Television equipment inventory is protected and followed while delivered to and used at the last NFL Super Bowl.

When enterprise organizations rent equipment for special events, often one concern is theft. For such incidents, the risk complexities are great.

As security technologies emerge, radio frequency identification or RFID has taken on a new, enlarged role.

For example, the Sports Video Group (SVG), an association of broadcasters, team owners, sports leagues, equipment providers and other sports technology providers, now uses OATSystems gear for a radio-frequency identification pilot study. It tracked video production equipment at Super Bowl XLI.

The pilot project was coordinated with Bexel, a video rental resource and principal supplier of broadcast rental equipment for the 2007 Super Bowl event.

“A Super Bowl game is arguably one of the most complex U.S. sporting events broadcast each year,” said Martin Porter, SVG executive director. “It requires an enormous effort to coordinate, especially in tracking and managing the many loose pieces of highly advanced and sophisticated video production equipment necessary to produce and televise the event.”

Porter added, “SVG’s membership has urged us to explore the use of RFID auto identification technology to track the rental equipment that is delivered on site at these large live events. We have learned a tremendous amount about how this process needs to be employed over the coming years as a result of the study we conducted with Bexel and OATSystems’ support at Super Bowl XLI.”

SVG identified Bexel as the right partner because of its need to track over 300 flight cases of cameras, editors, digital video recorders, monitors and other video equipment to meet production objectives and deadlines at the event. This equipment had to be dispersed to numerous editing trucks, locations within the stadium and offsite locations to support producers, production editors, cameramen and technicians.

For the past Super Bowl, Bexel’s gear was shipped from two locations and it was tagged, inventoried and managed throughout the ten-day pilot using RFID tags. OAT developed the necessary database software and provided handheld readers for the project.

Traditionally, manual methods have been used to locate, distribute and track equipment at live events. With television’s tight production deadlines, high stakes and slim margins for error, broadcasters are eager to explore the application of RFID to help them manage the inventory and its deployment in less time and with less margin for error.

The pilot study’s solution encodes, manages and tracks the equipment’s RFID tags. By recording the receipt of equipment onsite and recording when it was checked out to remote locations, this solution enabled personnel to find equipment quickly within the production compound.

“Getting the right video equipment to the right place at the right time is crucial to producing and televising such a prominent and complex event as the Super Bowl,” stated Bexel’s Lee Estroff. “I firmly believe that this pilot study was an excellent first step in developing a solution to this common live broadcast challenge.”

SIDEBAR: Transportation Companies Attracted to RFID

Transportation companies enjoy tremendous benefits by taking advantage of enhanced network services delivered through a radio frequency identification service platform.

The most strategic initiative in the transportation industry is around the ever expanding complexities of asset management and tracking. For example, Aeris’s coast-to-coast network allows trucking companies to track a complex set of assets across North America in real-time with its AerFrame service.

AerFrame is an advanced service delivery platform in the M2M industry. It connects remote devices to back office applications, and provides access to multiple networks and protocols seamlessly to the application. It delivers communication services ranging from occasional message transmissions to always-on IP connectivity and takes real-time data and delivers it to any information system across the nation.