Manhattan Skyscraper Sprinkler Overhaul Combines HID Trusted Tag Services

The combined solutions help secure, digitize, automate and streamline inspection and maintenance of the office tower’s massive fire and safety sprinkler system.

NEW YORK CITY — Rael Automatic Sprinkler Co. provides inspection, maintenance and repair service to more than 1,000 buildings in the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Among its most recent projects, the 85-year-old full-service fire protection provider sought to streamline and track the inspection, maintenance and repair process of the extensive industrial sprinkler system at an iconic skyscraper in Lower Manhattan. Its goals included digitizing inspection records to improve traceability, automating maintenance schedules and providing proof of compliance with federal and local fire and safety regulations.

To fulfill the project Rael Automatic Sprinkler teamed with Philadelphia-based software developer Automated Decision, a provider of mobile tools for equipment data collection, performance measurement and analytics. HID Global also served as a key partner in the project.

The combined efforts resulted in faster, more efficient inspections and repairs, improved first-time fix rates and fewer repeat visits.

Perhaps most important, property management can now more accurately track and confirm all physical on-site inspections and repairs, ensuring the sprinkler system complies with all New York Fire Department’s fire and safety regulations.

Overcoming Deployment Challenges

Rael Automatic Sprinkler’s existing inspection process, which employed laptop-equipped inspectors, was only partially digitized. However, it was a time-consuming and inefficient way to provide “proof of presence,” which confirms that an inspector or service technician was physically at the site when they claimed to be and reported or addressed all needed sprinkler repairs.

“Proof of presence was critical to improve upon, as property managers are now expected to deliver a much higher level of compliance reporting,” says David Israel, president of Rael Automatic Sprinkler Co.

Rael approached Automated Decision, an Assa Abloy subsidiary, to help them deploy an innovative work order management solution and automate its extensive sprinkler system inspection and service process. The software provider partnered with HID Global to deliver a comprehensive solution that meets all of Rael’s goals.

The solution consists of HID Trusted Tag Services, which includes an HID Cloud Authentication Service and HID’s Trusted HF/NFC Seal eTamper tags. The tags are integrated tightly with Automated Decision’s work order management solution and a mobile inspection app.


If an HID Seal eTamper tag is removed, the electronic componentry deactivates and renders the tag unusable.

The iconic New York City building has deployed HID’s NFC tamper-evident tags on each component of every wet and dry Rael sprinkler requiring inspection. Each of the more than 2,000 coin-shaped tags has a printed QR code and logo, and the tags can be affixed to metal objects such as alarm and control valves. If an HID Seal eTamper tag is removed, the electronic componentry deactivates and renders the tag unusable.

This physical tamper-evident functionality proves each trusted tap transaction is valid on the specified equipment and at the exact location, according to HID. As service technicians move throughout a building, they use their mobile device to tap on HID Trusted tags that are affixed to each sprinkler component.

Each HID tag generates a unique encrypted code appended to a URL that changes with each tap; a unique feature of HID Trusted Tag Services. With the help of HID’s Cloud Authentication Service, the CMMS Software from Automated Decision then identifies, authenticates and logs the inspected item, the user, the tap time and the date into the Rael’s work order management system.

Additionally, the solution verifies that the user’s credentials align with the qualifications needed to service the equipment.

To protect privacy, the HID Cloud Service verifies only the cryptographic code of the tapped tag and passes this info securely to the CMMS software which keeps all the other business process related data in its own context.

Once the service technician is authenticated into the system, they gain instant mobile online access to the equipment’s service request history and maintenance records, specifications, diagrams, and photographs.

A connection to troubleshooting guides, supportive videos and even a live expert to help troubleshoot equipment problems, is planned for phase 2 of the system.

Automated Decision’s integrated solution provides work order management, access to an equipment intelligence database for planning and managing maintenance schedules as well as a mobile app for service technicians in the field. Its user portal equips Rael staff and clients with direct access to a building’s entire equipment inventory, inspection and service history, together with real-time compliance, trusted proof-of-presence, service and credential tracking and reporting.

“Deploying the entire solution and training our technicians was pretty easy,” says Israel.

Among the benefits realized by the solution, Rael has significantly improved its first-time fix rates, reduced the number of repeat visits and decreased equipment downtime. Also, technicians now complete 20% of all work orders 34% faster on average, thanks to being able to access the additional information the system provides.

“The HID Trusted Tag Service is a real competitive differentiator for us when we bid for projects now,” says Israel. “We plan to deploy it in other noteworthy NYC buildings and we’re looking at using it for other mission-critical types of equipment that we inspect and repair as well.”

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