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Software for Applications using Barcodes and RFID

SageData is based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


On this page we talk about software in general, and the specific solutions that we offer. Barcodes and RFID are still emerging technologies, so for many of our clients, this is the first time they have used the technology, and they are dealing with the transition from manual, paper based systems. To assist in this transfer, or to meet other specific requirements of our clients, we find that we are often asked to modify the features of the standard package.
So take the following descriptions as a guide to what we can offer.

What, exactly, do we mean by software?

The systems that we provide cover a wide range of functionality. The most basic systems are completely self contained, and run on a single hand held computer, with no support required other than a convenient printer for producing reports.
At the other end of the spectrum, our more sophisticated systems include several different elements. There is usually a desktop application. There are mobile units which may be operating in batch mode, or connected by local or wide area wireless network.
A web component is becoming more of a standard feature, either as a means of viewing information or requesting services, or as a fully interactive element of the system. And many of these systems exchange information with one or more "back end" systems.
So by software, we mean all of the above.

So what makes this software so special?

There are several key issues which differentiate this software from conventional desktop software...

The special difficulties of this environment include:
  - Using tiny screens and keyboards on the mobile units
  - Protecting your data on batch mode devices
  - Mobile processors running at slower speeds
  - Managing multiple instances of a common database
  - RFID interfaces require special management in mobile applications
  - Using bar code readers and RF links with web applications

Why are SageData so good at producing software that complies with all the above constraints? Because we have been at it for a long time. We produced our first handheld computer software in 1991, for a data collection project. We have made a lot of mistakes since then, but we do not make the same mistake twice. So our software is well tested, well proven, robust.
Over 50 person years (yes, half a century) of development activity have gone into these products, not counting countless hours of contribution from some 900+ clients. And by working closely with the hardware manufacturers, we have learned to push the envelope - found ways to extend the function of these machines beyond that advertised in the technical literature.

And what can this software do?

Our software is all built around the two key technologies - auto ID (barcode or RFID) and mobile computing (batch or RF). This usually translates into "people, place and things".
We cover a wide variety of applications, but they are all based around identifying items, knowing a physical location, and knowing who is interacting with the item.

Specific applications include:
  - Asset management
  - Routine inspections
  - Managing tool cribs, small stores or warehouses
  - Directing messengers
  - Tracking maintenance activities
  - Collecting data
  - Manufacturing controls including QA
  - Handling fresh produce
  - And many others...

What about specific packages?

We have a variety of standard packages that have been developed over the years:
  - BassetPro - for asset management applications
  - Whippet - for warehouse management applications
  - FiESTA - fire equipment inspection applications
  - PICS - inventory control system
  - SePTRE - security patrol tracking equipment

Can these be customized to my specific application?

Absolutely. But we do this a little differently.The classic software trade off is between custom and standard solutions. The custom solution is good, because it gives you a system that does exactly what you want. But unfortunately custom applications take time to develop, are expensive, may not give you exactly what you want. And worst of all, you are part of the testing and debugging process. Standard systems avoid these problems. They are less expensive, can be delivered quickly, and are usually robust and well proven. But unfortunately they do not do exactly what you want. You may have to change your process to match the operating procedures laid down by the software. We have steered a path between these two extremes. We believe that the perfect tool is one that does everything that you need. And absolutely nothing else. All installations start with a standard package. These packages are designed so that we can easily configure them by removing (actually hiding) functionality that is not required. The result is a package that is closely configured to our clients exact requirements. But it can be delivered quickly. It is not expensive. And it is robust - as the changes only affect the presentation layer - the user interface.

Our aim is to give you a boring system. You turn it on, it works. No fuss. No excitement. Providing you with robust, well proven software is a key part of achieving that aim.
Our intention is to leave you to focus on your key areas of expertise, your core competencies.
Our job is to look after the bar code system, so that you do not have to.