RFID IT Asset Tracking & Management
What is ITAM?
Most companies have IT assets that are critical for the company’s prosperity such as computers, monitors, TVs, phones, tablets, routers, printers, and servers. IT assets are usually high value items and are either assigned to specific personnel or left in a public meeting room or area for shared utilization. Companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into these assets, and if they are not properly managed, they can easily be lost, stolen, or damaged due to negligence. IT asset replacement costs are typically the company’s responsibility - even if an employee is at fault. These costs can make a consequential impact on a monthly or yearly budget.
Fortunately, if IT assets are properly managed and maintained, they can last for years and provide a significant ROI. Managing these assets begins with uniquely identifying each asset - which is accomplished via RFID.
Examples of IT Assets
Smart Phones & Tablets
TVs & Monitors
Who Tracks IT Assets?
Companies that own IT assets and desire more visibility into their usage, movement, and locations would benefit from an RFID system that tracks IT assets. Because most companies opt for one specific type and model of IT asset for each employee and for shared locations, the majority of IT assets are visually identical. This means they can be challenging to distinguish from one another without consulting a serial number.
What Does an RFID IT Asset Tracking System Do?
Individual IT assets can be inventoried, assigned to personnel, monitored, and undergo scheduled maintenance and updates, which can be tracked and dated. An IT Asset Tracking System aims to reduce:
- Maintenance Costs
- Unnecessary Equipment Costs
- Lost & Stolen Equipment
- Unauthorized Equipment Use
- Vague Budgeting for IT Equipment
Does an RFID IT Asset System Provide Exact Location?
Typically, no. Most RFID IT Asset systems utilize passive RFID, which means they simply read an RFID tag’s information when the tag is within the system’s defined read range. Additional technology and RFID hardware can be added to a typical passive RFID system to provide an accurate location. GPS or Wi-Fi enabled tags can provide the location data, or additional hardware can be used to trilaterate the tag’s signal to provide a tagged item’s location. To learn more about real-time location systems, read our guide What is RTLS | An Introduction to Real-Time Location Systems.
Although real-time location can be achieved in IT Asset tracking systems, the majority of companies aren’t looking for the asset’s specific location, or location at all times. Most companies that deploy RFID IT Asset tracking systems are content with reading an IT asset’s tag data at significant points in the building. These points could be building exits, stairwells, and/or in shared meeting rooms. Simply reading the RFID tags at these points allows a company to confirm that the asset is in the building and also provides the last known read point, time, and date.
How to Tag IT Assets
Fortunately, when deciding on the ideal IT asset tag, the options can typically be refined because of the tag requirements. Below are the three most important tag requirements for general IT assets.
Item Material - Most IT Assets are made of metal or contain metal components. In order to receive any read range, these assets should be tagged with a metal-mount tag.
Form Factor - IT Assets are used frequently, and a large, bulky tag has potential to interfere with use. In addition, a hefty tag on the side or back of an asset has a high chance of being knocked off during use or in transit. It is usually recommended to use a thin, small RFID tag like an inlay or label.
Attachment Method - Many attachment methods can be eliminated because they would damage the IT asset, such as welding, rivets, screws or bolts, and embedding. Methods like shrink wrap, cable ties, straps, hanging, and sewing are either too rugged or not applicable for most IT assets. The most popular attachment methods for this application are general purpose or extra strength adhesives because of the simplicity and available options.
By considering the item material, form factor, and attachment method, the tag options can easily be narrowed down to one specific grouping -metal-mount labels. These RFID labels are customizable, printable, and can be inexpensive in medium to high quantities, making these labels ideal for IT asset tracking.
IT Asset Management: A Quick Look
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