Asset management has evolved over the last decade, the Internet of Things (IoT) is being used to monitor and control items of every shape and size.
What is RFID?
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is an integrated network system that tags and tracks every printed document or office hardware on which your business depends. RFID systems have been in existence for decades. They are a common sight, for instance, at airports, which use them to make sure that the right luggage goes on the right airplanes. More recently, they’ve been spreading to other sectors, as more businesses, organizations, and government agencies have started utilizing RFID to better manage their own inventories.
RFID V. Barcodes
Many businesses rely on barcode scanners to log their inventories’ incoming and outgoing items. Maybe yours does, too. If so, you’ll be glad to know that RFID system technology has evolved and can often do all the work of a barcode scanner in less time, with more accuracy, and with far less human effort.
A barcode scanner uses a laser reader to register an item’s barcode tag. Since a laser is the medium, the tagged object and the reader have to be in a direct line of sight to each other. And the reader can scan just one item at a time. This limitations does not apply to an RFID system. Radio waves are its medium, not lasers. And whereas a laser only travels one way at a time, radio waves travel in every direction, so an RFID system can register multiple tags at once to allow for instantaneous inventory checking. Just as important, RFID tags and their reader don’t have to be in a direct line of sight to each other to register. In fact, they don’t even have to be in the same room.
Both technologies can be used to track your documents, books, computer hardware, furniture, and office supplies. The main advantage with RFID for Asset Management is the ability to communicate and sometimes exchange information with tagged items. With RFID tags, and you’ll no longer find yourself asking “Where did I leave that?” or “Did we change the Air Filters?” RFID can give you the peace of mind of knowing where everything in your building is and when it got there. You’ll be able to track down where any item is, at any time.
RFID systems are also considerably more durable. Even the best barcode scanners can lose accuracy and function over time due to smudges or general wear-and-tear to their screens. An RFID system will continue to work, even with a few smudges or dings, and keep enhancing your office’s work flow for as long as you need.
How it Works
Picture every item in your office: document, folder, supplies box, computer terminal, etc. Now imagine an electronic tag on each and every one of them. This is RFID. Postage-stamp-sized RFID labels fit atop every item. In each label is a small inlay with a chip and an antenna that silently transmits waves. In select locations around the office, eight or more larger devices called readers pick up the waves from each label simultaneously. It’s a smart system that connects every item for use via web applications or smart devices. Supply chain, Asset Tracking, Manufacturing, and Warehouses often use the technology for automation and improving process and workflows. From your office, to wherever you may venture, the Internet of Things keeps things connected. You can automatically receive notifications as soon as a defined condition has been met.
Benefits of RFID
RFID makes a tremendous difference in a workplace environment. Here are just a few of the areas in which our integrated RFID system can yield positive dividends for you and your workplace:
- Organization. Missing files and inventory items are common problems in offices today, and an office’s employees can lose many valuable hours searching for needed items. They can stop their searches once they install an RFID system. When your office is RFID-enhanced, there is no more guessing what items you have and where they are. All of that information is right in front of you. Using a well-designed, effecient system, you’ll spend less time looking for assets and more time making decisions with them.
- Customer Service. By freeing you from spending needless time tracking and monitoring your inventories, RFID can free you to spend more time and effort on the people whom your business needs the most: your customers.
- Communication. An RFID-enhanced office is a more connected office. You and your coworkers can all be in a steady interactive loop that informs everyone, at every moment, of where any given object is and when it got there.
- Efficiency. Tagging assets can save your business and your personnel time. No more barcode-logging one inventory item after another by hand. Automation tools is a better way to do all of this work for you and track assets instantly.
- Security. What if an item is not supposed to? If it’s RFID-tagged, you may have a way to know it and monitor where it is heading.
What We Offer
EIM Sensor offers professional consulting, Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) and integration support for solutions developed by leading RFID manufacturers. Our tech teams work with our clients to understand what technology is available and how to leverage the right technology for the business application.
Call us for a consultation, and can help you assess your current process of asset management and tracking, and then we will identify options that might uniquely help your operations to run better. Let us help you implement a thorough vision for moving from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow, and how EIM Sensor solutions can help you get there.