2004. Remember that year? I do. It was ten years ago, almost to the day, that the New England Patriots were on their way to solidifying their standing as a sports dynasty after winning the second of their three Super Bowl championships in a span of four years. The Red Sox would follow suit seven months later with their first World Series title in 86 seasons.
For New Englanders like me, 2004 was a banner year. Not just because I suddenly found myself residing in a region that was the envy of the sports world, but because my company, A2B Tracking, had become a valuable player in helping the Department of Defense develop and adopt a breakthrough policy for keeping track of its most critical assets using a barcode technology called Item-Unique Identification. Super Bowl XXXVIII gave way to Super Code IUID.
Much has happened between what seems like yesterday, and now – the 10th anniversary of the DoD IUID policy. The use of Item-Unique Identification barcode technology has expanded exponentially and now permeates every branch of the U.S. military. A2B products and services have kept pace with the demand for millions of IUID labels and plates found on everything from M9 automatic pistols and body armor to Abrams tanks and Humvees. All this time we have been providing label and plate production systems used on military installations and maintenance depots around the world, as well as in the field of battle. Today we mobilize special teams to go to military sites to mark critical assets where manpower (and budgets) are stretched thin. We’ve marked over 3.5 million assets for the DoD since 2004.
This month, A2B Tracking is releasing its latest generation software designed to track assets and manage critical data: UC! Web 2.5.5. It’s a cloud-based software that gives authorized military users visibility into critical assets owned by the Defense Department. Defense contractors, government property managers, military inventory managers and logisticians, who are mandated to be “IUID-compliant,” can know the location, custody, condition, status and any other information about any marked asset at any time, from anywhere with the wave of a hand-held barcode scanner. Asset data lives in the secure cloud, so information is safe and instantly available. UC! Web software lets leaders and managers know exactly what they have so they can keep supply lines moving and ensure warfighter safety and readiness.
A decade ago, the DoD Wide Area Workflow (WAWF) and passive RFID military standard, MIL-STD-129 was in its infancy. Now these are essential elements of the military supply chain. Our latest UC! Web software has the features that turn the WAWF infrastructure into a light speed highway for registering data, creating reports, shipping assets and getting paid on time. If you had asked me back when the DoD IUID policy was first implemented that our product could evolve to the level it has today, I wouldn’t have believed it. I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, we worked very hard to get the product where it is today. But sometimes I’m just blown away. Hats off to the A2B project management team and software developers for a remarkable job.
2004 was indeed a banner year. I’m reminded of it not only when I see the championship banners draped above the fans at Foxboro each autumn, but when I realize the star-spangled variety flies above our brave warfighters who, because of the DoD’s IUID policy – and A2B people and products – are safer and more prepared than they were just ten short years ago.