How much time does your company spend looking for lost items per year?
V-Tag Asset Tracking
Asset tracking is a concern for many businesses and government departments. Although a company may have many high value assets on its books, these assets are of little or no use if they cannot be located. In addition, if employees have to spend valuable time locating assets, the added costs to the enterprise can be a burden. For example, a hospital may have to send staff searching through its facility looking for unused wheelchairs or stretchers to meet its patient needs at peak times. Perhaps a technician is delayed running key tests for airline maintenance because the test equipment cannot be located in a timely manner.
The solution is asset tracking using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). In this white paper, we compare two approaches for tracking assets:
V-Tag Active RFID
V-Tag Active RFID tags from InfinID Technologies are battery powered tags that have a read range of up to 300 feet. In addition, when the tag powers up, it coordinates with other tags to form a mesh network for communications purposes. Location is done by using fixed position tags that never move. The asset tags then calculate distances to those fixed position tags based on radio signal strength. V-Tag RFID tags were introduced to the market in 2013.
Passive RFID uses small tags similar to the security tags seen in stores. Each tag does not contain a battery. Instead it is energized by radio energy from a nearby reader. Tag read range is limited to 10-20 feet depending on the size of the tag and the size of the reader. These tags have been available for more than 20 years and come in a variety of sizes and form factors.
There are four key advantages to using the V-Tag active tag solution compared to passive RFID tags.
The V-Tag active tag solution had a big advantage over a passive RFID solution because it avoids the need to place fixed readers at every key chokepoint within a building. These readers can cost thousands of dollars each. Each reader needs to be supplied with network connectivity either wireless or wired as well as power. If the desired granularity of item location is small, then many readers must be deployed. In contrast, the V-Tag active tags coordinate to form their own mesh network for communications purposes, eliminating the need for expensive readers. A single low cost V-Tag gateway unit per floor is sufficient to relay asset location information to a central database.
Ease of Installation
A second advantage of the V-Tag active tag solution over a passive RFID is ease of installation. A passive RFID installation needs many fixed readers to function efficiently. Each reader must be supplied with network connectivity either wireless or wired, as well as power. As you can imagine, the planning and installation for a large facility can take weeks or months and the expense and inconvenience can be enormous. In contrast, the V-Tag active tags are battery powered and are self networking. Installation involves attaching fixed position tags to walls with no need for any wires. Installation in a large facility can be completed in 1-2 days!
Ability to locate an asset to room level
The third and most important advantage is that V-Tag active tags allow for item location to room level. If you tried to do this with passive tags, you would need an expensive reader at the door of each room. In contrast, with V-Tag, the tracked asset shows up as a dot within a room on a map display, and can be tracked from room to room as the asset location changes.
V-Tag active tags can take periodic sensor measurements of the environment including temperature, battery level and light level. All V-Tag tags incorporate a sensitive acceleration sensor to detect tag movement. The tags can be configured with thresholds to provide immediate alerts whenever tags are moved from their current location or environmental limits are exceeded. In contrast, passive tags are unpowered when at a distance from the reader, and therefore cannot take periodic sensor measurements or generate alerts.
V-Tag Active RFID tags are easy to deploy. One option is to deploy V-Tag as a turnkey system using InfinID Technologies AssetWorx! software, which is a fully featured asset management system including a map display, asset database and label printing capabilities.
AssetWorx! is web based and can be accessed in the field from mobile web browsers running on smartphones or tablets. Alternatively V-Tag Active RFID tags may be incorporated as a location reporting component in a legacy system using the V-Tag SDK (Software Development Kit) which is based on Microsoft .NET.
If you would like to know more about the V-Tag asset tracking solution, please contact:
Email: Chuck.Stygar@InfinidTech.com, Tel: (626) 793-2019 x206.