State Department deploys electronic asset-tracking system

The State Department plans to tag 10,000 mission-critical technology assets with passive radio frequency identification (RFID) devices to save money, increase security and reduce administrative burden.

The UHF Gen 2.0 passive tags State will use are based on the same standard in use by the Defense Department and other agencies. They are manufactured by Ashburn, Va.-based ODIN.

“After using bar code and thousands of labor-hours to track assets for the past 20 years, it is well past time for a new technology,” said Kirk Ingvoldstad, chief of the Desktop Support Services Division at State's Bureau of Information Resource Management, noting that the new technology would provide greater security and lower costs.

RFID tags can store far more data than a traditional bar code, allowing users to track individual items as they move from location to location. Bar codes are limited to a single type code for a particular product.

The tags consist of an integrated circuit for storing and processing information, usually a serial number, and an antenna for sending and receiving the information. Passive RFID tags have no battery and require an external source (i.e. RFID reader) to transmit information.

About the Authors

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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