FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Material Readiness?
Material Readiness is the pursuit of a real-time, single source of truth for material availability to decrease project risk and drive craft labor material wait times down to zero.
How is Material Readiness achieved?
The Jovix solution connects supply chain visibility to construction demand to eliminate material availability issues. Jovix serves as a single source of truth for material availability.
What is the history of RFID?
It’s generally said that the history of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and Auto-ID technology can be traced back to World War II. The Germans, Japanese, Americans and British were all using radar—which had been discovered in 1935 by Scottish physicist Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt—to warn of approaching planes while they were still miles away. The problem was there was no way to identify which planes belonged to the enemy and which were a country’s own pilots returning from a mission. The Germans discovered that if pilots rolled their planes as they returned to base, it would change the radio signal reflected back. This crude method alerted the radar crew on the ground that these were German planes and not Allied aircraft (this is, essentially, the first passive RFID system). Since that time, the capabilities of Radio Frequency Identification have expanded exponentially. RFID technology has now been developed to the point where it can provide many types of businesses with precise information regarding the status of their valuable components and products. Such information can be utilized in terms of supply chain management, asset management, inventory control, as well as increasing safety and security. In addition, RFID technology has matured to the point where such systems can be implemented in a scalable and cost-effective manner, therefore ensuring significant return.
What advances have been made in RFID?
The advances in RFID are becoming increasingly prevalent as the price of the technology decreases. Recent developments include increased read ranges and accuracy, better anti-collision techniques, and increased performance in demanding and previously non-ideal environments. Declining hardware and infrastructure costs and greater abilities to integrate systems seamlessly make now a great time to invest in RFID. Additionally, with rapid breakthroughs in active real-time locating systems, both WiFi and non-WiFi based, the ROI from RFID has never been higher, more immediate, and available to more industries. All across the world, Radio Frequency Identification is helping businesses improve their processes and increase their efficiency.
What's the difference between RFID & GPS?
Companies are increasingly leveraging a mix of RFID and GPS technologies to track critical assets that need to be monitored on a near constant basis. Specialized transponders with embedded GPS receivers can transmit their location coordinates via satellite or cellular data links to a central server and made available to web based applications. Some tags like the Geoforce GT1 Global Asset Tracker have an embedded GPS and a passive UHF Gen 2 tag in a rugged housing. The passive tag can be used to read at short distances while entering facilities and the GPS position reporting satellite transponder can provide an update on the asset location when the asset is on the move around the world. Tags can also report their GPS position using cellular data links if the asset is going to be moving around in locations that are covered by existing cellular infrastructure.
What's the difference between RFID & Barcodes?
A question we are asked often: “When is RFID better than barcodes?” RFID is not necessarily better than barcodes. The two are different technologies and have different applications, which sometimes overlap. In many circumstances, RFID offers advantages over traditional barcodes. The big difference between the two is that barcodes are line-of-sight technology. That is, a scanner has to “see” the barcode to read it, which means people usually have to orient the barcode toward a scanner for it to be read. One advantage of RFID is that the technology doesn’t require line of sight. RFID tags can be read as long as they are within range of a reader. Barcodes have other shortcomings as well. If a label is ripped or soiled or has fallen off, there is no way to scan the item, and standard barcodes identify only the manufacturer and product, not the unique item. For example, the barcode on one milk carton is the same as every other, making it impossible to identify which one might pass its expiration date first.
How do RFID & Barcodes relate to the term "Auto-ID"?
Collectively, technologies including active RFID, passive RFID, and barcodes are known as “auto-ID” technologies.
How does an RFID system work?
RFID systems can be broadly classified into active or passive.
In passive RFID, the tags usually don’t have a power source and are made up of a microchip with an antenna. They are interrogated by a passive RFID reader with an antenna. The reader energizes the tag, which wakes up and responds back to the reader.
In active RFID, the tags include a power source – like a battery – and send out beacons at fixed intervals and usually don’t require being energized by a reader. The readers detect these beacons and report it back to a host application for processing. Other types of active RFID tags may either provide information through a cellular network or via satellite.
Will RFID replace Barcodes?
Probably not. Barcodes are inexpensive and effective for certain tasks. It is likely that RFID and barcodes will coexist for many years.
What's the difference between low, high, and ultra-high frequencies?
Just as your radio tunes in to different frequency to hear different channels, RFID tags and readers have to be tuned to the same frequency to communicate. RFID systems use many different frequencies, but generally the most common are low- (around 125 KHz), high- (13.56 MHz) and ultra-high frequency, or UHF (433 MHz, 860-960 MHz). Microwave (2.45 GHz) frequency is used in some applications using Wi-Fi based tags. Radio waves behave differently at different frequency, so you have to choose the right frequency for the right application. The lower frequencies at 13.56 MHz and below are less affected by metal but also have shorter read ranges so they are used generally for proximity applications. The higher frequencies like 433 MHz and 900 MHz usually provide higher read range but are more susceptible to be affected by metal, so tags that are designed for those applications include specialized internal antenna placement and a buffer zone to mitigate interference from metal.
How much information can be stored on an RFID tag?
Passive and active tags have different capabilities from a data storage perspective.
Passive tags usually hold a few KB of data, enough to store some basic information about the item that it is attached to, and they usually function as a “license plate” for identification with associated information stored in a database referencing the ID information.
Active tags include a battery and can store and provide a lot more data, including information from attached sensor devices like humidity, temperature, etc
What's the typical read range for an RFID tag?
For active RFID, it is 50 – 100m. Passive RFID is usually around 10m unless they are specialized tags, or we use higher gain antennas which will enhance the read range.
Will RFID lead to layoffs?
RFID technology is a labor-saving technology, so it’s likely your workers can be reallocated to more productive work – further increasing the productivity of your labor force. The technology will likely create new jobs, just as internet technologies create new jobs, from web developers to warehouse workers managing inventory for online stores such as Amazon.com. The jobs that will be affected by RFID are those that involve scanning barcodes. Most of those jobs also have other components, such as moving products or restocking shelves. Those jobs will not go away because of RFID.
PRIVACY & SECURITY
Do hidden readers or hidden tags violate a Client's privacy?
It is critical to educate all parties on what Jovix is, how it works, and how it affects current processes. We will work alongside your suppliers, clients, etc., to make sure your new processes adhere to policies.
Are there security concerns with tag data while communicating with readers?
The only data stored on a tag is the Auto-ID number itself. Jovix runs on a secure server, and both the software and mobile readers require a secure login and password. Logins and passwords are provided by your IT admins or Atlas RFID admins per your procedures. In order to best comply with your security procedures, we will determine who should have access to Jovix and what functionality they can access. We have deployed our solution on high-security sites (ex: nuclear) and are prepared to comply with steep security standards. With terrorism and other threats an ever-present reality in today’s world, the safety and security of humans, pharmaceuticals, food, and other highly valuable and highly mobile assets is of utmost importance. Consumers and regulators are increasingly demanding more security and accurate information on products as they move around the world. Companies that take a proactive position in using RFID to increase safety and security will help set the standards going forward and be looked upon as leaders in today’s global economy.
What are the global standards and mandates of RFID?
Much progress has been made in the last few years in creating global and industry standards for RFID, thus increasing compatibility and ROI of investments in RFID. Organizations like EPC Global, the US Food and Drug Administration, and others have taken the lead in initiating and organizing standards around their respective industries. Major organizations, most notably Wal-Mart, Target, Albertson’s, Tesco, and the US Department of Defense, have begun issuing mandates demanding that their suppliers become RFID-compliant on all their shipments. There’s a reason why these industry leaders believe RFID is a must-have for the future. You need to be ahead of the curve as well.
Can Jovix be used without RFID?
Jovix is a software solution that can be used as a standalone, without any RFID capabilities at all. Jovix is also “auto-ID agnostic”. It can be used with barcodes, passive RFID, battery-assisted passive RFID, and active RFID.
What is Geo-Contextual Automation?
Jovix utilizes GPS-encoded yards and zones and stores the latitude and longitude of inventory in a reported yard or zone. Yard and zone rules automatically update material status based on their GPS location (e.g., item is in Quarantine because the lat/long indicates it is in that specific zone).
Does the size of the material dictate whether you should using Active, Passive, or Barcodes?
Size of the material could be a factor in deciding what type of RFID technology needs to be employed. For example, it may be rather difficult to attach an active RFID tag to a small but high value material, so you may need to use other methods like barcode or passive RFID tags. But usually the type of material, its value, its replacement lead time, and its storage – combined with the quantity of materials to be tracked – determine the best option.
During our consulting sessions, we will identify all materials you want to track and recommend a tagging strategy. (For example: Barcode all indoor/warehouse items, passive or active tags on all pipe spools, etc.)
Would we Barcode each item and place an Active RFID tag at the pallet level?
Yes, that is very common. You can affiliate as many items with that tag as you need. Jovix uses Transfer Units, which allow you to place one RFID tag on a pallet and associate all the material on that pallet to the single RFID tag. This is a common practice for “Bag & Tag”.
Why not attach RFID tags at the Fabrication Shop?
We allow customers to determine whether to include Suppliers as users in their Jovix instance. Some customers may not see the return on tagging materials at the fab shops, while others cannot imagine life without it.
Does the Jovix mobile software require a network connection?
Jovix is designed to operate in both online and offline mode to support remote locations where wireless networks often are not available.
What is the cost per ID, Reader, Support, Maintenance, and Management?
Where does the Jovix GPS location come from?
The GPS location is captured by a reader (be it handheld, gate reader, vehicle-mounted reader or drone-mounted reader), and the location of the tag is derived relative to the GPS location of the RFID reader using a proprietary algorithm. This is then stored within Jovix for reference.
Can Jovix be used to track commodities?
Jovix is a full Material Readiness solution and can be used to track any type of material, including commodities.
Does Active RFID support real-time material location?
Active RFID can be used for real-time location, but the infrastructure required for implementing real-time location is significantly greater than the infrastructure requirements of near real-time location tracking where the last known recorded location is provided.
How is Vehicle-Mounted data transferred into Jovix?
Vehicle-Mounted Readers (VMRs) can either use wired, wireless, or cellular back-haul to publish tag location information to the Jovix server application. If there is wi-fi available throughout the yard, the VMRs will automatically sync periodically back to the server. Clients can also take the VMR tablet device and plug it into an ethernet connection to take advantage of higher-speed connections.
How big is an RFID tag?
RFID tags come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the type of tag that works best for your project. They can be as small as 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches, or as large as 6.0 x 4.0 x 2.0 inches.
If an RFID tag is damaged, how would you track that piece?
Jovix will prompt you if a tag is broken during the association process. Jovix also provides a report after each sweep to show which RFID tags have not been read.
What is a VMR?
VMR stands for Vehicle Mounted Reader. This is an RFID kit (including a tablet, reader, and antennas, powered by the vehicle) placed on a work truck to scan large yards, thereby updating materials’ locations associated to active or passive RFID tags. VMRs can read thousands of active or passive RFID tags in a short period, depending on the layout of the tagged material and size of the yard.
Does the tablet have a Barcode scanner?
Tablets can scan both barcodes and tags.
IMPLEMENTATION & TRAINING
What is the implementation time for Jovix on a Project?
How many man hours does it take for Training and adoption?
Our virtual training allows users to be assigned specific functionality training for quick, targeted knowledge. Full Jovix Certification can be achieved in roughly 40 hours. Adoption comes at a different rate for each organization, but is assisted by our Customer Success Team. We understand some customers need more time with us on-site for the new processes to “sink in”. Adoption courses and workshops vary by customer; we can provide workshops for several hours or for several days. Bottom line: We are dedicated to helping you manage the new processes until they become second nature.
In your system, are the quality documents for individual pieces of material directly associated via Barcode or RFID via link to a quality database or something similar?
Quality documents can be associated to materials as attachments and are accessible via the Jovix server user interface. Each document can be associated with a unique material ID, which is associated with either a barcode or RFID tag. That means a user could scan an item and see its accommodating document.
When you are receiving the data via spreadsheet exchange (no EDI-Electronic Data Interchange), do you have built-in functionality to allow you to compare newest spreadsheet to prior version and identify deltas?
After each data import, Jovix reports how many line items have been created, modified, or deleted. Jovix shows the current values for each unique field.
Is Jovix compatible with all or only certain Project Management software?
Is the software used to generate the pre-loaded parts list proprietary or user-friendly with the Customer's database?
Parts lists can be loaded into Jovix in multiple ways, depending on your requirements. Many customers load parts lists as BOM line items in the Jovix Work Package workspace. Other customers load associated parts lists as assemblies in Jovix to track split tag materials as individual line items become available from the vendor or expeditors. Jovix can receive information from your current systems. You have the option to manually upload data into Jovix (via Excel or CSV file) or utilize our proprietary API for a custom integration. During a consulting session, we would map out what data you want to pull, how that data should translate into Jovix, and if that data should pull automatically. Jovix is commonly used to enhance data from existing customer systems, ensuring onsite users have what they need in the “language” they need it.
How do you link Mill Test Reports (MTRs) to the tags?
Jovix is purpose-built for industrial construction and is designed to capture all relevant material data, including MTRs and heat numbers, for each material record.
How flexible is Jovix?
Jovix supports a wide variety of work processes and can be tailored to suit your project workflow. Additionally, Jovix supports the use of custom fields to capture any additional data that are required for your project.
Can you provide access to satisfied Clients?
We are happy to provide references individually. Ideally, we want to provide Client references relevant to your role, project type, and project initiatives. Contact us to obtain information for Client referrals.
Want to learn more?
Reach out to schedule a demo.