Regardless of the size of your business, everyone has a universal need for effective asset management and tracking. You want to know which assets are owned, who they’re being used by, or where they may be located. This is something that business owners across the globe need. Without effective tracking, the companies’ assets are incredibly vulnerable. And if that wasn’t bad enough, time spent searching for critical equipment can lead to expensive delays or downtime, missed deadlines and customer commitments, and wasted labor.
Traditionally, this problem was solved using serial numbers and large, unwieldy spreadsheets. As technology evolved, barcodes were the norm, allowing employees to keep track of a multitude of items with simple handheld devices. However, due to barcodes requiring line of sight reading ensured that employees had to be adept at gymnastics. Climbing ladders, crawling under desks, angling their arms a certain way – these were all par for the course when employees had to take inventory.
Thankfully RFID asset tracking technology takes care of this issue. By using electromagnetic fields to transmit data, this asset identification and tracking system makes life easier.
Wondering how that’s possible? It’s simple, really! An RFID asset tracking system is made up of three components –
- Asset Tracking Software
- RFID Tags
- RFID Readers
These three components work together to track assets and can be customized to address the needs of any business environment. Whether you are talking about office equipment in a multi-story building, tools and equipment in a factory, or pumping equipment in far-flung oil fields, RFID can provide accurate, real-time tracking data of your assets.
What’s even more impressive is that installing and using an asset tracking system is reasonably straightforward. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to use a system that allows you to know exactly where your assets. Here’s how easy and simple it is to use RFID based asset tracking –
Specific RFID tags are physically placed on your valuable assets.
RFID readers are tailor-fit to your business environment and installed at strategic points so that they can “read” the signals being broadcasted by the RFID tags.
The RFID tags assigned to your assets are imported into an asset tracking software. This software allows you to track and locate specific assets on-site from a laptop, remotely on your web browser, or even while on the go using your mobile device.
Another important facet of RFID asset tracking is the sheer variety of tags available. While early versions of RFID technology were limited in the types of environments they could be used in, thanks to technological advances, this is no longer an issue. Now a plethora of tags can be found that can be used in all sorts of locations. These days, you can find tags that can be used for wet environments or on metal assets, and even tags that can survive exposure to extreme temperatures, chemical contaminants, and other harsh environments.
In the interest of keeping it simple, however, we can split RFID tags into two broad categories – Passive Tags and Active Tags.
Passive tags are typically smaller and less expensive than their counterparts, but also suffer from a shorter read range. Since they do not having a power source of their own, they need to be powered by the radio frequency transmitted by RFID readers and antennas. However, thanks to their flexibility and cost-effectiveness, these tags can be attached to a much broader range than active tags.
Active tags, while being larger and more expensive than passive tags, are not as sturdy. These tags, which can have a read range of 100m in some instances, have a much shorter lifespan. However, thanks to their built-in power source, which is generally a battery, they can be attached to sensors that measure conditions like light, humidity and temperature. This ability makes them popular in harsher climes.
The profound versatility promised by RFID asset tracking, to say nothing of the ease with which it can be implemented, makes this a must-have technology in the business world. The ability to continually monitor your assets, in a multitude of locations and environments allows you to breathe a sigh of relief and focus on the more important things.