The RSAE Labs Inc. has greatly enhanced its Yard Management Solution (VMS) by infusing new technology called “mist® mesh” to enhance logistics business processes through faster responses based on improved asset visibility. mist ® VMS meets the challenges of global logistics management, and at the same time affords significant cost-savings. Global logistics of the future requires continuous, nearreal – time, global Total Asset Visibility (TAV) of vital supplies, unit equipment and personnel. A global, reliable, mobile, versatile, integrated, wireless Automatic Identification Technology (AIT) network, like that provided by mist® VMS, is essential to attaining the desired endstate of TAV.
A very representative deployment of mist ® VMS is the Army Mobility Asset Tracking System (AMATS). AMATS is an operational application providing a net-centric, enterprise-wide, automatic identification technology (AIT) network that effectively provides continuous contact with Army assets, equipment and supplies throughout the supply chain. Using AMATS, the US Department of Defense (DoD) demonstrated contractor man-hour savings of over $1OM in just seven months at a single site (Camp Arifjan, Kuwait). At the heart of AMATS is mist ® VMS, which includes state-of-the-art information
assurance (IA) compliant, mobile, ad hoc mesh networking capability that routes asset visibility data from a suite of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.15.4-based Automated Identification Technology (AIT) devices (i.e., sensor tags, gateways) operating in a mesh wireless network that:
- Fully encrypts all communications
- Conserves battery power
- Provides GPS location fixes
- Self-forms and self-heals the network (ad hoc structure)
- Incorporates multiple environmental sensors
- Requires no fixed infrastructure
- Allows many-to-one relationships between network nodes (OOO’s) and gateways
The battery-powered AIT often deployed today, called “active radio frequency identification (RFID),” is 1980’s technology that provides visibility of tagged assets only through “sightings” at nodes and choke points where reader-transponders are installed or where soldiers or contractors “walk the line” with handhelds. It is costly, requires extensive manpower to support to install, operate, and maintain, and is notoriously power-inefficient.
mist® VMS breaks the active RFID paradigm, providing IA compliant wireless mesh networks that will support a wide-range of logistics applications and ensure significant cost savings. Like the AMATS installation at Camp Arifjan, mist® VMS can fully enable users with the capability to determine the
location of assets at any time in a depot, storage yard or maintenance area. The primary mist® VMS function is to collect identification and positioning data on a central server for use by logistics personnel. The system includes Fixed Mesh Gateways (FMGs), Managed Asset Tags with Global Positioning System Receivers (MAT-GPS) and a Device Management Center (DMC) server set.
mist® VMS Benefits:
- Increases customer oversight and improves asset accountability
- Eases customer oversight requirement for asset management process
- Improves property accountability – pinpoints item location within 20 ft
- Mitigates property loss and related administrative burden
- Significantly increases asset visibility and improves operational efficiency
- Near real-time-visibility – replaces inaccurate in/out process scanning
- Identifies process friction points and trends
- Enables process analysis – records dwell time of equipment at specific locations
- Provides accurate process and capacity tracking
- Minimizes IT Infrastructure
- Eliminates signpost and fixed readers; eliminates hand-held manpower requirement
- Simple installation provides flexible, adaptive infrastructure
- Immediate Tag Updates
- Tags can be updated remotely without human touch
- Eliminates tag removal
- Reduction in operational cost (e.g., saving $10,047,000 in contractor man-hours in seven months)
- Reduces manpower requirements
- Improves overall program effectiveness
RSAE Labs Inc. has developed and begun deploying mist ® VMS, an information assured, edge network to the internet to provide near-real-time visibility of tagged assets, enabling end-to-end asset visibility and in transit visibility from strategic nodes, through all intermediate nodes, into the last tactical mile in direct support to global operations. Current methods of attaining some level of visibility of assets leave significant gaps throughout the pipeline. Further, these methods are manpower intensive, costly when compared to the benefit they derive, and offer little usability at the management and local-labor level.
Finally, the current battery-powered AIT (active RFID) deployed today is 1980’s industrial age technology that provides only nodal, chokepoint visibility of tagged assets. This current AIT infrastructure is very costly, requires extensive contractor support to install and maintain, and was designed in a closed proprietary architecture (e.g., Savi tags). The mist ® mesh network breaks that mold, providing information-age, information assurance compliant wireless mesh network that will support a wide range of logistics applications and save significant money. The mist ® mesh network will enable continuous contact with tagged assets while also providing platform/asset monitoring through the integration of sensors, realizing the concepts for Sense and Respond Logistics.