As Director of Technology at Midwest Security Systems in Omaha, Nebraska, I’m always on the lookout for new products and solutions that can enhance our video surveillance offering to customers.
As a family-owned and operated security systems integrator, Midwest Security Systems’ goal is to deliver reliable and innovative asset protection and access control services. To that end, I try to stay on top of technology trends so that we’re always offering state-of-the-art security products and solutions.
Every so often, I come across a product or feature that really impresses me, and that was certainly the case with March Networks’ Searchlight-RFID solution.
We first saw the Searchlight-RFID solution at the ASIS Seminar and Exhibits last year in Orlando, Florida. We knew almost immediately it was something we wanted to offer to our customers.
Watching the demo, and seeing how items could be tracked from one location to another, was a pretty exciting moment. The solution, which combines surveillance video with data from Zebra Technologies RFID readers, would allow our customers to search for RFID-tagged items more quickly and efficiently. They’d simply enter a product type, serial number or Electronic Product Code (EPC) into their software, and then click to access video showing when and how that tagged item entered or left their location.
Because Midwest Security Systems is a longtime March Networks certified partner, we were familiar with Searchlight’s loss prevention and business intelligence capabilities, but integrating RFID data into the software was totally new.
We reached out to Jeff Corrall, March Networks’ Integrations Business Development Manager, to learn more.
Becoming a Zebra Technologies Partner
If you don’t know a lot about RFID, it can be an intimidating subject. There’s a lot of information out there, and many different types of RFID applications.
Because we really wanted to maximize the opportunity we had to offer Searchlight-RFID, we decided to sign on as a partner with Zebra Technologies and learn more. We flew to one of Zebra’s locations in Rockville, Maryland, and participated in an intense, two-day training course.
It was a comprehensive program with a lot of detailed technical information. In the end, it left us feeling very well equipped to implement the Searchlight-RFID solution.
‘Follow the trail’
Prior to our certification, we had learned that one of our biggest customers – a bank with multiple locations – was interested in using RFID technology, but they had questions about how to leverage the data.
This particular customer had been using March Networks cameras and recorders for some time, and they loved the products. Because we were now Zebra-certified, we initiated a new discussion with them on how they could integrate RFID data with their video using the Searchlight-RFID solution. They were very interested in learning more.
They had recently had some expensive items go missing, and they wanted to use the solution for asset tracking.
They’re now using Searchlight and RFID-tagged access cards to identify employees as they enter and exit the buildings, and they’ve also tagged laptop bags and some of their storage room equipment.
Thus far, they’ve been very happy with the results. Using the solution, they can see exactly where these items travelled. Because it’s integrated with their video surveillance, it gives them that added piece of verification. They can pull up the video and follow the trail. Their investigations are exceptionally quick. Going forward, they plan to add RFID tags to other items, like some expensive paintings.
For as much as it does, Searchlight is surprisingly easy to use. You’d expect it to be hard, but it’s not, and that’s another great feature of this solution.
‘A strong selling point’
Offering March Networks’ Searchlight-RFID solution is a big differentiator for our business.
Anybody can offer video, but combining it with RFID data is unique, and a strong selling point for Midwest Security Systems. It allows us to access a lot of verticals that we weren’t considering before, like manufacturing.
With Searchlight-RFID, we can present a solution that solves a lot of problems, from loss prevention and asset protection to access control and inventory management. It’s a solution that the customer really can’t get anywhere else.
Andrew Montgomery is Director of Technology at Midwest Security Systems in Omaha, Nebraska. Visit https://midwestsecurityomaha.com/ for more information.