6 Uses for Bluetooth LE-enabled Card Tags
The form factor of badge beacons make them a favorite in offices, warehouses and other facilities across a number of industries. They’re wearable, they don’t get in the way and they deliver the full functionality of proximity-based solutions—what’s not to like?
Our very own Card Tag CT18-3 has proven to be a big hit because of its versatility and convenience. Adopting the familiar form of a card and fitting into wallets and accessories like lanyards lets it go where employees go without interfering with, well, anything. Being small, mobile and unobtrusive has led to card tags being used in a number of useful and creative ways.
You might even say that card beacons open a lot of doors to a long list of business applications, including literally opening doors. A bit of beacon humor there…
Anyway, our month-long celebration here on our blog of Kontakt.io’s sixth anniversary comes to a close with this list of six things Card Tags can do to make businesses more productive, efficient and secure.
1 – Grant and control access
We’ll start with an easy one here. Badges can be programmed to authorize the holder to enter different areas of a workplace or other facility by disabling electronic door locks. This is commonly used as a way to grant access to all employees to the main entrance of a workplace but the same principle can be reconfigured to work with internal doors as well. For example, the cards can be used in a way that only grants certain people access to certain areas, which can be very useful for security purposes in sensitive environments.
This has particular relevance to facilities that welcome large numbers of visitors, vendors or others who will be on site temporarily. With Card Tags, they can be issued a card that will only give them access to limited, approved areas and keep them in areas where they are meant to be. As with anyone using a Card Tag CT18-3, their exact movements are tracked and recorded, along with the precise times when the card they were given was used. And speaking of recording times…
2 – Use the most accurate and reliable time clock possible
When card holders open doors and move from area to area, those actions are recorded and that data is easily stored and managed. In addition to everything else they can do, badges make the perfect mobile time card to electronically punch in and out at work. Doing so doesn’t even have to be tied to completing an action, like opening a door. Simply being within range of a sensor is enough to register that card holder as being on site.
This function alone is the basis for many customer use cases since it eliminates the inefficient and often inaccurate conventional way of managing employee attendance records. With cards, there’s no more forgetting to clock in or out and hours worked by a particular employee, shift or department can be precisely calculated at any time. This is not only useful for calculating costs and guarding against excessive overtime, but also as documentation for compliance measures regarding workplace and employee safety.
3 – Restrict access, enhance safety and security
This is more than just the inverse of the first item in this list. Using cards to regulate which areas of a facility can be accessed by whom and under what conditions is fundamental to a number of workplace safety and security considerations.
Let’s cover safety first. Factories, hospitals or other operations with potentially hazardous environments can use Card Tag to restrict access to those areas to employees on an approved list. Only those who are trained, equipped or otherwise permitted to enter a room or area can do so. There’s no need to worry about unauthorized access unless someone’s card is used improperly. As with other operations, every entrance and exit is recorded and time-stamped. In the event of an accident, full documentation of who was where and when will be available.
Security is another concern for facilities with, for example, sensitive data, expensive inventory or other assets requiring an additional layer of safekeeping. The same principle of restricting access applies here as well. Cards allow you to control who can enter areas where security is a concern. Again, full documentation is always available should it be necessary to reconstruct the flow of employees into and out of a particular room or point in the building.
In both cases, safety and security, access can be granted or revoked remotely and instantly, without the need to physically handle a particular card.
4 – Panic buttons
We’ve written before about tools that you hope you never need but are still “musts” in large facilities. One of them is a feature that can be added to Card Tag—a button that sends out a signal, which effectively acts as a “panic” button in many contexts.
This use case has obvious utility in many settings but the healthcare and hospitality industries in particular have recognized the value of being able to call for help from often remote or isolated locations. Panic buttons can save valuable time when every second counts and other forms of communication aren’t available or accessible. With panic buttons, there’s no need to find, for example, some internal telecommunications device, call the right number and explain the situation and location of the issue.
When a panic button is activated, the identity of the card holder and his or her location is recognized immediately. An alert is sent to the appropriate authority and the rescue/help mission is set in motion. The button’s utility lies in the speed and ease with which people in distress, or people helping someone in distress, can call for help—just press the button and that’s it.
Again, it’s a feature that you hope you don’t need but you absolutely want it in the kind of desperate moments that you just can’t plan for.
5 – Real-time visitor/people management flow
Try looking down on a factory floor or museum space and count the number of people there. Now, follow their movements and keep an eye on new people who join them. How many can you track? Can you even make it to double digits?
RTLS (Real-time locating systems) using Card Tags can. In fact, they can handle a lot more than double digits. The total number of people in an area, their movements and concentrations—information that can be relevant and useful to many use cases and contexts.
Managing visitor or people flow can be an important part of the customer experience or, more importantly, employee safety. It can also help in the full utilization of spatial capacity and, in turn, more efficient use of resources.
Let’s say that, for safety reasons, you can only have a certain number of people in a given area at once. Card tags are the solution—they can alert you when that maximum is reached. Or maybe you want to remotely check the level of crowding in part of a facility that you can’t see from where you are. Again, card tags deliver answers.
Historical data can be analyzed to tell you which parts of a facility are over- or under-utilized and identify bottlenecks in the flow of people, visitors or employees. When you can see a digital representation of real-world traffic, it’s easier to make the often minor adjustments that help to even out the flow.
6 – Employee / visitor / asset location
This one might be obvious after everything else we’ve covered here but this basic application of tracking abilities made possible by wearable tags and badges is still, by itself, enough to make them worthwhile. Isn’t the ability to instantly locate anyone with a badge one of the clearest business benefits imaginable? In large facilities especially, it’s a huge time and resource saver. No need to tie up Person A with the task of finding Person B when Person C can just check the RTLS interface and get an instant answer.
But here’s where this last entry on the list goes beyond the previous five. Until now, we’ve focused on tracking and managing people, but the same wearable badges that make that possible can also be affixed to assets, like machines, tools and other elements in a manufacturing process or inventory.
Think of the downtime avoided by being able to instantly locate an asset that has been misplaced or not returned to its proper station. No need to manually search for it when you can access its location as easily as looking something up online. The digital twin of individual units of product, pallets in shipment or anything else with a tag attached to it can be seen in virtual space and its physical world counterpart located in seconds.
Imagine the impact on your bottom line when you spend a tiny fraction of the time usually required to locate all the moving parts of a complex manufacturing, warehousing or production facility.
Now you can see how something the size of your driver’s license can play a key role in so many aspects of the operation of a huge range of business environments. If you think card tags might be something than can transform some aspect of your own operations but you’re not sure how to get started, contact use here.