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Aug 30 2010   12:33PM GMT

WiFi and RFID system tracks preschoolers

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

A school district in California is using location-based wireless technology to track preschoolers. I admit that when I first saw the headline for this story, I worried that the school was embedding RFID tags in the kids… kind of like the tags they put in pets these days. Thankfully, that’s not the case!

KTVU-TV is reporting that the Contra County School District is using some combination of RFID and Wi-Fi technology to check students in and out of schools, to track their locations and to make sure they get fed lunch. Based on what I saw in the video, this seems to be some kind of real-time location system (RTLS).

The school district spent $50,000 on the system, which includes a series of sensors throughout the school and basketball jerseys that have an RFID and Wi-FI package embedded in the chest. The school district says the system improves security but it will also save 3,000 man hours a year by eliminating paperwork (teachers had to fill out paperwork every time a child entered or left the school and every time a child was fed).

The reporter for this story didn’t identify the vendor(s) who provided this system to the school, but he noted that it was based on technology commonly deployed in hospitals. There are a lot of RFID/WI-FI-based patient and asset tracking system vendors serving the healthcare industry. One of them probably adapted this technology for the school.

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