FTMS using RFID (File Tracking & Tracing Management System using Radio Frequency Identification)
Survey & Land Registration Bureau

The Problem

The problem to which this initiative was a solution: SLRB, handles large volume of physical files on a daily basis which contain original property papers, maps, deeds and personal and private information (CPR, passport, identity cards, certificates, et al) these are highly secured, confidential as per data prevention act it is priceless information which has the highest amount of confidentiality and integrity. If this information are misplaced, lost or leaked, drastic implications could occur ruining the Bureau’s reputation, name, fame and glories. A need to identify, implement and enable a complete secured system into SLRB’s operational framework a method that would cover the full gamut of required attributes in order to protect, secure, track, trace and retrieve the Muqadama files movement any time during its creation until end of workflow lifecycle.

Major issues faced: SLRB, were doing the Registration of its Muqadama (Introduction) file manually and there was no tracking record of any file movement. The method to know how a transaction was registered and in which workflow process being accepted was only known to the person registering the file or unless one refers to the file register in which the whole history of a transaction was recorded.

Another important point to note was whether the personal identification (PI) data captured into manual register as an ongoing transaction was perhaps privy in falling into wrong hands? Or chances of this sensitive personal information (PI) data captured being leaked to others or outside world? What was known? Was only about the revenue collection and the number of transactions registered per day.

With this as its major issue people registering the properties and land were surely affected with the concern of should we register our properties, land, villas, apartments and what shall be their guarantee of such transactions and the details of their personal information (PI) protected and secured?

SLRB followed the best of trends in governing the above conditions: and implemented Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) based File Tracking & Tracing Management System’s (FTMS), whose ultimate goal was to deploy a file tracking system to ensure tracking of its Muqadama (Introduction) file movements giving accurate and exact status of the file and its location giving full history of its movement status of completion of each workflow process thus ensuring: time efficiency, accuracy, productivity, confidentiality, safety and complete data security.

Introducing such latest trends of contactless data capture capabilities and the development of management software to automatically track and trace files, monitor process workflows, encouraged necessary audit compliance and stringent governance, it also simplified processes, enhanced productivity, and ensure assurance to security and confidentiality of data.

By embracing implementation of RFID Technology, SLRB became one of the top government agency in the KoB to meet with its 2030 Vision of imbibing the principles of sustainability, competitiveness and fairness in ensuring and overseeing it draws its own means for a secure and fulfilling demand of work which reached full potential of delivering better services to the society and people of KoB.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The initiative: SLRB oversees, manages, maintains and safe keeps land & property transaction and all its related information data assets as its custodian and on behalf of KoB.

Transactions which occur create a huge quantum of files and paperwork. Over time, processes become unwieldy and bureaucratic. Deployment of new technology was initiated to enhance process workflow, improve the level of data security to advance the organization’s productivity, efficiency and service performance. The use of latest RFID technology with non-line-of-sight data capture technology gave us;

The impact measured: Was in building of an Application Software System and automated application file tracking and tracing file management system enabling the Bureau with a complete visibility of Muqadama files. By attaching RFID tags to new transactions captured from April 15, 2010 onwards. RFID Tags are affixed on each Muqadama file which are then traced and tracked throughout entire lifecycle. It also is able to monitor complete process workflow ensuring documents are processed through set procedural method.

Achievements: All Muqadama files are easily located as the status of a file (and its current owner) is continuously recorded, and documents are easily located in case the trace and track reports a misplaced / missing file, by using handheld gun scanner.

It enforces security alarms and gives loud beeping sounds if the file is removed without authorization from the building premises along with triple authentication of sending automatic e-mail of violated record as well as short messaging service message sent transparently to senior authorities for necessary corrective actions.

Finally it adheres to industry best practice of workflow process monitoring and its transactions movement lifecycle has any violation of defined rules / malpractices. Ensuring integrity, audit compliance and security.

The beneficiaries: SLRB as a whole, as its major process improvement is captured, meticulously, giving total customer delight of building a trust-worthy relationship of people in KoB.

Some of the Qualitative benefits are;
– Improved productivity and service performance
– Workflow processes are followed closely; management is able to measure progress against KPIs in real time. These benefits are greatly enhancing efficiency and faster service performance
– Costs are falling by streamlining processes and automating key tasks
– Confidentiality and security of data is enhanced and stringently protected
– The TCO and ROI started coming in when true value of monitoring and securing our files being accidentally moved out of the building started to be notified to core users so as to protect data integrity. AVAS – Audio Visual Alarm System would trigger if the “Muqadama file” is being accidentally or maliciously taken out of our premise building. A loud long alarm will trigger as well it will send an e-mail and SMS to nominated personnel for action to be taken in case of the “File” is taken out without prior permission

Some of the Quantitative benefits are;
– Time spent searching has reduced by 30% and is further expected to reduce by about 40%
– Reduced the processing cycle time for generating of the deeds by about 25%, thus increasing the collection of our bottom-line

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The proposed solution: was piloted and initiated with the blessings of the Project sponsor and our Head of SLRB H.E. Shaikh Salman Bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa. Successful Pilot run of this project was carried out by H.E. Shaikh Khaled Bin Humood Al-Khalifa, Head of Customer Services and Marketing Section with the help of two companies who provided with a joint collaborated solution. Almoayed Data Group, based in Bahrain, provided the necessary RFID hardware and TrackIT, based in Dubai, developed the automated file track and track based RFID solution, and related RFID knowledge-share.

The actual implementation: Final project was done by General Directorate of Resources and Information Systems team under the patronage of its project director H.E. Shaikh Mohammed Al-Khalifa, General Director of Resources and Information Systems set out to deploy the new RFID technology implementation.

The project was designed, planned, implemented, managed and documented: by the Project Manager, Burzin P. Bharucha, Consultant / Advisor (IS), from the Office of General Director Resources and Information Systems, and its key project team, members Maryam Sabt, Mohammed Al-Binali and the Networking and Systems Administrations team members from the Directorate of Information Systems under direction and guidance of their esteemed Director of Information Systems, Mr. Hamed Abulfatih.

Internal stakeholders: Directly involved for this Project implementation were;

- Project Sponsor: His Excellency Shaikh Salman Bin Abdulla Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Head of SLRB

- Project Director: His Excellency Shaikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa, General Director of Resources & IS

- Project Initiator: His Excellency Shaikh Khaled Bin Humood Bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa, Head of Customer Services & Marketing

- Project Manager: Mr. Burzin Phiroze. Bharucha, Consultant / Advisor (IS),

- Project Core Team Members: Mr. Mohammed Al Binali / Ms. Maryam Khalifa Sabt, Computer Systems Analysts

- Project User Acceptance Testers (UAT): Land Registration & Follow-up Directorate Team Members (12 in nos.)

- Project main Implementers (External): TrackIT Solutions FZ L.L.C, Dubai

- Project Partner / Implementer (External): Almoayed Group W.L.L, Juffair, Kingdom of Bahrain

External Stakeholders: The direct beneficiaries of this project launch were;

- Citizens of Kingdom of Bahrain

- Public Sector Companies

- Private Sector Companies

- Financial and Banking Institutions

- Commercial Industries and lastly;

- Whoever would like to register their LAND, PROPERTY, FLAT, APARTMENT, VILLA, HOUSE, et al.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The strategy considered was to;

1. Track and trace the file for every property registered at SLRB. The file records the history of movement of the Introduction (Muqadama) files and to ensure easy and secure retrieval is done seamlessly within SLRB premises
2. Detection of any unauthorized removal of the files outside of SLRB Premises
3. Stable and proven technology which is easily scalable, portable and sustainable and is yet state-of-the-art and takes care of modern era advancements

Its Outcome: All Muqadama files that are tagged with RFID labels. The RFID Readers and Antennas installed and implemented within our premise its purpose is to track and trace the movements of files at any given moment an exact status location of the file should be given, ensuring time efficiency, safety, service performance and data security.
By embracing implementation of RFID Technology, SLRB became a league player of KoB in meeting to its 2030 Vision of imbibing the principles of sustainability, competitiveness and fairness in ensuring and overseeing it draws its own means for a secure and fulfilling demand of work reaching complete potential of delivering better services to the society and people of KoB.

Based on the above strategy and design principals our main objectives: were to proceed with the Proof of Concept (POC) which involved a detailed evaluation of the maximum range of the RFID readers installed in the premises (including the accuracy of the data capture) and the transmission of data by the antennas to the back-office system. The readers worked across the longest range and always synced with the newest Gen 2 RFID tags in tests. The technology also complied with European Technology Standards Institute (ETSI) protocols – a requirement for all communications systems used by Bahrain’s government departments. Moreover, with our weather condition we required very rugged and reliable trouble-free operations.

ALMOAYED saw the physical installation of RFID Technology devices along with TRACK IT’s – In-house Application software. SLRB’s Project Management & Implementation team, designed workflows included scanning of the tags at key points so that the progress of jobs is tracked and traced from the moment a file is created to its completion process. The application is accessible from any PC for authorized users and provides a dashboard that displays the location of all files and the progress of every job in real-time.

The Project Team also mapped 16 registration workflow processes and methodologies which were designed, developed, tested and implemented into real-time and live operations such as; Amra, Waqf, New Registration, Sales, Mortgage, Exchange, Compensation, Change in Status, Gift (Land, Farm, House, Semi-Public domain property) and Royal Gift (Land, plot, housing unit)

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The key development and implementation steps in chronology were;

1. Project Management Institutes PMBOK were guiding standard for project management adoption methodology
2. Project Manager (PM) was a Certified PMP professional with 18 years of experience in handling small and large high profile projects

A well articulated Project Implementation Plan was devised before the start of project, out-lining each and every activity of how the entire project will be executed and what will the contingencies be in case of envisaged delivery delays. Microsoft Project application program was used extensively as the tool to manage the progress of the project. In line to keep with good project management practice so as to keep all stakeholders duly aware of the progress, risks and, constraints (if any) and necessary corrective and prevention CAPA actions applied by the PM.

As per the guiding PMBOK – 5 Process group areas were used in executing the project and they followed each other by Initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, closing of the project.

Further of 9 – Knowledge area management – were used in order to break-down the whole implementation of the project into varied activities which involved; integration, scope, time, costs, quality, human resources, communications, risks and lastly procurement management. From starting of the project duration, required resources were defined and each person involved were called and their project roles and responsibilities and what is expected from them was well defined, understood and a signoff was taken so as not have any deviations from its actual delivery.

All project scope exclusions were recorded so as not to create any project delivery anomalies. The Project monitoring was done with a clear project description from project kickoff in terms of Goals, objectives and requirements to its defined project scope and plan. All skills requirement and resources availability from all stake holders were mapped so as to allocate specific subject matter expertise to professionals. All assumptions & issues were schedule for its complete deliverables & acceptance criteria of its effort for critical success factors and risk summary was drawn to get lessons learnt and taking retro feedback.

Communication Hierarchy of status meetings and all necessary change control process was recorded. A project risk management issues were explained so that all relevant resources and its communications are articulated and well-defined so as to safe guards ROI. In case of any deviation to the project scope and change management procedure will have to be raised so as to agree upon the new changes. Thus, all relevant responsibilities of the client and all the persons involved in successfully implementing of the RFID was defined, certain assumption made and a clearly well-defined milestone assigned for each of the below activity.

– Material delivery
– Completion of hardware installation and testing of the same
– Completion of User Acceptance Tests
– Documentation & Knowledge transfer
– Project Closure
– Signoff
– After go-live support and patching of user-level bugs and minor changes

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The main obstacle risk envisaged at the start of the project was, this technology and implementation for file tracking and tracing had never been deployed around the Middle East and MENA region. This was mitigated by a diligent evaluation of the solution along with a Proof of Concept (POC) in place, and only after successful implementation of the POC this project had been deployed.

We at Survey & Land Registration Bureau are the very First Implementers of this Project one of its kind in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and also the very first in the Middle East and MENA Region.

When all relevant Hardware equipment were brought from Motorola Incorporation, USA and until the devices actually landed into Kingdom of Bahrain only after that we were further poised and faced with two major obstacles of risks;

1. RFID’s correct use of the corresponding frequency range so as not to clash disturbance between other GSM bandwidths.
2. Safety of the RFID equipments in transmitting of the radio frequency radiation signal.

The RFID Antennas and the RFID Readers required corresponding sanctions from the Ministry of Transport and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

Ministry of Transport and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (MOT & TRA) were concerned as to what are the devices used for and what was its purpose and why have they been imported. What would be their medium of corresponding signal which should not affect in any way the GSM bandwidth, et al.

How did we overcome the two obstacle risks?

The above two obstacle risks were thus, mitigated very systematically, methodically and appropriately and the mitigation methods that were used were; PDCA-R (Plan, Do, Check, Act and React) and on the Program Application front SLRB had developed an RBAF (Risk Based Audit Framework) for RFID based Document tracking system.

1. SLRB, Almoayed Data Group and Track IT gave all logical and best practices standards used around the world with documentary evidence / proof at every stage were given and made available so as to convince the authorities with all their queries that the use of RFID devices (Antennas, Readers) will not be a deterrent and will not cause any hindrance, interference to the GSM bandwidth range in Bahrain. After, due diligence MOT & TRA gave their clearance and sanctioned the usage of RFID based FTMS Motorola Devices within SLRB premises.

2. The other significant concern regarding health hazard was meticulously and pro-actively addressed through submission of various documents and certificates from World Health Organization (WHO), as well as from IEEE Standards so as to convince everyone that the devices were safe to be used in an in-house environment and it does not even cause a fraction of radiation to human body or skin. Again all the necessary documentary proof / evidence were given and stored to be rest assured for its safe use.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The key benefits and how resources were mobilized are articulated here in as;

Initiative qualitative benefits:
– Improved productivity and service performance.
– These benefits are greatly enhancing efficiency and faster service performance.
– Costs are also falling by streamlining processes and automating key tasks.
– Availability, confidentiality and security of data is enhanced and stringently protected.
– The TCO and ROI started coming in when true value of monitoring and securing our files being accidentally moved out of the building started to be notified to core users so as to protect data integrity. AVAS – Audio Visual Alarm System would trigger if the “Muqadama file” is being accidentally or maliciously taken out of our premise building. A loud long alarm will trigger as well it will send an e-mail and SMS to nominated personnel for action to be taken in case of the “File” is taken out without prior permission

Initiative quantitative benefits:
– Workflow processes are followed closely. Management is able to measure progress against KPIs in real time.
– Time spent searching reduced by 30% and further expected to reduce (has shown daily improvement of about 3 hrs of reduced manual work daily).
– Reduced the processing cycle time for generating of deeds by about 25% (daily job cycle completion time has been brought earlier by about 2 hrs), enhancing productivity of completing more closure of files.

The project outlay had two major components of costs and mobilization, they are as;
1. “Financial” outlay to vendors for Hardware, Software, Development, Implementation Project Costs
2. “Effort” outlay expensed by SLRB staff in implementing RFID Project

Financial Outlay:
The total outlay towards this project was Bahrain Dinars 133,000 so as to enjoy its best TCO and ROI
Broken down as Hardware Costs: BD 75,000.000
Broken down as Software Costs: BD 35,000.000
Electrical, networking, cabling, conduits & civil works (Interior decoration) Costs: BD 15,500
Personalization to be carried out into its application software costs: 7,500

Effort Outlay:
From the stakeholders and management (4) Executive and authoritative persons were used full-time for quick wins so as to achieve timely completion of project. They were our, General Director of Resources & Information Systems, Director of Finance & Human Resources, Director of Information Systems, Head of Customer Services and Marketing Section
One very senior and experienced subject matter expert as Project Manager was used, who also is Consultant / Advisor (IS) to the General Director of Resources and Information Systems his expertise was used from project inception to its completion.

From Information Systems Directorate (4) Network, Help-Desk and Systems, Database Administrator was utilized to allocate network ports, educate users and carry out server / database configurations.

From Land Registration & Follow-up Directorate (12) personnel were used for User Defined Test to carry out dummy transaction stages are correctly defined as per 16 structured workflows.

From the HR department (2) Senior Training Personnel were used to educate and guide users associated with its actual use of this system.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Increasing the scalability of the implementation is a simple matter of adding more devices to cover a larger geographical span. The underlying software technology is from Microsoft and is scalable, portable, and sustainable across internet and is multi-locational, multi-user and multi-tasking.

The solution uses the standard Ultra High Frequency (UHF) – European standards. (ETSI) with Gen2 UHF RFID Tags (Universal Dual zone tags). With RFID tags and readers installed at various and appropriate point of locations within the SLRB Head office building premises, the solution is able to track and record the complete movement of its introduction files through each and every zone / location it passes within its Head Office premises.

SLRB were invited in RFID Middle East Conference to speak on its launch of RFID Technology. A white paper has been launched and created by MOTOROLA INC. on their International Website of our Implementation as a CASE STUDY for the world to see and replicate the technologies relevant to them accordingly as well a RFID Journal has showcased our very 1st implementation of RFID Technology.

Lastly, to mention various newspaper articles have been published regards to our unique achievements especially RFID Journal has carried out a complete article on the implementation (http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/view/7704/1 & http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/view/7704/2), and Motorola has done a Case Study whitepaper on this unique achievement, and SLRB’s RFID implementation has been nominated at various world renowned forums such as e-World, Future e-Gov Awards, e-Government Authority Excellence Awards. (http://www.scribd.com/doc/56571713/RFID-Presentation-eWorld-2011-Awards-29May11).

Thus, we have significantly improved our services to the society and citizens of Bahrain by creating a more efficient, transferable, replicated and productive ways of handling huge volumes of files and paper that we deal with on a daily basis. Add in the security benefits and the fact that we have reduced costs by enhancing our efficiency and it’s clear that this project delivers against the wider vision of the Bahrain Government’s 2030 Vision of using technology to become leaders in the provision of public service.

After the launch of this very first initiative we are the only government agency and also the first in Middle East and MENA region of having implemented and in live-operations. Many are following suite and ongoing visits by various neighboring countries I.T departments and various other Government Agencies from within Bahrain and OMAN, UAE – (Abu Dhabi, Dubai) have taken place to replicate the same solution in some ways or different application usage is being currently discussed with prospective vendors.

Also the sustenance of the RFID system is done through qualified and dedicated teams both internally and externally through and as per terms of contractual obligation of 3rd party vendors and contractors to see its upkeep and maintenance of its smooth operations on a day-to-day basis.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The key elements that made our initiative a success;

In order to ensure that the scope definition of our project initiative remained as we had envisaged, and even before going into a full implementation of project cycle, we studied the entire pros and cons of the RFID technology and its varied implementations across the world. In our study we found that RFID technology was mainly implemented at Warehouses, Air Cargo agents, Travelling Baggage tags, et al. thus from our study we prepared an intelligent approach document of how we can utilize RFID technology in leveraging of its best practices within our environment.

We actively involved the business users in defining the scope of the RFID Project, this was very critical to ensure that at the end of implementation the product meets the defined user requirements. We ensured that the requirements were clearly documented in our contract with vendor so that there is no ambiguity in the project success definition. We therefore went in to accomplish a live proof-of-concept by introducing RFID – Document Tracking System within our Bureau, especially where we had envisaged giving maximum benefits by implementing into our Land Registration and Follow-up Directorate.

On successful completion of the POC, we drafted a very meticulously and well defined RFP / RFT document, floated the same into the local market of Bahrain, selected the best fit vendor for our requirements and executed the project. As part of the project management methodology a very clear scope variation process was created and strictly adhered too. This included escalation procedures, approval procedures, cost benefit evaluations et al. to ensure that any change request is considered with necessary diligence prior to incorporation into the project.

All project objectives that were made into the RFP scope definition were managed and executed meticulously throughout the project implementation and our purpose to track and trace the file in SLRB premises was successful with implementation of the RFID technology complementing the requirements it successfully accomplished the project.

Finally our initiatives, implementation and launch into live operation at Land Registration and Follow-up Directorate of Survey & Land Registration Bureau’s, Head Office premises was done on April 14, 2010 which was a grand successful event.

Lessons learnt were;

The above pointers ensures how diligently the defined scope matched the anticipated requirements and how we avoided occurrence of any project “scope creep”, it also highlights clearly that we were cut-out from the beginning to be successful from day one of going into live operation.

The old trick of maintaining of proper cooperation, coordination, communications and being committed with all the stakeholders at every stage made the project successful.

Learning’s of how the stated obstacle risks were mitigated were an added lesson to remember especially when you are the only and the very 1st Government Organization for having implemented in Middle East and MENA region it’s very 1st Radio Frequency Identification based File Tracking and Tracing Management System.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Survey & Land Registration Bureau
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Hamid Abualfath
Title:   Director, Information Systems Directorate  
Telephone/ Fax:   +97317507789
Institution's / Project's Website:   http://www.slrb.gov.bh
E-mail:   ealmahmood@ega.gov.bh  
Address:   Dilmon Tower B – P.O Box 332, Governmental Avenue, Building 119, Road 383, Block 304
Postal Code:  
City:   Manama
Country:   Bahrain

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