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RFID Solution

Aaron Codak's Profile

Were looking for a RFID solution for our office where we can track when employee's arrive and leave the office each day.  We would prefer a solution where they don't have to swipe a card in front of an "eye" - more so if they can just carry an electronic card on themselves and the RFID unit will "ping" the card when they walk by.  I've met with other companies whose pricing starts at $15K+ - looking for a more economical solution.  If anyone has any ideas, please respond.  Thank you!

Answers

John Kogan
Title: CEO/CFO
Company: Proformative, Inc.
(CEO/CFO, Proformative, Inc.) |

One thing to note here, speaking as someone who was CFO of a company that used to be in the business of using RFID for inventory management: RFID has some interesting and annoying physics limitations that you will want to make sure you know about when you discuss with vendors. It is a far from perfect technology given its reliance on antennas (active or passive) and this leads to many missed scans. This is why, after talking about RFID for decades it is still not in wide use as an inventory management technology - and not for lack of trying. If you want a "transparent" system for your employees where they just walk on by a sensor and are picked up, note that the human body acts as a massive "de-tuner" for RFID antennas and thus may have a high fault rate. That is to say that your folks may end up doing more "card waving" than you like in order to get past barriers if you want 100% compliance.

Topic Expert
Aaron Codak
Title: Client Services Finance manager, North A..
Company: Kantar Finance Services (Shared Service ..
LinkedIn Profile
(Client Services Finance manager, North Americ, Kantar Finance Services (Shared Service Center)) |

Thanks for your feedback John, I appreciate it!

Carl Brown
Title: President
Company: SimplyRFiD
(President, SimplyRFiD) |

Looking through all the comments -- these are all excellent points. By the time you add it up, you'll end up doing nothing. Why? Because you'll decide you want to open the door automatically or you want picture cards or the physics just make it less interesting than expected.

But... The changes that have been occurring with RFID over the last two years really change everything. The Gen2 Passive tags since 2009 time frame and the latest RFID readers are stunning.

Really, it depends on what you need. Probably a simple badge-access HID system (near contact) is the way to go. It will open your doors, allow butt-tapping, and give you the in-out tracking capability and you can find thousands of qualified vendors to install it.

However, if you are looking for something more clandestine (tracking people + their laptops + other items), that's when you may consider general RFID.

A simple 'who's walking out' solution would cost $3,000-5,000. A more advanced (door integration, pretty photo cards, 5 exits, etc) and things start adding up.

So... From a competition standpoint, here's some vendors to look at:

SimplyRFiD.com -- That's us. We're awesome. Seriously!

HIDGlobal.com -- Old HF tech but it works and is also fantastic and people love to use it. We don't sell it but it's good alternative. Figure $2,000+ for a base solution.

OdinTechnologies.com -- Our competitor. They seem reputable. Just to give you an alternative.

Everyone Else -- Frankly, we have seen a lot of other RFID solutions but none we can honestly feel confident they have done a successful install. It's a big world and I'm sure by just saying this you'll get a lot of people correcting me. :)

Good luck!

Paul Moore
Title: VP of Finance
Company: PC Helps Support, LLC
(VP of Finance, PC Helps Support, LLC) |

If your employees are salaried (and not paid/docked for each minute), a cheap & simple solution might be one that ties to when the employees log into/out of their PC's connection to the company's network. Your network should already keep this info in an easily retrieved fashion. The downside is that employees would be required to log into their PCs immediately upon arriving at work, which would be a problem when meetings are held first thing in the morning.

Donald Turnblade
Title: Security Architect
Company: Turnblade
(Security Architect, Turnblade) |

Once the scanable badge solution gets out. The following future state needs will show up on your radar scope.
1) Getting the Employee picture on the badge.
2) The badge reader system, the computer and sofware, not just the readers can be subject to technical age. Vendors often do not security patch or technically uplift their platforms and so the computer itself becomes a SOX 404 computing security risk. Most clients lock the computer in a specific room to limit network access to the system to simply the RFID system.
3) Visitor badge management becomes a pragmatic policy, staff awareness training and vendor management concern.
4) Differing levels of access to different areas. Role based access to computer server rooms, accounting, and visitor access.
5) How do system reports integrate with active computer IDs and payroll records? Badges get involved in access management and employee lifecycle processes.
6) Smoker access into and out of the building can become a bad habit of staff for tail gating -- letting other people with badges in the door without scanning. This imbalances your time records and creates unauthorized entry risks by mistakes of common curtesy.
7) One blunder to avoid. Badge access to bathrooms.

Factors such as these should get folded into your vendor selection process, because the want for flexible options to meet future state concerns are nearly inevitable in my experience.

Note: I am assuming because the badging issue has come up that your company has more than 30 staff, but you may not already have Physical security on site so your company is less than 300 staff.

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