asset tracking
101

asset tracking 101

Throughout the centuries, humans have been keeping track of their assets.And while that fundamental part of existence hasn’t changed, the methodologies of asset tracking, have. 

Two of the most popular methods of asset tracking are RFID and Barcode labeling, both methods relying on physically attaching tags to the assets that are to be tracked.

RFID

There are two types of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that can be affixed to physical assets - “passive”and “active.”

Active tags require a battery that continuously broadcasts a signal with longer read ranges while passive tags do not require an internal power source and are instead powered by the electromagnetic energy transmitted from an RFID reader. Passive tags remain silent until energized by a scanner which then reads the unique code, reducing extraneous signals.

Passive / Active Tag Similarities

-      Both use electromagnetic energy.
-      Neither need to be in the line-of-sight of assets being tracked.
-      Both enable readers to detect and identify objects.
-      Both can monitor and record sensor data.

Passive / Active Tag Differences

-      Passive tags have a read range of 20 feet (handheld readers) to 40 feet (fixed readers), while active tags can have a read range as large as 750 feet. It should be noted, however, that longer read ranges can create an issue with signal interference and the unintended reading of other tagged assets in the area.

-      Passive tags have an unlimited lifespan while the battery-powered active tags last between 1 - 3 years.

-      Passive tags are less expensive,generally ranging between $0.16 and $2.50 a piece while active tags can run between $30 - $80.

-      Passive tags are used on a broader range of assets due to coming in a larger range of sizes - some are small enough to be put on bees or ants in research situations - while active tags are typically larger.

barcode

Barcode labels require the use of an optical scanner which decodes and interprets the label’s black bars, which represent a series of numbers. This data contains information such as manufacturer, product names, and information like price in the case of a retail setting.

While barcode labels are less expensive thanRFID tags and can be printed in-house, there are disadvantages to using a barcode system and barcoding scanners, which include: 

-      Short read range (about 10 inches)
-      Requires a direct line-of-sight to asset.
-      Items must be scanned individually
-      Labels are easily damaged 

rfid vs barcode

-      An RFID system allows remote scanning, with larger read ranges.
-      RFID allows simultaneous tag reads.
-      RFID tags are more durable.
-      Information on RFID tags can be updated, while barcode labels require replacement.
-      RFID tags can hold more detailed data and are more secure.

It’s important to note that there are advantages and disadvantages to any technological method of asset tracking, but all of them are infinitely more reliable and cost-effective than an employee with a pen and paper. Our technical experts can help you determine what solution would best fit your unique needs.

did you know?

-      Organizations that accurately manage assets will achieve 20% cost savings per managed asset within nine months.

-      64% of business conduct manual searches for inventory or assets at least once a day. It’s time to get a leg upon your competition.

-      30% of organizations without asset tracking do not know what they own, where their assets are located, and who is using them.

-      79% of employees will steal from their employers at least once, typically by exploiting a flaw in asset tracking methodologies (or lack thereof).

These are just a few of the statistics which support the notion that implementing a modern asset tracking method is not only important, it’s smart.

No matter the size of your organization, no matter the industry, or the scale of the need - Enasys has a solution. Contact one of our technical experts today and let us reduce the time of your asset tracking activities by 90%.

ASSET TRACKING DEFINITIONS

Active Directory Users
People defined within a network to assign security access.

Active RFID Tags
Active RFID tags use a battery  that continuously  broadcasts their own signal and have longer read ranges.

Asset
Any item of value, which can be tracked

Asset Check In/Out
Assignment of ownership or responsibility of an asset to a person and tracking when the asset is returned.

Asset Data Import
Adding data (assets) to an asset tracking application from an external source, such as a spreadsheet

Asset Inventory
The comprehensive identification of an organization's assets including but not limited to quantity, location, tag ID information, timestamp, any inventory movement, and possibly the current location.

Asset Inventory Event
Search for assets and their location to determine assets existence and location. When conducting an Asset Inventory, scan-events are logged and noted for the selected inventory. Multiple inventories may occur simultaneously. As an example, teams of people could inventory different buildings.

Asset Lifecycle/History
A list of actions and events for an asset from the time the asset enters a system to the time it is rendered obsolete and removed.

Asset Search
Identifying an asset by name, attribute, or by scanning an enrolled tag.

Asset View
List view: Assets are displayed in a grid.
Tree view: Assets are listed in a hierarchy such as: Building, floor, room, etc.

Barcode Tag
Tags that use a series of lines or dots to communicate data to a barcode scanner.

Cables
Cables can be braided or solid and vary in thickness. The length of cable that you plan on running will determine what cable to choose for the least amount of db loss returning to the readers.

Chip Sets
Monza chips sets provide features such as extended memory, additional privacy and enhanced performance.

Color-Coding Tags
Tags that use color as a way to quickly identify grouping or filing methodologies.

Combination tags
Tags that use a combination of barcode, RFID, color coding, and other methods combined into a single tag.

Encoding RFID
Enasys uses GS1 specifications , GIAI-202, GIAI-96  to encode tags.

Enrolled Tag
Associating an asset with a tag.

Export
Summarize data in an Excel spreadsheet or other such form for integration with other systems for report manipulation. Exporting data can be created manually or automated.

FIPS Compliance
The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) is a U.S. government computer security standard used to approve cryptographic modules.

HIPPA Compliance
HIPPA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which sets the standard for protecting sensitive patient data.

Last Known Event
A summary view of an asset’s last know event, such as: Inventory, check in/out, movement past an antenna portal, etc.

Last Known Location
An event that shows an asset’s last known location, which could be during an inventory, antenna portal event, etc.

Location
An asset which is also a container for other assets, such as a building or cabinet.

Origin RFID Reader
A patented processes for optimizing RFID read events and communicating those events to a computer for processing, increasing logic and lowering network traffic.

Orphan Tag
A tag that is scanned and not listed in the asset tracking database.

Parent/Child Asset Hierarchy
Within an asset hierarchy, asset can be arranged in a Parent/Child relationship. Such as: City, Campus, Buildings, Floor, Room, Asset. The Parent/Child hierarchy of assets can have any depth and is not limited to specific asset-types.

Passive RFID Tags
Uses no internal power source and are powered by electromagnetic energy transmitted from an RFID reader.

Permissions
Asset access:
Who can view or edit an asset’s details
Asset access expiration: Security access to an asset can have a date limit. When the permission expires, the user will no longer have asset access to view, check out, edit, etc.
Asset management role: Roles are specific tasks which are performed with assets, like: Inventory, Check In/Out assets to other users, view, etc.

RAIN RFID
A wireless technology that connects everyday Items to the internet.

Record Management
From active files to archive to destruction, Enasys provides a start to finish solution for record management.

RFID Antennas
Polarized: RFID Tag orientation matters and might not be read if the tag is turned 90 degrees.
Circular polarized: Can read tags turned between 0 and 360 degrees.
Near field: Read range is limited to a few inches.
Far field: Able to read tags at a maximum range based on environmental conditions.

RFID frequency
Radio signal used to communicate RFID data (read about rfid frequency here).
Individual countries regulate signal power and signal frequencies used by RFID Read about signal power regulation here.

RFID Readers
Fixed/Portal: Fixed portals do not move and track asset movements within a pinch-point or general location.
Handheld: Mobile scanners used for identifying and tracking assets. In some cases, software can determine location and assign a “Last Known Location” of an asset.

RFID Tag
Metal mount tag: Tag specifically designed to eliminate interference and optimize the communication of the tag when placed on a metal item.
General use or paper tag: Tags that are used on surfaces that do not interfere with the RFID signal, like paper and cardboard

User
A person who participates in asset tracking or ownership/responsibility of an asset.

User Groups
A processes for bundling security access for groups of users.

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