One of the most common questions we receive from organizations as they tackle hardware asset management (HAM) and IT Asset Management (ITAM) initiatives is around the use of RFID and what it costs.

The truth is, RFID works very well for some asset categories. For others, it is ineffective and expensive.

Data Center Assets Track Nicely With RFID

There are many cases of successful RFID implementations in the data center for a few reasons:

  • There is sufficient real-estate on the asset for a larger tag needed for good reads.
  • The density of a data center makes using RFID helpful in saving time doing audits.
  • The cost of the assets justifies the additional cost of RFID tags and readers.

Most End User Assets Do Not Work Well With RFID

End user equipment is a totally different story. With our extensive asset tracking experience, we simply haven’t found options that consistently work.

An RFID tag must fit on the item it’s used to track and that tag must be read by the readers it passes by. The material, size, and shape of the tag all affect its read performance.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Tags that are low profile, like the Xerafy Slim Trak, fit on the bezel of a laptop. The sleekness seems promising and practical. Unfortunately, they have been extremely unreliable. Most users report less than a 50% read rate thus completely negating the point of using RFID.
  • End users won’t accept a tag on their laptop, phone or device that is large enough to be read by an RFID reader within a reasonable distance. Imagine putting this brick on your iPhone.
  • Large bulky tags make it challenging to stack laptops in a stockroom. The laptops themselves interfere with the tag read, so you still won’t get the read rates you need to make it worth it.

Barcode is Often Best for End User Assets

End users will accept barcodes on their end user computing assets, and barcodes work very well to automate asset tracking tasks. Receiving, stockroom inventories, check-in/check-out, audit and disposal activities are greatly enhanced using barcode devices.

Our Organization uses RFID and Barcode.

Software like AssetTrack for SeviceNow bridges the gap, allowing companies to track assets with both barcode and RFID devices. This way, you can use the tags and readers that are practical for the job, and not be forced into one or the other.

Plan Ahead

When planning asset tracking implementations, take practicality into account. What works well in an RFID sales presentation doesn’t necessarily mean it works well in reality. Time and time again we see RFID projects fail in the real world.

What’s been your experience?

Contact AMI to learn more about ways to improve and implement a hardware asset tracking strategy.

About Asset Management International

Established in 2003, Asset Management International (AMI) provides barcode and RFID asset tracking solutions that help companies receive, track, audit, and report on assets to make informed decisions with confidence. AMI’s flagship product, AssetTrack, uses cutting-edge data capture and reconciliation technology to maintain accurate asset data organization-wide. AssetTrack is used as a stand-alone comprehensive IT asset management solution as well as alongside industry leading vendors including ServiceNow, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Computer Associates. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, AMI serves enterprise clients throughout the world including United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. Visit www.amitracks.com for more information.

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