RFID Sentinel – tracking with fixed readers

Hardcat RFID Sentinel Solution

Hardcat RFID sentinel for assets, personnel and equipment tracking solutions help to manage information such as item quantities, personnel assignments/movement and maintenance needs. The purpose of tracking and monitoring systems is to track the movement of physical assets and/or personnel.

The increasing demand for better tracking and management solutions across the different industry sectors is a major factor for the growth of asset and inventory management solutions.

Asset tracking solutions becoming increasingly viable for sub-$1,000 book value assets

RFID asset tracking solutions focus on advancing fixed RFID readers by integrating sensors and other communication technologies, through which users can track their assets and the person moving them. Vendors in the fixed RFID reader market also focus on integrating fixed RFID readers with IoT and big data platforms to identify an object and its location.

RFID solutions give you the asset visibility you need to streamline operations, maximise asset utilisation, and automated asset movement data collection.

RFID asset management


What does Hardcat Sentinel offer?

Hardcat has a hardware layer that communicates with each vendor’s API (Zebra, Alien, Invengo, etc.). Hardcat Sentinel then abstracts the proprietary tag reads into individual RFID reads – just an RFID tag, date, time, and reader location ID.

The application layer considers:

  • Is this an asset tag?
  • Is this a person tag?

Depending on the application mode (Sentinel, Gatekeeper, or Secure Choke Point), the application will:

  • Push asset tags to Hardcat for ‘last seen’ recording; or
  • Bundle a group of asset tags with a person tag to establish a person assignment and asset location move transaction; or
  • Check the credentials of the person carrying the asset and optionally – raise a work order for security to investigate and/or record images/video at the chokepoint.

Our Sentinel architecture can be represented as:


[vendor API]





Our BMS (building management system) platform follows the same pattern for recording IoT telemetry.


How do RFID fixed readers work with containers?

RFID asset tracking systems are a cost-saving organisational tool. Used by large warehouses and operations with expensive and/or mission-critical movable items. With these items travel around a single facility, moving in and out of containers or between multiple locations.

Tracking high-value equipment in and out of container units
Tracking high-value equipment in and out of container units

Simply put, an RFID tag is attached to an item and a record is created in the asset register. This can be performed locally, on a server or in the cloud. The item is then deployed to a location. When the item is subsequently moved, the fixed RFID readers will pick up the item(s) RFID tag(s) and the person when they move out of the container. Signalling movement, Hardcat then records the check-out and creates an audit trail and chain of custody. This process is then recorded again when personnel return item(s) to the container, providing a further audit trail.

Major benefits of RFID sentinel with fixed-readers

Tracking assets automatically with an RFID solution offers two major benefits; automated workflows relating to asset movements and automated asset data collection. You no longer need to manually enter data when issuing and returning or checking in/out moving items.

Fixed RFID readers (mounted on walls, ceilings or doorways) will scan the RFID tags for you. Recording the locations as the items move around, eliminating clerical errors and keeping your asset register up-to-date.

Reach higher efficiency and productivity levels. Gain compliance and provide effective asset utilisation. Integrating your solution will enable the unification of job processes.

Hardcat RFID real-world case studies

Adding further processes such as maintenance management and procurement allows for:

Detailed information about inventory, consumables, assets, parts, tools and equipment items can be used to reduce operational costs. Increasing efficiency, and reducing time and money spent searching for items. Choosing a cloud-hosted RFID asset tracking solution is even better! It keeps all your recorded data secure with simultaneous backups. Utilise an operational budget rather than make a capital purchase. To smooth out the cost of deploying your solution, satisfy budgetary considerations and approval processes.

Hardcat and fixed readers monitoring container contents
Hardcat and fixed readers monitor contents movement in and out of the container.

RFID sentinel asset tracking coverage zones

Deploy fixed readers and antennas to cover entry and exit points within a location and/or container (areas you want to monitor assets within). Ceiling or wall deployment will create a more comprehensive chokepoint/coverage zone for more precise asset movements within a large area. So you can track a tagged asset exit, entry or transition movements between these locations automatically. Add personnel RFID Tags and you can also track the person moving the item.

TIP: Scale your coverage zones. Start with your most important locations, and expand as the proof-of-concept bears fruit. Start with doorway readers and passive RFID tags for a simple “locate, identify or authenticate items tagged within an area”.

Hardcat Consulting

Assets and people movement through doorways with CCTV alerts

Click image for Hardcat RFID Security PDF
Hardcat RFID Security

The deployment and use of RFID technology are growing rapidly across all types of industries. RFID technology is used not only in traditional applications, such as asset and inventory tracking. But also for security in unmanned locations.

When you combine asset tracking with CCTV, you have an automated solution for unmanned high-security areas. This type of solution triggers a CCTV camera. To take photos of persons entering or leaving a location, who does not comply with the requirements of the organisation. This creates a work order containing the photo. As well as RFID tag details of both the asset(s) and the person in question. And routing that information to security automatically for follow-up.

Hardcat Connectivity Diagram 2020
Hardcat Connectivity Diagram

Pilot an RFID sentinel asset tracking solution

How precise must location data be? Do you need to incorporate barcoded assets into your asset register as well? Start small and generate a POC (Proof-Of-Concept) that can be expanded to more complex workflows. Start with one challenge in your organisation or start with tracking high-value portable asset classes/types that may deliver the greatest ROI on your efforts.

Read more: RFID technology and its limitations

How Hardcat and RFID fixed readers work together

How do fixed RFID readers fit into the Hardcat solution landscape? A Hardcat location is mapped to each RFID reader. We can then track the “last known location” of a passive RFID tag. Tracking movement transactions of multiple assets and personnel moving through a reader “field” or “gateway”.

Hardcat’s Sentinel is a very true form of RFID in that the solution handles the identification and location of items. While the back end of the Hardcat® Lebosi® software delivers the capability to manage the lifecycle of assets, tools and equipment. Along with a means to connect (authenticate) and engage with the items.

Hardcat Sentinel is an application that utilises fixed RFID readers positioned at strategic locations indoors or outdoors. The application reads RFID tags moving through doorways or location chokepoints. Automatically checking items and personnel in and out of locations.

RFID Security for People and Assets

Hardcat Sentinel with CCTV is an important deterrent in areas without physical security. RFID readers (installed at prominent entry and exit points) will automatically detect unauthorised assets and people moving in and out of these locations.

Everything you need for RFID sentinel asset tracking

Hardcat supplies everything you need to maximize the benefits of RFID in your organisation. Our team will work with you to choose the correct RFID tags and readers. And the all-important Hardcat software that ties it all together!

Hardcat’s solutions deliver deeper business intelligence. The rich data provides you with the critical insights you need to make decisions. With the data accessible wherever you are. It’s not hard to make the big calls that will optimise your assets and ensure better governance.

Invest in Hardcat RFID asset tracking solutions that align with your future.

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