Tech Bytes

Dec. 8, 2003

Managing Assets

For any company, keeping track of inventory or managing assets is essential. In college I worked for a mom and pop-type restaurant. Their version of inventory management was paper and pencil with a clipboard on the shelf, and a permanent marker to write the price paid on each item (every bottle of ketchup, mustard, and can of tomato juice had the price marked on the lid). It certainly wasn't the most efficient system, but they understood the importance of the process and it allowed them to manage the business. Airports, too, need to manage inventory and other assets. Several technology companies are introducing solutions to aid in tracking equipment on the field, for revenue management, as well as for security and safety. Louisville International Airport has awarded a contract to Rannoch Corporation ( for a flight tracking and airport enterprise management system. The system will track all aircraft that are equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) as well as conventional transponder-equipped aircraft. More than 100 aircraft based at the airport are currently equipped with the new technology ADS-B avionics, allowing the aircraft to frequently transmit their position as well as other intent information. The tracking system will be configured to track aircraft operating into and out of other airports in the Greater Louisville area.

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The Massachusetts Port Authority has selected local Airport Auditing & Information Systems LLC to provide an integrated system designed to automatically identify and record every aircraft using Bedford's Hanscom Field. PlaneSight, a system using multiple cameras strategically placed around Hanscom Field's two runways, will capture and process images of aircraft using the airport.

By matching aircraft tail numbers (from the pictures) to a database, the system is designed to reduce administrative burdens by accurately producing comprehensive reports for revenue collection, operational records, and validation of FAA data. Through its automatic billing feature, the integrated system of cameras and software will ensure efficient collection of Massport fees while eliminating the need to record data manually. AAIS is currently working with the Florida Department of Transportation to install the PlaneSight system at the Tallahassee Regional Airport, with the potential of expanding to another 130 locations in Florida.

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The Honeywell Asset Locator, a system that allows building and security managers to pinpoint the location of personnel and other critical assets, is another technology available for similar purpose. Integrated with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology from AXCESS Inc., the Asset Locator allows customers to track the location and status of physical assets and personnel in real-time using AXCESS ActiveTag RFID. The wireless notification system uses an autonomous tag with an embedded battery to track and identify physical assets and people within determined zones throughout facility systems. These zones, created by the placement of palm-sized receivers, facilitate both asset location and access control. Using RFID technology, tags transmit wireless signals to the receivers to provide a central server database with the status and specific location of a tagged asset or person. Asset Locator is part of Honeywell's building automation solution, Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI);