i Button Guard Tour Solutions Overview Guard Tour Basics
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Guard Tour Solutions
Electronic Guard Tour is used around the world every day by Security Guards to automate their jobs and confirm that they are performing their jobs correctly. Guard Tour enables the Guard to quickly and easily check the security conditions of any facility and report all information back to a supervisor.
By using a small iButton reader, the Guard simply walks his rounds and touches iButtons at each designated location to prove that he checked that location at the prescribed time.
Collected data from the Guard’s reader is then uploaded to a reporting system that generates reports for supervisors.
Over 100 million iButtons have been sold to date for various applications with over 75K sold each day.
Over 500K iButtons were sold into the Guard Tour market in 2004.
Sales into this market continues to increase for us, as it has over the past 10 years.
Most new Guard Tour installations use iButtons over other technologies.OverviewiButtons in the Guard Tour Market
The stainless steel “Can” that iButtons are made out of is far more durable than barcodes or RFID tags. An extreme test would be to abuse each technology with a hammer and see which ones last longer. Each technology will eventually fail, but the iButton will last the longest. We offer free samples for your testing.
An iButton’s “Can” protects the chip inside from moisture. Basic RFID tags are not made to be moisture resistant. If the RFID chip is exposed to moisture it will become useless.
iButtons have a 1 year warranty. Compare our warranty to other product warranties.iButtons vs.Other Technologies
iButtons are easy to touch at multiple angles. Readers automatically read iButtons when touched in less than 10 milliseconds.
Barcodes take longer to read due to alignment of the scanner by the user. The user must also pull a trigger to activate the scanner.
To read an RFID tag, users must simultaneously bring their reader to within 2 inches of the tag and press a button to activate the reader.
Recently a large RFID user released data stating that they have achieved a 99% read rate with their tags*. We think 1 miss read out of 100 is not something to brag about. iButtons achieve read rates of 99.999% which is 1 miss read out of 100,000.iButtons vs.Other Technologies
99% RFID Read Rates
In outdoor or dirty conditions dirt or salt can build up on iButtons and make them hard to read. This can be easily fixed by simply wiping the iButton with a paper towel or cloth to achieve high read rates.
Barcodes have this same issue.
Some vendors say that RFID is not effected by dirt or salt build up. In fact, the minimum read distance for RFID tags decreases when any substance comes between the tag and the reader.
When RFID tags are placed behind walls to protect them, read distances will also decrease. Maximum distance for embedding tags into walls is only 2mm.
RFID tags are also extremely susceptible to Static Discharge which can make them completely inoperable.iButtons vs.Other Technologies
Several mounting options are available for iButtons that enable them to be mounted to anything, including metal frames and objects.
To deter vandals certain mounts exist that make iButtons extremely hard to remove.
Barcodes can be easily torn off or destroyed with a simple ink pen. Metal barcode tags can be easily bent or scratched to make them unreadable.
RFID vendors claim that their tags face no mounting issues because they can be mounted inside walls. This is nice if your building is under construction. If not, this requires holes to be drilled and walls to be repainted during installation.
Since RFID tags can only be read from 1-2 inches away, guards will tend to touch the reader against the wall if the tags are mounted inside the wall. This leads to scratches and blemishes quickly appearing on your walls once the system is installed.iButtons vs.Other Technologies
Most RFID tags can not be read if they are mounted on metal surfaces.
Any substance, i.e. paint, walls, plastic, etc., that is placed between an RFID tag and reader will reduce the read range of the tag to varying degrees.
If RFID tags are painted over or placed behind walls then they must be placed in exactly the same location or some “marker” must be used at each check point so that the guard can locate them. Remember read range is only 1-2 inches unless very expensive tags are used.iButtons vs.Other Technologies
iButtons have similar cost to RFID tags.
Make sure tag features are the same when comparing cost.
iButtons can offer you additional features that RFID and barcodes can’t such as allowing users to record temperatures when read.
Barcodes are very inexpensive, but you do need a rather expensive printer to print them.
When comparing systems, the entire system cost should be the issue not just the tag cost. When system cost is taken into account you will find that iButton systems always cost less.iButtons vs.Other Technologies
iButton readers are far more durable than barcode or RFID readers.
Some say that barcode and RFID readers don’t wear out like iButton readers because they don’t require contact to read their tags. However, the truth is that iButton readers are made out of solid metal and seldom break from wear and tear from reading iButtons. RFID and barcode readers must be made out of plastic to operate properly.
All readers usually break for one reason; being dropped by accident or on purpose.
We recommend that you ask your vendor for a demonstration. Take an iButton reader and a RFID or barcode reader and drop or throw them repeatedly onto cement with equal force. Please make a note as to which reader works longer.iButtons Readers vs.Other Readers
One of the biggest advantages of using an iButton system over others are the benefits that you get from using iButton readers. In Guard Tour applications, guards are well known for trying to break their equipment. iButton readers outshine other technologies by far when the following issues are compared.
Durability can be easily shown without performing a reader drop test; just look at the readers warranty.
Several iButton reader manufacturers offer warranties from 3-5 years on their products.
Most RFID and barcode readers come with a 90 day warranty.
iButtons readers should always cost less than barcode or RFID readers when comparing readers with similar features (i.e. memory size, etc.)
It is not possible to make a barcode scanner engine or a RFID receiver for less than it costs to make an iButton probe which only consists of two pieces of metal.
Also take into account your reader repair cost over time.
Warranties save you money.
iButton readers have the longest mean time between failures of any technology on the market.iButtons Readers vs.Other Readers
iButton readers come with various upload capabilities from direct PC upload cradle to Palm upload to direct Internet upload cradles.
The simplest way to upload data from a reader is by using a memory iButton and PC serial connection. This solution costs less than $50 per system.
Battery Life will always be longer for an iButton reader than any other technology.
It only takes 2mA of power for less than 10ms to read an iButton. This is and will always be less power than it takes for a reader to read a barcode or RFID tag.
With a properly designed iButton reader; the reader can achieve a battery life of 5 years or 1 million reads without recharge or battery replacement.
Most barcode and RFID readers need to be recharged daily.iButtons Readers vs.Other Readers
iButton readers are available in versions that can sense and record shock and detect other events that can alert supervisors to guards that are abusing their readers.
Users can automatically read iButtons when the user touches the iButton with a reader. Barcode and RFID readers require the user to press a button or pull a trigger on their reader to read a tag.
iButtons are perfect if you use incident wallets. An incident wallet can hold more iButtons than RFID or barcode tags because RFID and barcodes need more space between each tag to avoid reading the wrong tag. Therefore, iButtons give you more versatility.iButtons Readers vs.Other Readers