RFID Boom Barrier Devices That You Should Know Before Installing One

The main gate of any gated community is the busiest and probably the most chaotic location of a community. In any typical day, the main gate would open about a hundred to thousand times in a day - for cabs, resident vehicles, water tanks and visitor vehicles to move in and out. Hence, for a community of about 500 flats, vehicle management does become a serious concern. Many gated communities have installed Radio frequency Identification (RFID) based boom barriers, in an attempt to manage the vehicle movement in their society. However, there are certain aspects of this solution that every community must know before installing an RFID based boom barrier.

RFID is a small chip (about 2,000 bytes of data) and an antenna that is placed together on an electronic device(in this case, boom barrier). RFID is used to establish a unique identity for an object that is scanned to obtain the information. In gated communities, these devices are majorly used with boom barriers to manage vehicle movements and differentiate between resident and visitor vehicles.

The basic working of an RFID based boom barrier
All the resident vehicles have to first register with the management committee and get a RFID tag placed on their vehicle. An RFID reader tag is installed on the boom barrier, which is placed at the entrance of the community. When a car is about to enter the community, the RFID tag on the vehicle is read by the reader tag on the boom barrier and the boom barrier opens, letting the vehicle in. In case of a vehicle that is not registered with the community, the boom barrier will not open.

Before installing a RFID based boom barrier, here are certain aspects of the device an organisation must know:

1. Costs related with the use of an RFID based boom barrier.

A typical RFID boom barrier device would cost 75,000–95,000/ per piece. For apartments with large main gates, an approx of two RFID boom barriers are installed. Hence in a typical apartment there are two gates and hence, a minimum of four boom barriers would be needed. The cost for four devices would approximately range from: Rs 3- 4 lakhs. Apart from the initial costs of the device, there is an additional cost of an RFID tag.

An average RFID tag costs between Rs 150–300 per tag. For an apartment with about 500 flats the cost of all the tags would be around, Rs 75,000–1,50,000\- (considering every flat has only one car).

The total cost for a community of about 500 flats with RFID based boom barriers on two main gates, could range from Rs 4–5 lakhs. The annual maintenance cost will be seperate.

2. Inventory management of the RFID tags

The inventory management of all the RFID tags on the vehicles is a recurring cost. When ever there is a new resident in the community, new tags have to be made and issued, also when people leave the society, their tags have to be disabled.

3. A boom barrier’s motor fails faster than expected.

The average length of a boom barrier’s arm is 4–6 meters. However some companies increase the length of the boom barrier by attaching a longer piece of metal. This puts the motor of the boom barrier under more pressure, leading to the motor failing faster than its expected durability.

4. Deploying a boom barrier requires a security guard to manage the equipment

To manage the vehicles which do not have RFID tags ( cabs, water trucks, visitor vehicles, etc) the community would need a security guard to lift the boom barrier, using a push button. Hence hiring a security guard would be an additional cost (avg salary of a guard would be about, Rs 10,000- 15000/per month).

5. The breaking of an RFID based boom barrier is a huge possibility.
The purpose of deploying an RFID based boom barrier is to allow resident vehicles into the society, without the need of a security guard. However apart from resident vehicles who enter the society, there are cabs, visitor vehicles, water trucks, etc too which get in and out of the society on a daily basis. The large number of unauthorized vehicles waiting at the gate to get an entry, could lead to an accident.

6. RFID devices have scanning issues

The readers of RFID devices are capable of scanning through nearly all non-metallic materials, however there is an issue with metal and water. This video by the RFID Lab Director, Justin Patton from the Auburn University explains the scanning issues of a RFID device. Click here to view the entire video.

7. RFID systems are easy to disrupted

RFID systems use an electromagnetic spectrum like Wi-Fi networks or cell phones to function. Hence the device can be disrupted using the energy at the right frequency. Some systems use Active RFID tags, those that use batteries to increase the range of the device. The moment the battery wears out, the device gets disabled again. Click here to know more.

PLVM  Approach Towards Vehicle Management

One of the major uses of RFID devices in gated communities is to track vehicle movements and differentiate a residents vehicle from a guards vehicle. plvm has adopted a unique approach to manage the vehicles in a gated community, which has not only adopted simple implementation but also manages the vehicles in the community by avoiding all of the above listed problems.

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