WO2008035294A2 - Secure enclosure system - Google Patents

Secure enclosure system Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2008035294A2
WO2008035294A2 PCT/IB2007/053795 IB2007053795W WO2008035294A2 WO 2008035294 A2 WO2008035294 A2 WO 2008035294A2 IB 2007053795 W IB2007053795 W IB 2007053795W WO 2008035294 A2 WO2008035294 A2 WO 2008035294A2
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
enclosure
transponders
set
region
respective
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB2007/053795
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2008035294A3 (en
Inventor
Albertus Jacobus Pretorius
Original Assignee
Ipico South Africa (Pty) Limited
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to ZA200607832 priority Critical
Priority to ZA2006/07832 priority
Application filed by Ipico South Africa (Pty) Limited filed Critical Ipico South Africa (Pty) Limited
Publication of WO2008035294A2 publication Critical patent/WO2008035294A2/en
Publication of WO2008035294A3 publication Critical patent/WO2008035294A3/en

Links

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/08Logistics, e.g. warehousing, loading, distribution or shipping; Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement or balancing against orders
    • G06Q10/087Inventory or stock management, e.g. order filling, procurement, balancing against orders
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E05LOCKS; KEYS; WINDOW OR DOOR FITTINGS; SAFES
    • E05BLOCKS; ACCESSORIES THEREFOR; HANDCUFFS
    • E05B19/00Keys; Accessories therefor
    • E05B19/0005Key safes
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E05LOCKS; KEYS; WINDOW OR DOOR FITTINGS; SAFES
    • E05GSAFES OR STRONG-ROOMS FOR VALUABLES; BANK PROTECTION DEVICES; SAFETY TRANSACTION PARTITIONS
    • E05G1/00Safes or strong-rooms for valuables
    • E05G1/02Details
    • E05G1/04Closure fasteners
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K7/00Methods or arrangements for sensing record carriers, e.g. for reading patterns
    • G06K7/0008General problems related to the reading of electronic memory record carriers, independent of its reading method, e.g. power transfer

Abstract

A secure enclosure system (10) comprises an enclosure (12) defining an opening providing access to a storage region (18) in the enclosure and comprising a closure element for opening and closing the opening. A reader arrangement (30) of a radio frequency identification (RFID) system is mounted on or at the enclosure and is connected to a controller. The reader arrangement is operative to read transponders of a first set of RF transponders (34.1 to 34. n) in a first monitoring region, respective transponders of the first set being associated with respective articles of stock in the storage region. The reader arrangement is further operative to read transponders of a second set of RF transponders (38.1 to 38. m) in a second monitoring region beyond the enclosure and respective transponders of the second set of transponders are associated with respective authorized persons having access to the enclosure.

Description

SECURE ENCLOSURE SYSTEM

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

This invention relates to a secure enclosure or container. The invention more particularly relates to an enclosure comprising a radio frequency identification system for monitoring stock in the enclosure and associated method.

US 7,256, 682 discloses a single RFID tag which is permanently secured to the exterior of a container. This tag stores an inventory record of the container's RFID tagged assets. An internal RFID reader is installed within the container and programmed to emit a read signal whenever the container is closed. All the tagged assets within the container respond to the read signal with their identification data, which the reader receives and transmits to the external tag. Thus, as tagged assets are added to or removed from the container, the inventory record of tags inside the container is updated dynamically. The benefit is that despite there being numerous tags within the container at any given time, only the single external tag need be read by an external/remote reader to secure an accurate, up- to-date record of inventory. A problem sought to be alleviated by the invention of US 7,256,682 is that people would put contents into a container, update the contents to an exterior tag, but never update the inventory when items are removed, which led to inventory inaccuracy and added effort.

Stock control in an enclosed environment is far more complex than merely being able to keep record of articles added to and articles removed from the environment. Furthermore, stock control in an environment to which more than one authorized person has access, is even more problematic. It is difficult to determine which articles of stock have been removed or returned by which one of a plurality of authorized key holders.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a secure enclosure system, a secure enclosure and method with which the applicant believes the aforementioned disadvantages may at least be alleviated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the invention there is provided a secure enclosure system comprising: - an enclosure defining an opening providing access to a storage region in the enclosure and comprising a closure element for opening and closing the opening; a reader arrangement of a radio frequency identification (RFID) system mounted on or at the enclosure and connected to a controller; the reader arrangement being operative to read transponders of a first set of RF transponders in a first monitoring region, respective transponders of the first set being associated with respective articles of stock in the storage region; the reader arrangement further being operative to read transponders of a second set of RF transponders in a second monitoring region beyond the enclosure; and respective transponders of the second set of transponders being associated with respective authorized persons having access to the enclosure.

The enclosure may comprise a store, case, box, chest, safe, bin, container or the like. It may also be a built-in or walk-in enclosure or cupboard. The enclosure may be made of any suitable material and need not be in the form of a strongbox. It may be made from wood or any other material. The enclosure may be in the form of a container mounted or mountable on a vehicle.

The closure element may be a door and the enclosure may comprise a device sensitive to whether the door is open, such as a switch, connected to a controller.

The controller may form part of the reader or an interface connected to the reader.

The RFID system may be an active system comprising active transponders, alternatively the transponders may be passive transponders deriving power from an energizing signal generated by the reader. The transponders of the first set may be active or passive as aforesaid. The transponders of the second set may be active or passive as aforesaid.

The reader may comprise a loop antenna for generating a relatively low frequency, energizing signal in the form of a magnetic field. In other embodiments, the reader may generate a relatively high frequency, propagating energizing signal. The reader may be connected via a secure link to the controller and the controller may be configured to monitor a population of the first set of transponders in the first monitoring region.

The controller may be configured, when the population of the first set changes while a transponder of the second set is not in the second monitoring region, to activate an alarm. The controller may further be configured to record or log population change data when the population of the first set changes. The population change data may comprise at least one of ID data relating to a transponder of the first set added or removed from the storage region, ID data relating to a transponder in the second set in the second monitoring region at the time of the population change and time and date data.

Also included within the scope of the invention is a secure enclosure defining an opening providing access to a storage region in the enclosure and comprising a closure element for opening and closing the opening; and a reader arrangement of an RFID system configured such that an interrogation signal generated by the reader arrangement covers a first monitoring region comprising the storage region and a second monitoring region outside the enclosure and adjacent the closure element. Yet further included within the scope of the present invention is a method of monitoring a storage region defined by an enclosure, the method comprising the steps of: monitoring a population of a first set of transponders in a first monitoring region comprising the storage region; monitoring for at least one transponder of a second set in a second monitoring region comprising a region outside the enclosure; and in the event of a change in the population of the first set of transponders, recording data relating to the population change event including data relating to all transponders of the second set present in the second region at the time of the event, or causing an alarm to be activated.

The second monitoring region preferably comprises a region immediately adjacent a closure element for an opening of the enclosure.

Respective transponders of the first set may be associated with respective articles stored in the storage region and respective transponders of the second set may be associated with respective authorized persons having access to the enclosure. Each article may automatically be associated with a respective position in the storage region, and the method may comprise the steps of detecting attempted removal of an article from its respective position, identifying a person attempting to remove the article by data received from the respective transponder of the second set associated with the person and recording data linking the article to the person.

The method may comprise the step of determining whether the person is authorized to remove that article, and if not, activating an alarm.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCOMPANYING DIAGRAMS The invention will now further be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying diagrams wherein figure 1 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a secure enclosure according to the invention in a closed configuration; figure 2 is a similar view of the enclosure in an open configuration also illustrating rows of hooks for removably receiving articles (in the example, keys) to be stored in the enclosure; figure 3 is a view similar to figure 2, but illustrating in more detail a loop antenna of a reader of a radio frequency identification system forming part of a secure enclosure system according to the invention; and figure 4 is a block diagram of the secure enclosure system according to the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION A block diagram of a secure enclosure system 10 according to the invention is shown in figure 4.

The system comprises an enclosure in the form of a cabinet 12, shown in more detail in figures 1 to 3, for storing a stock of articles. The cabinet may be holding a stock of articles, such as keys 36.1 to

36. m, in a controlled manner, as will hereinafter be described. The cabinet defines an opening 14 and comprises a door 16 giving access to a storage region 1 8 defined by the cabinet. The door 1 6 is openable and closable and may be locked and unlocked by one or more of keys 20.1 to 20. m (shown in figure 1 ) to be carried by one or more authorized key bearers 22. The enclosure further comprises a door status sensor or switch 24, connected to an interface 26. When the door is closed, the status sensor has a first status and when the door is open, the status sensor has a second status.

The interface 26 is connected to a reader 30 of a radio frequency identification (RFID) system 32. The RFID system further comprises a first set 34 of transponders 34.1 to 34. n (shown in figure 4) each associated with a respective article 36.1 to 36. n (shown in figure 2) to be stored in the cabinet 12. The RFID system also comprises a second set 38 of transponders 38.1 to 38m (shown in figure 4) each associated with a respective key 20.1 to 20. m for unlocking the cabinet door 16.

The reader 30 comprises a loop antenna 40 mounted in or on the cabinet 1 2, to generate a relatively low frequency, energizing signal in the form of a magnetic field. The antenna is configured such that the field covers a first monitoring region comprising the storage region 18 as well as a second monitoring region comprising a region on the outside of the door immediately adjacent or in front of the door, thereby to be able to read the transponder on a key 20. m to be used to unlock the door as illustrated in figure 1 .

As best shown in figure 1 , the transponders 36.1 to 36. n and the transponders 38.1 to 38. m are mounted on respective tags 42 connected to the respective articles or keys by a respective key ring 44. As best shown in figure 4, the interface 26 is connected via a secure link 46 to a controller 48. The controller 48 comprises a processor configured to execute an application program and to have access to a database. The controller is also connected to indicator or alarm signal generating means 50. The database may be incorporated in the local controller, alternatively it may be a remote database. The secure link 46 may comprise encryption means utilizing suitable encryption techniques and algorithms, to secure communications between the interface 26 and the controller 48. Data transmitted between the interface and controller, is hence suitably encrypted, thereby to inhibit tampering with the line and/or data.

As best shown in figure 2, the storage space 18 may comprise a plurality of rows 52.1 to 52. q of hooks 54.1 to 54. r each. Instead of hooks, parallel shelves (not shown) may be provided. Each hook or position on the shelf may comprise an article detection means (also not shown), such as a micro-switch, which is sensitive to the presence or not, of an article on the hook or in the shelf position. The switches are in communication, either wirelessly or through physical means, such as wires, with a controller of the reader 30, alternatively of the interface 26, further alternatively the controller 48. This controller is configured over a period of time automatically to learn to associate each transponder 34.1 to 34. n associated with an article 36.1 to 36. n in the cabinet 1 2 with an associated respective hook 54 or a shelf position. The transponder is identified by a transponder ID, which the transponder intermittently transmits in response to being energized by the reader. The hook on which the key is placed or from which it is removed, is determined from the status of the detection means. When the article is present on the hook or in the place, the detection means has a first status and when the hook or place is empty, the means has a second status.

In use, the reader 30 continuously, alternatively continually, further alternatively intermittently, for example when the door is opened as detected by the status of the door status sensor generates an interrogation and/or energizing signal 31 as shown in figure 4. As stated hereinbefore, the signal covers the storage region 18 and a region in front of the door. In response to the energizing signal 31 , transponders receiving the energizing signal, automatically and intermittently responds, preferably according to a transponder talks only protocol (TTP), in bursts with respective response signals comprising respective transponder ID data. The response signals are received by the reader and the reader monitors in real time the population of transponders 34.1 to 34. n in the storage region 18. Should a change in the population be detected without the door 1 6 having been opened (determined from the status of the door status sensor 24) by a holder 22 of an authorized key 20.1 to 20. m, the controller 48 causes alarm 50 to be activated. However, if the door is opened by a holder 22 of an authorized key 20.1 to 20. m, the controller logs data relating to a population changing event such as that one or more of articles 36.1 to 36. n have been removed or returned. The data relating to the population changing event may further include ID data relating to the transponder 38. m associated with key 20.1 to 20. m and further associated with an authorized key bearer used to unlock the door, ID data relating to the transponder associated with an article 36.1 to 36. n that is removed or added and data relating to time and date, and this data is recorded in the database for subsequent analyses. The controller 48 also monitors whether a single or particular key bearer 22 has the requisite authority to remove any article from the cabinet. It is possible that rules relating to the handling of the articles 36.1 to 36. n may require that only a predetermined authorized key bearer or more than one authorized key holders must be present, to remove a particular article.

Furthermore and as stated hereinbefore, the controller is configured over a period of time, by monitoring the transponder ID's and article detection devices associated with the hooks or places, to learn which article hangs on which hook or is in which place. The controller is hence configured to determine whether a key bearer 22 attempting to remove a particular article from a hook or place is authorized to remove that article. If yes, the removal is recorded as stated hereinbefore, by linking data relating to the person and data relating to the article. However, if no, the controller 48 causes the alarm 50 to be activated and the relevant data to be logged.

Claims

Claims
1 . A secure enclosure system comprising:
- an enclosure defining an opening providing access to a storage region in the enclosure and comprising a closure element for opening and closing the opening; a reader arrangement of a radio frequency identification (RFID) system mounted on or at the enclosure and connected to a controller; - the reader arrangement being operative to read transponders of a first set of RF transponders in a first monitoring region, respective transponders of the first set being associated with respective articles of stock in the storage region; the reader arrangement further being operative to read transponders of a second set of RF transponders in a second monitoring region beyond the enclosure; and respective transponders of the second set of transponders being associated with respective authorized persons having access to the enclosure.
2. A secure enclosure system as claimed in claim 1 wherein the first monitoring region comprises the storage region and the second monitoring region comprises a region outside the enclosure and adjacent the closure element.
3. A secure enclosure system as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the enclosure comprises at least one of a case, box, chest, safe, bin, container, cabinet, store and the like.
4. A secure enclosure system as claimed in any one of claims 1 to claim 3 wherein the closure element comprises a door and wherein the enclosure comprises a device sensitive to whether the door is open or closed, connected to the controller.
5. A secure enclosure system as claimed in any one of claims 1 to
4 wherein the reader arrangement comprises a loop antenna for generating a relatively low frequency interrogation signal in the form of a magnetic field.
6. A secure enclosure system as claimed in any one of claims 1 to
5 wherein the controller is configured to monitor a change in a population of the first set of transponders in the first monitoring region.
7. A secure enclosure system as claimed in claim 7 wherein the controller is configured, in the event of a population change, while a transponder of the second set is not in the second monitoring region, to activate an alarm.
8. A secure enclosure system as claimed in claim 6 or claim 7 wherein the controller is configured to record data relating to the population change.
9. A secure enclosure system as claimed in claim 8 wherein the population change data comprises at least one of ID data relating to a transponder of the first set added or removed from the storage region, ID data relating to a transponder in the second set in the second monitoring region at the time of the population change and time and date data.
10. A secure enclosure defining an opening providing access to a storage region in the enclosure and comprising a closure element for opening and closing the opening; and a reader arrangement of an RFID system configured such that an interrogation signal generated by the reader arrangement covers a first monitoring region comprising the storage region and a second monitoring region outside the enclosure and adjacent the closure element.
1 1 . A method of monitoring a storage region defined by an enclosure, the method comprising the steps of: monitoring a population of a first set of transponders in a first monitoring region comprising the storage region; monitoring for at least one transponder of a second set in a second monitoring region comprising a region outside the enclosure; and in the event of a change in the population of the first set of transponders, recording data relating to the population change event including data relating to all transponders of the second set present in the second region at the time of the event, or causing an alarm to be activated.
12. A method as claimed in claim 1 1 wherein the second monitoring region comprises a region immediately adjacent a closure element for an opening of the enclosure.
13. A method as claimed in claim 1 1 or claim 12 wherein respective transponders of the first set are associated with respective articles stored in the storage region and respective transponders of the second set are associated with respective authorized persons having access to the enclosure.
14. A method as claimed in claim 13 wherein each article is automatically associated with a respective position in the storage region, and comprising the steps of detecting attempted removal of an article from its respective position, identifying a person attempting to remove the article by data received from the respective transponder of the second set associated with the person, and recording data linking the article to the person. 5. A method as claimed in claim 14 comprising the steps of determining whether the person is authorized to remove said article, and if not, activating an alarm.
PCT/IB2007/053795 2006-09-19 2007-09-19 Secure enclosure system WO2008035294A2 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
ZA200607832 2006-09-19
ZA2006/07832 2006-09-19

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
WO2008035294A2 true WO2008035294A2 (en) 2008-03-27
WO2008035294A3 WO2008035294A3 (en) 2008-08-21

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Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/IB2007/053795 WO2008035294A2 (en) 2006-09-19 2007-09-19 Secure enclosure system

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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2014078860A1 (en) 2012-11-19 2014-05-22 Omnicell, Inc. Storage cabinet with multiple rfid readers
JP2018009453A (en) * 2017-10-24 2018-01-18 ローレル精機株式会社 Key management device

Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20020183882A1 (en) * 2000-10-20 2002-12-05 Michael Dearing RF point of sale and delivery method and system using communication with remote computer and having features to read a large number of RF tags
WO2003071943A2 (en) * 2002-02-26 2003-09-04 Safety Syringes, Inc. Systems and methods for tracking pharmaceuticals
US20050128083A1 (en) * 2003-11-24 2005-06-16 Daniel Puzio Wireless asset monitoring and security system

Patent Citations (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20020183882A1 (en) * 2000-10-20 2002-12-05 Michael Dearing RF point of sale and delivery method and system using communication with remote computer and having features to read a large number of RF tags
WO2003071943A2 (en) * 2002-02-26 2003-09-04 Safety Syringes, Inc. Systems and methods for tracking pharmaceuticals
US20050128083A1 (en) * 2003-11-24 2005-06-16 Daniel Puzio Wireless asset monitoring and security system

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
WO2014078860A1 (en) 2012-11-19 2014-05-22 Omnicell, Inc. Storage cabinet with multiple rfid readers
EP2920775A4 (en) * 2012-11-19 2016-04-27 Omnicell Inc Storage cabinet with multiple rfid readers
AU2013344345B2 (en) * 2012-11-19 2017-03-23 Omnicell, Inc. Storage cabinet with multiple RFID readers
US9875461B2 (en) 2012-11-19 2018-01-23 Omnicell, Inc. Storage cabinet with multiple RFID readers
JP2018009453A (en) * 2017-10-24 2018-01-18 ローレル精機株式会社 Key management device

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Publication number Publication date
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