Tenna Brings IoT, RFID to Industrial Asset Tracking

The company, formerly known as BuildSourced, aims to provide a single platform for all asset tracking on civil construction or other sites, to manage everything from a screwdriver to a crane, as well as personnel.
By Claire Swedberg

The company's goal, Conti says, "is to take the challenge out of delivering construction projects on time and cost-effectively," with the technology that helps them manage the materials that they need and that the bill for, both onsite and off. Several construction firms are currently piloting the technology by tracking tagged items as they pass through gates at the entrance and exit of their worksites, as well as monitoring the real-time locations of items within parts of the sites.

Approximately 70 percent of Tenna's existing customers have expressed an interest in upgrading their solution to include the RFID and other IoT-based data. Most are construction companies; however, the solution is also designed for the oil and gas, manufacturing and agricultural markets.

For each project, Tenna works with the customer to design a system that suits their specific requirements, which can consist of a variety of technologies. For instance, passive RFID tags can enable the tracking of goods through gates or being interrogated via a handheld reader, while the Asset Tracker provides more real-time data as well as sensor data.

Tenna's Austin Conti
First, the company reports, a passive RFID tag can be attached to anything from a screwdriver to a crane. Fixed readers and antennas could then be attached at entrances and exits. Each time an item passes the reader, the unique ID number of that object is captured and forwarded to the Tenna software, thereby indicating that it has entered or left a specific site.

If items are being inspected or maintained, their tags could be read using a handheld interrogator. Users would simply read each tag, enter such data as what service they are conducting, take a picture of the item if needed, input details about its condition, and pair that information with the location via the user's GPS data on his or her handheld reader. The system can also include RFID-enabled badges that workers wear, which can be read to update their own location or status with specific inventory. This, for instance, would enable workers to borrow specific tools or equipment and be linked to those items as they were being used.

The software can not only store and analyze data about where the items are located, but also track how long an asset has been in use, based on its location or status. This can help to automate the scheduling of maintenance or inspection. In addition, the system can track whether an item has been properly inspected and alert a worker in the event that he or she sread the tag of an item requiring inspection prior to reuse.

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