Posted on 21 March 2013 | No responses
OSS operates across the UK and provides the most practical, cost effective and environmentally responsible solutions for the safe collection and recycling of waste oil and other hazardous wastes with ZERO landfill.
OSS drivers are individually directed to garage and trade customer sites to collect waste oil and other potentially hazardous waste products, which are then taken to be recycled or disposed of safely. Each driver is directed to the client site and provided with a list of materials to be collected. Used oil, oily rags and bulk materials are collected and the driver obtains a signature from the client confirming its collection.
The information captured is transferred through the mobile data network to Codegate’s gateway middleware product, which then completes the transfer of the data into the OSS central system. The key to the system’s success has been Codegate’s ability to provide a complete end-to-end system. This has ensured detailed information, in the form of client account details, is taken from the OSS central system and transferred to the drivers’ hand-held device. Once data is captured at the client site, the completed transaction data is automatically returned to update the OSS system.
Posted on 21 March 2013 | No responses
21kms of new rail tunnels are being dug underneath London, through which the Crossrail trains will operate. Around 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year and the route will provide a 10% increase to rail capacity in the capital. Eight giant tunnelling boring machines, or TBMs, are being used to construct the new tunnels. Each 1000 tonne machine is weaving its way between existing underground lines, sewers, utility tunnels and building foundations from station to station at depths of up to 40m. Teams of dedicated construction workers are working 24 hours a day to complete the tunnels for Europe’s largest civil engineering project.
A huge amount of materials is being excavated from the tunnels dug by Crossrail – averaging over 1,250 loads per month. Over the full length of the project, around 4.5 million tonnes of material will be used to create a landmark conservation scheme, for the construction of a nature reserve at Wallasea Island, eight miles north of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. It will home tens of thousands of migratory birds and combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding. The island is owned by the RSPB.
A fleet of trucks is moving the excavated material from the tunnels to a waste docklands transfer site (DTS) in east London, on the bank of the Thames. The trucks deposit their loads at the DTS, from where the materials are put onto barges. The barges offload the excavated material at a jetty at Wallasea Island, on the Essex coast, to build the new 1,500 acre nature reserve.
When planning this project, Crossrail noted that problems might arise with potential congestion in the transport of the materials across Central London to the waste transfer facility. They also wanted to be sure that the material that came out of the ground was what was being delivered to the DTS. They were concerned that safe, clean material might be exchanged for contaminated material that needed to be disposed of. What would stop a truck driver accepting a few hundred pounds in return for dumping his clean load and picking up someone else’s material that may be contaminated? Neither Crossrail nor the RSPB want to build the nature reserve from material that might be contaminated or that could damage the health of the birds.
To address both the congestion and integrity of the loads transported, Codegate created a web based planning system to regulate the hourly loads. This information is passed by the mobile data network to the Motorola MC-75 mobile device at each work site. As each load is dispatched to the DTS a time and date stamp record is captured along with its weight and an image of the vehicles registration plate. A summary transit note is then produced via the mobile Zebra printer which is given to the driver of each lorry leaving the construction site. When the load arrives at the DTS an automatic number plate recognition system checks if the load is expected; if it is the barrier is raised, the vehicle is automatically weighed and a digital image of the load is captured. The weighbridge operator is alerted to discrepancies in the transit time or load variations. In addition the Codegate software randomly selects loads to be chemically tested for compliance.
The data from the mobile device and the DTS data are combined centrally on a cloud based facility to produce an Environment Agency approved Waste Transfer Note. The system works, because so far only one lorry load of material has been turned away. The lorry took two hours longer than expected to reach the depot. The guard compared the images and saw completely a different load that had left the construction site. The load was put into quarantine and the transport company was asked to collect it and deal with it.
The system is minimising traffic congestion in Central London and helping to prevent contaminated soil being used at Wallasea Island bird sanctuary. Click here to read more about the project on the RSPB website.
Posted on 21 March 2013 | No responses
Speedy engineers travel the length and breadth of the country, testing and certificating client lifting equipment and electrical assets – otherwise known as Portable Appliance Testing (PAT). Their jobs are made easier by a project set up with Codegate. Each engineer has been issued with a hand-held device which contains details of the equipment to be serviced and the schedule of previous maintenance of the equipment. This means that when engineers arrive on a construction site, they know exactly which pieces of equipment they are there to look at and what they need test. They have all the information to hand, to help them complete their work quickly and efficiently, ensuring the safety of the equipment and the workers using it.
This is one of the most involved projects that Codegate has ever worked on. The Speedy database contains information on thousands of different pieces of client equipment, all of which have different test requirements. The system can tell the engineers what certification is required for the equipment to maintain its specification and when it was last tested. With the help of the hand-held device, the engineer knows what to look for when performing a portable appliance test.
Each of the 40+ Speedy engineers has a Motorola MC-55, a hand-held device onto which information on the equipment to be tested is downloaded through the mobile data network. The client specific schedule of equipment to be tested is downloaded to the database which tells the engineers what pieces of equipment they will be working on.
On completion of the tests, the information captured by the engineer is uploaded to a central web portal where test certificates can be viewed and downloaded by the client. With Codegate’s help, the Speedy engineers can do their work much more quickly and efficiently. If you’re interested in this type of system, take a look here.
Posted on 11 June 2012 | No responses
Way back in June last year I reported the launch of a joint venture between “Everything everywhere” and Vodafone which would “deliver the technology required for speedy adoption of mobile wallet and payments”, click here to see the article.
As regular readers will know, Near Field Communications (NFC) is a radio frequency based method of automatic identification that has been widely tipped as the technology of choice for the electronic wallet. Incorporated within your mobile phone, NFC technology would allow you to pay for goods in-store by waving your mobile over a suitably equipped electronic point of sale terminal.
Many mobile phone manufacturers are incorporating NFC chips within their latest products and, also a year ago, Google launched its Google Wallet mobile application to facilitate consumer payments at the checkout.
But, continuing our recent theme of Has RFID come of age?, last week saw an alternative to NFC as the checkout technology of choice.
The on-line payment giant has joined the mobile payment arena with its’ own application for both iPhone and Android devices, but the difference is the PayPal application generates barcodes, not NFC communications. Click the above link to the PayPal video to see how it works.
PayPal’s clever choice of barcodes, uniquely generated for each consumer transaction and displayed on the purchaser’s mobile phone, enables the retailer to participate without additional hardware investment – every retailer (with the notable exception of fast food emporiums) already has barcode reading capability in each store. Instead of purchasing an NFC transponder for each point of sale terminal, the retailer needs only to make a software change recognising the barcode and to establish his PayPal account.
Codegate’s Technical Director Rafe Aldridge, cautions that many retailers use single dimension laser scanners that in his experience will not read a barcode from a mobile phone screen. The PayPal video suggests that if the barcode cannot be read electronically the unique number can be manually keyed-in by store staff. While a retrograde step, this does offer a failsafe backup option, albeit prone to human error.
The electronic wallet application, as proposed by Google Wallet and others, provides a simple and secure way of paying for goods in store, but as the last year has shown it’s yet to gather sufficient momentum to warrant retailers investing in the additional hardware necessary to persuade consumers to adopt the system.
PayPal should be congratulated for creating an interim step. Its’ application should enable consumers to evaluate the concept of using their mobile phones to pay for goods, before the retailers have invested in the NFC transponders needed to facilitate, what may ultimately be, the preferred solution.
This week sees the start of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco and some rumours suggest Apple will launch an alternative system to NFC powered electronic wallets. It’s speculated that Apple will launch an “iWallet” application for its existing iPhone smartphones using the Bluetooth 4 radio capability installed in existing iPhone 4S smartphone and iPad products. If true, this is likely to disrupt the ePos industry, rendering many retail “Pay here” counters unnecessary.
Do you think barcodes will be more acceptable to consumers as a mobile phone payment mechanism, will the rumours of Apple’s entry to the market prove groundless and if so, should we all wait for NFC? I’d like to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment below. Of course, if you’d like to discuss a possible mobile computer solution for deployment in your business, drop me an email or call the office on +44 (0)845 345 0808.
Posted on 29 April 2012 | No responses
Last month my colleague Graham Fenton asked “Has RFID finally come of age?” he concluded it had, and promised more details on our Asset tracking project that proved the point.
Codegate has taken the concept of the supermarket self-service check out and, using RFID technology instead of retail barcodes, applied it to the issue and control of capital assets. Using this system, designed in conjunction with Speedy Hire PLC (Speedy Services), power tools can be issued to workmen, firearms logged out to Police Officers, equipment hired to customers or Firemen can be issued with tools – all from an unmanned store.
How does it work?
Firstly, all the items, or tools, or assets, or consumables, are stored in a secure area or container. This store could be of almost any size from a standard shipping container, a retail shop, or a warehouse with hundreds or thousands of items in stock. All the items are tagged with an RFID tag and the entry door to the storage area is replaced by the secure entry portal called ePod™. Each authorised user is issued with an RFID key that gives them access to the store and, once through the secure portal, they can select which piece(s) of equipment they want.
Having collected everything they need they leave through the same entry door where the RFID tags on the equipment are automatically read, logged and assigned to the individual user. This information is then forwarded electronically to the supplier’s back-office billing system and, if appropriate, forms part of their normal monthly invoicing – automatically. You can read all about how Speedy Services use the system here.
Where could this be used?
The example detailed in the above link to a recent press release is Speedy Services using ePod™ to automatically issue tools and equipment from a standard shipping container situated on a building site. Equipment is hired out to authorised individuals on an “as needed” basis. The workmen can take out exactly what’s needed for just the amount of time needed, without having to spend time going to the hire shop or wasting time when returning the goods.
The user saves money by only incurring cost when the hired item is in use, and Speedy Services gain significant customer loyalty through having a Speedy Services branch, physically on the construction site, without the staffing cost. Faulty or damaged goods are placed in a “Returns” cupboard and the ePod™ automatically alerts Speedy engineers of the make, model and serial number of the faulty device. An engineer is then scheduled to collect or repair the item. Customer invoice queries are dramatically reduced because invoicing is accurate and detailed.
As well as the tool hire market the ePod™ could be used by…
Police to issue firearms, ensuring only authorised officers are taking firearms they’ve been trained to use with appropriate munitions and quantities.
Fire service to ensure equipment is issued to suitably trained officers while tracking how many hours each item is in use, maintaining insurance and keeping up with maintenance schedules.
Mobile engineers, to take out battery-powered equipment from regularly maintained charging bays, recording battery cycle statistics and warranty information.
Computer engineers, taking replacement equipment from a central store to ensure their user is back up and running quickly.
Film studios issuing lighting units, scenery or props to film crews for use on set.
Manufacturing, for the issue of expensive tools where calibration and work hours or use cycles need to be monitored.
Do you think RFID has come of age? If so I’m interested in your thoughts, leave a comment below. Of course, if you’d like to discuss a possible mobile computer soultion for deployment in your business, drop me an email or call the office on +44 (0)845 345 0808.
Posted on 29 March 2012 | No responses
2012 is turning out to be an exciting year for Codegate with the first three months seeing some important contract wins and intriguing project developments, one of which has been recognised by Motorola Solutions as the ‘Most Innovative Mobility Solution’.
Most Innovative Mobility Solution award, from left to right:
Richard Hudson, MSSI Vice President Motorola Solutions, Rene Schrama, Regional Channel Manager Northern Europe Motorola Solutions, Ian Quint, Sales Director Codegate Ltd,
Phil Jefferson, UK & Ireland Sales Director Motorola Solutions.
Motorola Solutions Inc (MSI) is a leading provider of mission-critical communication solutions and services for enterprise and government customers and is the world’s largest manufacturer of rugged hand-held computers used in the automatic identification market (Auto-ID).
By way of background, what is now called Motorola Solutions was split from the consumer electronic giant Motorola in January 2011. Its involvement in the Auto-ID industry started with the purchase of Symbol Technologies in January 2007. Symbol Technologies first became involved with rugged hand-held computers through its purchase of what was then the largest manufacturer, coincidentally called MSI, in 1989. It is ironic; MSI was purchased by Symbol Technologies which was bought by Motorola, which split out its Auto-ID and communications division to become Motorola Solutions Inc., MSI.
The award was presented to Codegate’s Sales Director Ian Quint at the MSI Channel Power Roadshow 2012 held at the Hilton Coventry Hotel earlier this month, by MSI’s Regional Channel Manager for Northern Europe, Rene Schrama. He commented, “Codegate’s expertise in building out solutions is second to none. With close support of our account team, Codegate built what we believe to be an industry first, namely a RFID portal for remote container storage for plant hire equipment. We anticipate being able to replicate this many times over with Codegate’s enthusiastic team. As such they are the worthy winner of the Most Innovate Solution Award.”
The award reflected the innovative design and utilisation of MSI’s RFID technology within an unmanned equipment or asset store, enabling users to self issue items with the system automatically tracking when, and to whom, equipment has been issued. Launching in April this system will initially be used to provide an unmanned tool hire facility at major construction sites, offering greater convenience and equipment availability to users whilst reducing the down time, travelling costs and uncertainty of relying on local providers. The brain of the system is a ‘Control Module’ developed by Codegate using Windows Embedded technology. Full details of the product will appear on the Codegate website in April
Codegate are thrilled to receive this prestigious award recognising, as it does, the considerable contribution made by its design and software development teams to an innovative new paradigm in equipment or asset management.
Do you have a need to automatically track equipment or assets issued to individuals? If you do, I’m interested in your thoughts on how it can best be achieved, please let me know by leaving a comment below. Of course, if you’d like to discuss a possible mobile computer solution for deployment in your business, drop me an email or call the office on +44 (0)845 345 0808.
Posted on 9 March 2012 | No responses
After many false starts RFID is beginning to fulfil its true potential. That’s a bold statement, so what has changed? Why is Codegate making greater use of this ever-promising technology and why now?
Guest writer – Graham Fenton
First of all the scope needs to be narrowed. There are many variants of RFID operating in different frequency bands from 120Khz to 10GHz. I’m referring to UHF (866 – 868 MHz in Europe). Whilst Near Field Communications (NFC) is also really catching on and is used by Codegate it has been discussed in a previous post.
It’s interesting to see how articles on RFID have changed over the years. Here are a some examples:
April 2004: What is the RFID hype all about?
September 2004: Users resist RFID hype
April 2005: The role of RFID in the mobile phone
October 2007: RFID: Over hyped and over here
March 2009: Has RFID hype helped or hurt user adoption?
September 2010: Is RFID Heyday just around the corner?
May 2010: The evolving business of RFID
Dec 2010: Is RFID dead? Should it be?
February 2011: Is RFID in apparel finally coming of age?
September 2011: The promise and problems of radio frequency identification
March 2012: RFID looks better without the hype
What’s clear is RFID was over-hyped by the press and over-estimated by market analysts. Many businesses invested heavily only to find themselves at the bleeding edge of a technology that didn’t live up to expectation. However a glance at the more recent articles shows strong signs that a tipping point has been reached and RFID is paying its way and gaining wider acceptance. Why now?
Codegate always adopted a prudent approach to RFID projects, only using the technology when bar codes wouldn’t work, when risk was low and it was cost effective to deliver a proof of concept. For fifteen years we have seen the RFID market slowly develop. In the UHF space some important factors have recently coincided to make the commercial argument for using this technology more attractive:
It’s over seven years since the unifying ‘Gen 2’ standard was ratified, but now it is effective and manufacturer interoperability is a reality. The proprietary nature of hardware that stunted RFID market growth is becoming a thing of the past.
Similarly the GS1 (formerly Article Numbering) organisation introduced RFID into standards for global item level tracking that can be applied beyond the traditional retail supply chain. Codegate is a member of GS1 and has adopted the standards. For example we apply the Global Individual Asset Identifier standards (GIAI-96 and GIAI-202) to asset tags, making it easier to trace equipment back to suppliers or owners irrespective of what tracking system they are part of. Take the example of a large complex construction site – traceability and accountability of tools and plant becomes much easier, leading to less waste and shrinkage.
Putting aside the argument over whether HF or UHF is best for item tracking, in UHF world the development of ‘on metal’ and ‘in metal’ tags has taken away one major issue, the ability to track metallic items. Indeed some of the newer tags work perfectly well both on and off metal.
Next add in the performance improvements of the latest generation readers and tags, the cost reductions coming through as worldwide demand has increased and you can begin to see the historic barriers to deploying an RFID solution are now crumbling.
Codegate is now expanding the use of RFID within its product range. Our on-site event registration system can now print UHF RFID passes and track delegates unobtrusively through any number of entrances. Visitors to the BAPCO event in April will be able to see it in operation. The same system can track the attendance of visitors to a specific stand, recording what they looked at and for how long. This can be seen in action on the Codegate stand A2. This technology is now commercially viable for event management because of the falling cost of ID cards. We’re finding UHF tags are significantly better than HF for document tracking to the point where it’s viable to track individual documents rather than folders. One of our item tracking projects is a finalist in the RFID Live Awards 2012 – more details will appear here soon. At BAPCO we will be featuring Motorola fixed and mobile readers and demonstrating how RFID can help improve asset management and safety for Police, Fire and Health services. RFID is a technology that Codegate is now building into new solutions with confidence. RFID has come of age.
Posted on 4 January 2012 | No responses
From everyone at Codegate may we wish you and yours a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year.
If the pundits are to be believed 2012 will see the full effect of government cut backs, tax increases and higher commodity prices taking money away from the pockets of the consumer. At least inflation is predicted to slow from its current high of nearly 5% to nearer the Bank of England target of 2% within twelve months, giving the consumer a little respite. So how do you prepare your business for the worst?
Obviously it will be essential to minimise overheads without sacrificing efficiency, and to maximise the return on every GB£ invested, but how?
If some of your workforces are mobile, performing customer visits or maintaining plant ‘in the field’, or are employed in the supply chain, or in logistics, Codegate can help. Our unique software and hardware solutions enable our customers to beat the competition by:
- Minimising invoice disputes through open and transparent business transactions
- Avoid Service Level Agreement penalties by providing undisputable evidence of compliance
- Providing on-line transaction history and viewing of progress, minimising return visits
- Increase efficiency by reducing the employee’s administration overhead, allowing more visits per man/day
- Reduce mobile inventory by showing what stock is available and where
- Minimise employment costs through “where’s my nearest…” web portal view of staff availability
- Ensuring employee protection by including “lone worker” reporting concepts
- Minimising your corporate carbon footprint by integrating navigation and optimising routing instructions
- Providing evidence of corporate compliance with Health & Safety and Working Time Directives
As you can see this isn’t just about saving money, it’s about creating and maximising profit at a time when profit will be hard to come by. By enabling your staff to become “trusted experts” with their customers, loyalty is increased, making it more difficult for the “cheapest price” competitor to match your add value proposition. As a result, you win more competitive bids, increasing profits.
Imagine increasing your market share while your competitors contract, staying profitable while they make losses, expanding – against the trend. For sixteen years, companies employing mobile workforces to ensure they can monitor and measure field operations, enabling managers to maximise efficiency and minimise costs to give a better bottom line, have used Codegate’s software. That’s what makes our customers talk about us the way they do, but don’t take my word for it, read their words here.
Do you have a better plan for beating the competition and maximising your return in what may be the second dip of a recession? If you have I’m interested in your thoughts, leave a comment below. Of course, if you’d like to discuss a possible mobile computer soultion for deployment in your business, drop me an email or call the office on +44 (0)845 345 0808.
Posted on 7 November 2011 | No responses
I know the clever, organised ones amongst you will have already purchased and wrapped all your loved ones gifts for the coming festive season, but some of us haven’t been quite so ‘on the ball’. Fortunately for us there are many on-line retailers able to supply gifts right up to the eve of Christmas Eve.
Which gets me thinking about just how these last minute orders are fulfilled, or more specifically how many times a package’s barcode label is ‘read’ from the time it’s applied to the time we take delivery. We’re all familiar with the courier’s consignment number being scanned when it finally arrives at our door, but have you considered how many barcodes are scanned as a result of your one product purchase? Let’s have a closer look! Read more
Posted on 20 October 2011 | No responses
You’d have to be living on another planet to miss the launch of Apple’s latest iPhone the 4S, but have you spotted ‘Siri’ the personal assistant and voice recognition application? This is, in my opinion, the most exciting development to hit computing since the microchip!
All the demonstrations I’ve seen ask Siri ‘What’s the weather like today?” or “Will I need an umbrella today?” Then they add as an after thought, “in San Francisco?” and miraculously Siri returns with the spoken response “You’ll need your umbrella today in San Francisco.”
The demonstrations are clever but whilst Siri is still in beta, it isn’t claimed to be Artificial Intelligence (AI) although it does understand conversational concepts and will link previous requests to the current. It also knows where you are, from GPS co-ordinates and from your diary what your schedule is, so by asking what’s the “Weather like today?” without adding “in [place name]” it can give you the forecast for your current location. Read more