- by Kevin M. Mitchell
in Product Spotlight
For a production house, one of the most tedious — yet mission-critically important — tasks is keeping track of the gear that goes out on a gig and then comes back in from it. So what if that cable could tell you it was there? It’s actually not that far-fetched…
Database Works has been developing tools and applications for many industries for many years. One is RentalWorks, a rental tracking software. Now they offer Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) system as part of that tracking system. When integrated with the company’s RentalWorks inventory system, an individual cable can signal to a handheld device that it’s safely and snugly in the case.
“Take the example of a case full of cables,” says president Terry Young. “Instead of pulling each cable and scanning each one individually, you can wave the scanner over the bin and instantly get all 30 or 40 cables checked in with the new handheld QuikScan RFID.” It allows checking item statuses, and the user can view pending and scanned items in check-in and checkout.
Speaking of checking out, Young reports a vibrant LDI show where they showed off the new technology, which was highlighted by a Friday night demonstration at the warehouse of one of their clients, 4Wall.
“The show was great, giving us the opportunity to show live event professionals our RFID capabilities with RentalWorks QuikScan RFID,” sales executive Brock Heimann says. There were around 20 people from different rental companies from the U.S. and Canada that came to see the RFID demo at night.
“We demonstrated the ability to read thirty 12/14 multi-cables with RFID tags in a bin by just pushing them through the Jamison RFID portal,” Heimann notes. “Attached to each cable were RFID tag holders from Indu-Electric, while the cable RFID tags came from Vizinex. We had enclosed cases with LED lights and moving lights that were being read with the RentalWorks RFID, and with the portal without opening the top,” Heimann adds, along with a truss cart full of 12-inch box truss. “It all went well and really opened some eyes.”
Currently 4Wall, Moo TV, LabeLive, Tait Technologies, Atomic Lighting and KM Productions all useRentalWorks within their operation and are now considering adding the new QuikScan RFID option.
How it Works
There are several components. First, there’s RentalWorks inventory tracking software created specifically for the entertainment industry. Film studios, audiovisual companies, and now, increasingly, live production houses are relying on it to be more efficient. “RentalWorks features an intuitive interface that simplifies daily tasks,” Young explains. “It provides up-to-the-minute reports and real time availability, and solve conflicts before they occur. Items tracked by RFID tags, barcodes or simple quantity counts can be managed simultaneously.” As far as those micro-chipped ID tags, Heimann says they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and can be permanently attached to anything including metal. They are also built to hold up to the rigors of the road.
Heimann says that one can access the QuikScan software from the Apple App Store and use it on any iOS devices, making it well suited to the needs of employees in warehouses who have to move around to check in gear. Paired with a RFID scanner or portal, these Apple products can do the electronic legwork that previously required the purchase of alternate wireless inventory tracking devices. “By being able to do it with your iPad or even iPhone, you have the ability to put whatever you’re gathering for a client into a contract and collect the electronic signature for it right there,” he says. “This is all about streamlining the process and tracking everything in real time in a manner that speeds up the checking-in and -out process. It really is a revolutionary system.”
Part of this system is their full repair module that tracks the progress of the repair, the internal and/or outside cost, and when it’ll be back in working order. “We have an exchange module component so that if something is out on the job and then a speaker blows and another one has to be sent to the site, this system will know not to bill the client for the damaged gear.”
About the Company
Database Works is based in Brea, CA. Young started the company in 1983, and in 1985 they were assisting Paramount Studios with some accounting needs with their software. They developed many custom systems for Paramount, and by the 1990s, they had developed their first studio software system, which keeps track of scheduling of their vehicles and drivers. Currently, all of the major Los Angeles-based studios use TransWorks, the latest version of the original Paramount Transportation system. Today, Database Works also offers Cloud Hosting Solutions on their secure cloud that allows complete integration on computers, tablets, mobile phones, and scanners. “This is great for companies that don’t want to host the software, and the monthly fee for this is really affordable,” Young says. “We look to create an automated process so that personnel can spend their valuable time doing more for the company.”
QuikScan from Database Works
PROS: Easy-to-use program, time- and money-saver for any shop.
CONS: Slightly bulky tab attached to every cable.
- RentalWorks software
- RFID Tags (i.e., Indu-Electric or other)
- RFID Wand (check)
- QuikScan App (iOS)
MSRP: QuckScan App is a free download. Pricing for other required components varies by manufacturer. For more details on RentalWorks software pricing, contact Database Works.
Manufacturer/Developer: Database Works
More Info: www.dbworks.com