Visidot announce a cost effective alternative to RFID for multiple asset tracking

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Today a new version of the Visidot(tm) Automatic Identification and Data  Capture (AIDC) system is introduced, an accurate and cost-effective solution for rapid multiple-asset AIDC and asset tracking.

The AIDC system tracks assets that are uniquely labelled with standard 2D Data Matrix barcodes or with Visidot Colorcodes. As assets pass in front of the Visidot Reader, the reader captures hundreds of labels simultaneously and transmits the information to an image processing system, which decodes the data from each label. This asset data is exported to a data management system in XML or other standard formats. Images can be stored in a separate Image Bank. An easy-to-use Site Management System controls the entire process.

The new Visidot release introduces the ability to detect and decode all variations of the Standard(ISO/IEC 16022) Data Matrix 2D barcode quickly and accurately. Support for this standard has been added to the commercially proven Visidot Colorcode currently implemented.

"Today, the Visidot system delivers all the inherent benefits of traditional barcode technology, yet far surpasses it in terms of speed and efficiency of code capture - especially for tracking multiple assets," said Roger Hecker, Product Marketing Manager for Visidot. "In addition, at accuracy levels of near-100% in actual installations, the Visidot solution is both more reliable and more cost-effective than RFID solutions."

This technology is relatively new, to illustrate the industry proven application of the Visidot System and thereby explain the concept some points are provided below.

The Visidot system is field proven in key manufacturing and retail industry applications, including inbound and outbound shipment verification, management of reusable assets and identification of labels from long distances and in a large field of view.

Applications:

* Tracking & Tracing Reusable Assets: IFCO Systems, a leading supplier of reusable plastic containers (RPC's) with more than 260 million rentals per year, was looking for a way to track each of its millions of RPC's throughout its network of over 40 RPC Service Centers and Storage depots all over Europe and North America. The Visidot solution is providing IFCO traceability of labeled crates, real-time views of inventory at depots, views of crate cycle times, accurate records of customer shipments/returns, and the foundation for improving customer request response time.

* Managing Bulky Assets in Manufacturing: Positioning bulky assets in automotive and aerospace manufacturing for traditional barcode scanning is often impractical or even impossible, as is RFID scanning involving metal assets or in metal-heavy environments. The Ford Motor Company successfully installed a Visidot AIDC System at the Ford F150 plant in Dearborn to improve production speed and increase plant efficiency. The Ford plant, which produces Ford F150's, uses a fully automated Build Order system to produce its trucks. With multiple frame types to choose from, the company was looking for the most efficient way to expedite verification of the chassis type as it was being placed onto the production line. In December 2004, the company decided to install the Visidot system at the frame entrance to the plant to identify and verify the correct selection of the chassis type before it reached the conveyor belt inside. The newly installed Visidot reader captures a 2D Data Matrix label affixed to each chassis and confirms, in real-time with Ford's production line controller, that the chassis is correct and can enter the assembly line. Since installation, the system accuracy has been perfect - 100%.

* Shipping Verification: In the retail supply chain field, the Visidot system is implemented to help reduce costly charge-backs from retail customers. The Visidot system enables distributors to verify all of the boxes in each outbound order and to use the stored image from each read as proof of shipment and condition.

The Visidot system components and features include:

* The Visidot Reader consists of a robust processing module and up to four image capture devices. The image capture devices scan assets in a large field of view, such as a full pallet load, and send digital images to the processor, running the Visidot Detect & Decode software. The Detect & Decode software, a set of sophisticated algorithms, detects all of the 2D Data Matrix barcodes or Visidot Colorcodes in the images and decodes them. The decoded data is transferred to the WMS, ERP, EDI or other system via standard data formats such as XML or RS-232. The entire reading process, from image capture to data export of hundreds of codes, takes only a few seconds. The highly accuratedata provides real-time per-asset traceability, verification of outbound/inbound movements and updated inventory data.

* The Visidot Viewer, located at every reading point, provides a visual display of each read and its detections and enables immediate corrective action. For example, by automatically comparing the actual shipments with order data from WMS, OMS and EDI systems, the Viewer enables warehouse personnel to see, in real-time, which items are missing or not supposed to be on a pallet and add or remove items from the shipment.

* Visidot Image Bank Server stores the images and decoded data from all reads at a site and enables quick access for viewing past reads. Having a visual record of each read provides powerful evidence for proof of quantity and condition for every item in every shipment.

* Visidot Site Management System is a centralized management console that configures and monitors all Visidot Readers at a customer facility. With the ability to view recent reads from all readers, configure parameters and monitor performance, the Visidot Site Management System ensures fast corrective actions and optimal system performance.

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