant that high manufacturing volumes would ensure a lower cost than previous RFID technologies. And that didn’t count all those that would later join the RFID party. Whole new industries like Pharmaceutical and Asset Management would join. Also, 2nd and 3rd tier companies in the Retail and Grocers industries would join.
FileTrail introduced the Passive Tracking concept for the office environment in late 2005 with the introduction of solutions based on UHF RFID technology. Passive Tracking overcomes the limitation of bar coding, primarily the difficulty of getting staff to scan bar codes every time a file moves. With RFID, files are checked out and transferred automatically as they move from office-to-office. Files virtually tell the system where they are.
The impact of FileTrail’s Passive Tracking is dramatic. Organizations save time by eliminating searches for files, and gain the efficiency of universal access to an online inventory of files, boxes, and documents. In addition, managers gain reporting tools that show how many files each person is processing during a period of time, and reveal trends in workload.
The unique capabilities of UHF RFID are the key to Passive Tracking. Long distance reading means that placement of hardware can be far less invasive than previous RFID technologies. RFID sensors can be placed in drop-ceilings completely out of sight. They can also be mounted under desks, keeping the employees work area surface completely clear.
The illustration below is a section of a floor plan from an oil refinery. Each office and conference room has become an RFID Zone. FileTrail ZoneTrackers in the ceiling read the RFID tags on files as staff carry an armload or tray of files into an office. The location of these files is automatically update in FileTrail. Any employee needing a file can quickly locate it using the FileTrail Search screen.