Magazine Article | July 13, 2007

Remote Management Improves Asset Tracking System Uptime

Source: Field Technologies Magazine
Integrated Solutions, May 2007

MedStar Health is a $2.7 billion nonprofit healthcare organization and a community-based network of seven hospitals and other healthcare services in the Baltimore-Washington region. With the help of integrator New England Networking, MedStar recently implemented an active RFID (radio frequency identification) system from Parco Wireless to accurately locate people, equipment, and objects in one of its hospitals. The system is designed to track hospital assets, curb excess expenditures, increase safety, and ensure security and access control by placing small RFID tags on people and objects. The Parco system is deployed throughout the facility's 16-acre campus, and it reports the location of the tags in real time through a dimensional network of RFID readers, wireless servers, and communications networks. System administrators needed a method to quickly and efficiently manage the system remotely to ensure maximum uptime and service reliability. "We needed the capability to monitor, and on occasion, reboot our equipment in locked data closets in a secure environment," says Scott Cohen, CEO of Parco Wireless.

Working with Parco and New England Networking, MedStar implemented a remote management system from Dataprobe. The solution is composed of 40 iBoot units, which are remote power solutions designed to remotely monitor, manage, and control computing devices and other electronic equipment. A single-outlet power switch, the iBoot allows remote equipment to be rebooted or power-controlled over an IP (Internet Protocol) network using an Internet browser. Its unique autodetection capability identifies failures in any connected system by monitoring IP devices on the network. If programmed, iBoot can then perform a timed reboot or other power-controlled function automatically whenever the device fails. iBoot can also be directly activated by other network management systems.

Peter Strome, president of New England Networking and project manager for the Parco Wireless RFID project, views the iBoot as an intelligent and inexpensive solution for keeping systems up and running for any mission-critical environment. "Sending a technician out in the middle of the night on a service call to the facility is very expensive," explains Strome. "Labor and related travel costs can easily add up, and with the time it takes to dispatch a technician to the site and resolve the issue, the facility's equipment and patients are vulnerable while the systems are offline."