Building automation

Skyscraper Sensation in Manhattan

Safety first: NFC and cloud authentication opens up a more efficient and secure future on an area of over 300,000 square metres.

Why a Trusted Tag is an essential solution

The maintenance of fire protection facilities and sprinkler systems, as well as the attendance documentation of service personnel take up a significant chunk of time in large highrises. The solution for an optimised process, is an application that includes a secure cloud service and operates with specialised secure NFC tags.

HID Global assists system integrator Automated Decision by providing the suitable technology to guarantee optimisation of service and maintenance of fire protection facilities for Rael Automatic Sprinkler.

Richard Aufreiter, HID Global, spoke with RFID & Wireless IoT Global about the types of technologies and applications that were used.

Fire safety in one of Manhattan’s most modern buildings

In November 2014, a high-rise with 104 floors, 73 lifts, and a total floor space of more than 300,000 qm2 was inaugurated in Lower Manhattan, New York City. In building this skyscraper, specialised steel coating was used to protect the materials from extended exposure to extremely high temperatures. Fire extinguishing systems that register smoke and instantly activate were installed in order to prevent a fire entirely. To ensure the continuous functionality and availability of these systems, they have to be checked and serviced regularly.

Efficient sprinkler maintenance with CMMS integration

The goal of an optimised service solution for these fire safety installations was to adhere to all national and local building safety and inspection regulations as well as removing all paper tags from the components prior to installation. Furthermore, an optimised digital documentation of maintenance and service protocols helps an antiquated maintenance management system advance into the digital age. The documentation of attendance records – Was a service technician on site and did they check and service a specific sprinkler?

This process used to be time-consuming, inefficient and needed to be updated. The overall goal was to digitalise and rationalise the entire sprinkler maintenance and repair process and make it retraceable. An uncomplicated integration of industrial sprinklers into the CMMS software applications was required. In addition, mobile applications were needed to make it easier for employees to work efficiently and independently.

Secure identification with Trusted Tags

HID Global and Automated Decision faced the challenge of developing such a comprehensive solution in collaboration with the Rael Automatic Sprinkler Company. The HID Trusted Tag Service, consisting of the HID Trusted HF/NFC Seal eTamper tag and the HID Cloud Authentication Service, serves as an interface. Automated Decision seamlessly integrated the tags that can be read by service technicians with mobile phones or tablets and a mobile application.

Each of the coin-shaped Trusted Tags is outfitted with a QR code and a logo for optical identification. The tags adhere to metal and are the digital interface between the object and the cloud for the maintenance management. The NFC tags are flexible and resilient enough to be used in industrial environments. The RFID component self-destructs in case the tag is removed improperly.

Misuse makes the tags unusable

“In order to secure the transaction, the HID Cloud Service exclusively uses the cryptographic code of the accessed tags for verification. The service then forwards the information securely to the CMMS software, which then authenticates the business-related data,” says Richard Aufreiter.

Automated Decision’s CMMS software is a maintenance management system. It reads the object to be serviced, the technician, the access time, and the date. This information is then authorised and documented for Rael’s labour administration. The software stores the data in a database that serves as the basis for the optimisation of maintenance processes. This gives customers direct access to the current status of the sprinkler installation, performed inspections, and the entire service history.

In case an HID Seal eTamper tag is misused or removed improperly, an electronic component is altered to render the tag unusable. This serves the purpose of making sure that every access attempt is authorised and only occurs when planned.

“The simple and secure attendance recording was one of the deciding factors for the optimisation of the process,” says David Israel, president of the Rael Automatic Sprinkler Company, and adds, “It is the only way we can ensure detailed documentation and retraceable reports for our customers.”

No additional readers are required, which saves further costs. At any given time, the cloud service can check whether a user’s login information is compatible with the qualifications required for the service of a specific device. “The implementation of the entire solution as well as training our technicians to work with the new system went off without a hitch,” reports David Israel.

Why a Trusted Tag is an essential solution

“Usually, the URL stored on a tag can easily be copied because the server does not register this process,” explains Richard Aufreiter. “But as soon as the tag contains information about the presence and movement of people, this information has to be made secure and manipulation needs to be ruled out. Therefore, this solution uses a Trusted Tag that includes comprehensive protection against manipulation – physically, due to the mechanic tamper protection mechanism, and digitally, due to the authentication in the cloud.”

With every NFC tap, the installed Trusted Tags generate a cryptographic one-time password in connection with a URL that is only valid for this one event. This specific feature of the tags is the basis for security and efficiency in the maintenance and inspection management.

The T800’s compatibility with the Printronix Auto ID PrintNet Enterprise Software makes it possible to save all data from the coded and printed RFID labels. “This way, the person in charge can check the entire day’s production of RFID labels and recognise possible improvement opportunities – for example, regarding the materials.”

The result of this solution is that inspections and repairs can be carried out more time-efficiently and maintenance processes have been optimised. Service technicians can now carry out 20 percent of their work 34 percent faster. All physical inspections and repairs can be traced by the property management because they are confirmed by each technician on their smartphone. Currently, more than 2,000 Trusted NFC tags have been installed in the entire building.

In the future, an expansion is planned that includes access to troubleshooting instructions, helpful videos, and live chats with system experts that assist technicians on site with specialised maintenance work, avoiding costly and timeconsuming methods. According to Rael, the HID Trusted Tag Service is to be installed in further New York City high-rises as well as more cities.

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Richard Aufreiter
Richard Aufreiter
VP Product Marketing
Granges-Veveyse, Switzerland
Marie Glotz
Marie Glotz
VP Sales
Granges-Veveyse, Switzerland
Guido Kuhrmann
Guido Kuhrmann
Sales Director DACH - RFID & IIoT
Rastede, Germany
Eric Suligoj
Eric Suligoj
Director Business Development - Industry & Logistics
Granges-Veveyse, Switzerland
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