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Electronic tags offer easy way for college to keep track of PCs

warwickshire college logo

warwickshire-collegeWarwickshire College is one of the largest colleges of further and higher education in the UK with seven sites across south Warwickshire and Worcestershire.

With over 18,500 students and 1,700 staff, it had a large number of IT assets across multiple sites. It had also made significant investments to support courses and apprenticeships in technology-led trades and invested in an additional 1,200 PCs for students.

The systems it used to audit IT assets were time consuming and, the College felt, not always accurate. To help improve the control of IT equipment, it decided to introduce electronic tagging and chose CoreRFID to help select and supply the right technology to deliver an IT asset management solution.

“RFID is an ideal tool to help us control assets across our many locations. CoreRFID has been an ideal technology partner, helping us in both selection and implementation.”
– Paul Maddock, Warwickshire College

The challenge: how to manage devices used by 20,000 staff and students

In common with other colleges, Warwickshire College has the twin problems of controlling IT assets used by its staff and those used by students. It also had a large number of items of audio-visual equipment.

The College’s original system for IT assets management was – like those of many other organisations – based on printed labels stuck on to equipment. Serial numbers from labels were transcribed manually to spreadsheets creating a record of what equipment was where in the college.

Inevitably the audit process of checking labels and updating spreadsheets was both time consuming and prone to error, causing unnecessary costs and providing inaccurate information on the whereabouts of assets.

Simplicity of use at heart of new system

CoreRFID proposed a system based on the use of ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID tags attached to the assets. These carry an identity code that can be linked to each specific asset and can be read quickly and accurately by a handheld device such as a mobile phone.

The software application used by Warwickshire College is one of a number of similar solutions developed by CoreRFID. In common with all of our mobile applications, the focus is on simplicity of operation with a minimum of data entry and menu choices needed to achieve the required result. For the Warwickshire College system the user simply has to identify themselves with their initials and the location where assets are being scanned.

The system detects tags in the surrounding area and lists them on the screen of the hand-held device, building up a date/time stamped list of sites, item numbers and the identity of the asset auditor. At the end of each day, or whenever needed, data can be off-loaded as a standard comma separated variable (CSV) file to other systems. The data in this file is then used to update the College’s asset register or to initiate searches for missing equipment as necessary.

The Benefits

The system is designed to achieve:

  • More accurate IT asset management records
  • Reduced administration costs
  • Shorter asset audit time.