‘Virtual depot planned in UK

15 April 2008

A UK rental company is to create a mini ‘virtual depot’ on a major UK construction site by the middle of this year, using RFID tagging technology and swipe cards to monitor who takes equipment and at what times from a secure cabin.

Rental software company Touchstone Group is working with the Chelford Group – owner of RFIS Solutions Centre – to provide the technology for an undisclosed rental company client who wants to open a virtual rental depot that will allow rental customers to remove and return small tools and equipment without there being any rental company staff on site.

The swipe cards will identify the user and the RFID tags on the equipment will record when an item is removed or returned. This data will be available in ‘real-time’ to the rental company, said Philip Stride, divisional managing director at Touchstone Group.

Mr Stride told IRN that rental companies were becoming increasingly interested in the benefits of RFID systems, whether for their own depot operations or for applications such as the virtual depot; “For years, rental companies fought on prices”, said Mr Stride, “Now it's service to the customers that is going to differentiate one company from another.”

Touchstone is working on other technologies to offer rental companys, including digital thumb prints.

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