AT&T shows RFID solution for schools

Published 13 December 2007

RFID-GPS solution will allow school district to monitor schools buses, but also school equipment, students and teachers, and visitors; it will also help in disaster response

Here is something to cheer about school administrators. AT&T has made available its interoperable radio frequency identification (RFID) and GPS-based mobile resource management (MRM) solutions for the K-12 education segment. AT&T’s RFID application works in conjunction with MRM location-based services which use GPS technology, AT&T’s wireless data network, and specialized hosted and managed applications. These applications allow schools to track school bus locations, monitor their speed and condition while on the road, and report on events within vehicles. The service also allows school districts to save some money by routing their school buses to avoid traffic congestion, thus cutting down on fuel, maintenance, and labor expenses. MRM relays vehicle location, speed, and other data across the AT&T wireless data network and sends it to a secure Web site portal. Both RFID and MRM data are available to designated educators and administrators who have access to a Web browser.

The WiFi-based RFID tags can be placed on ID badges that can be secured to equipment, bracelets, shirt pockets or book bags, and they send a wireless signal to locate, monitor, and report on assets, students, and teachers. Schools may use the AT&T RFID for additional missions:

* Asset tracking. Minimize theft of high-value equipment and assets, including computers, projectors, laptop carts and lab equipment. Also, because many of these assets are mobile, locating them can be difficult in a large school building. Active RFID allows the teachers and staff to locate these assets.

* Daily attendance tracking. Automate the tracking of average daily attendance, as well as notify administrators when students are not in school by importing information in the student-information databases.

* School-visitor tracking. Monitor the location of visitors and even alert school administrators when visitors enter unauthorized areas.

* Disaster response. Provide the location of school staff in the event of a man-made or natural emergency or disaster situation.

In today’s world of K - 12 education, enhanced visibility regarding the location of students, teachers and valuable assets is crucial,” said Bill Hughes, principal analyst for wireless research group, In-Stat. “By introducing mobile technology, such as RFID and MRM, school districts can save time, eliminate unnecessary costs, reduce theft and unnecessary inventory and, most important, enhance student and teacher safety.”