5. Asset Tagging

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NFC Asset Management. Image : bugphai / 123RF

This is a relatively obvious use case for NFC tags but, to date, has been a surprisingly small element of the market. So, let’s explore the benefits.

Traceability

Using NFC tags allows the user, via a mobile phone, to get instantly check and log assets. For businesses with a large number of assets to track, the ability for any user with a mobile phone to scan their current items provides and instant and quick way of gathering asset information.

Accuracy

One of the significant benefits of NFC tags over more traditional methods of simple ID stickers is the accuracy provided. An NFC tag scanned by a mobile phone cannot be accidentally recorded incorrectly. In addition, the near field nature of NFC tags mean that there is unlikely to be any accidental and non-intentional scanning of objects.

Security

One of the biggest issues is of course that NFC tags can be removed and/or placed on other items. Tamper proof NFC tags have been around for a while but now there’s a new generation of tamper detection NFC tags which will detect removal or tampering. There’s also the new authentication level tags which are almost impossible to clone.

Advanced monitoring

In addition to the new generations of authentication and tamper detection tags, there are also an increasing range of environmental monitoring NFC tags.

Identiv’s uTrust Sense Temperature Tracker. Image : Identiv

These smart tags can monitor aspects such as temperature on an ongoing basis and report this with each scan. For items such as food or medicine it allows an easy way for anyone with a mobile to check the goods along the supply chain.

NFC tags nemesis – metal

One of the downsides with using NFC tags for asset tagging is NFC tag’s dislike of metal surfaces. This means one of two things. Either the regular tags can’t be placed directly on metal or special ‘on-metal’ NFC tags for metal surfaces need to be used. Or in some cases, even a combination of the two. This can sometimes be logistically difficult as the person attaching the tags may not be aware of this restriction. Unfortunately, this is probably the biggest disadvantage with NFC for asset tagging and one that is inherent with the technology.

Why it makes the top 10

In a word, tracability. In a similar way to proof of compliance on round management, the ability to be sure that assets are where they should be and are there at all is a complex task. And it’s made a lot easier when the checking is all real time and doesn’t require expensive scanner devices. It’s still a small area of the NFC tag market, but NFC.Today don’t expect it to stay that way for long.

 

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