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RFID Laptop Tracking Sees Adoption

The cost of stolen laptops is going up, and the market is looking to RFID for help. Vector Networks this week announced the addition of an RFID-based asset tracking application to its suite of offerings. The solution allows enterprises to quickly locate and track valuable assets such as laptops that are constantly moved from one location to another.
Nov 07, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

November 7, 2006—The cost of stolen laptops is going up, and RFID is being sought as a solution. Vector Networks of Duluth, Georgia, this week announced the addition of an RFID-based asset tracking application to its suite of offerings. Called the Vector Asset Locator, or VAL, the solution allows enterprises to quickly locate and track valuable assets such as laptops that are constantly moved from one location to another.

According to Vector Networks' product manager Chris Jackson, the company saw physical asset protection as a natural extension to their existing portfolio of enterprise IT management services, which included software delivery, inventorying hardware and software devices connected to organizations' networks, and ensuring software compliance. Based on the increasing instances of lost IT assets in the news, Vector perceived an opportunity to address a worsening client pain point. This perception was validated by demand from existing clients for physical asset protection.

The active RFID-based solution allows an organization to send an alert when a tagged laptop has been moved outside a prescribed perimeter. Also, tags can be associated with particular employee badges, so that an alert is triggered when a tagged object is detected without the accompaniment of approved personnel. The tags include tamper- and removal-protection as well.

The solution uses technology from Axcess International. Tags cost in the $4 to $10 range, and the entire VAL solution pricing is correlated to the number of assets an organization wishes to tag and track. VAL will be available by the end of this year.

Prudential Fox & Roach, an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, looks ready to deploy it. "With 64 offices and 3,700 sales associates, managing our IT assets is incredibly important," said Prudential Fox & Roach infrastructure engineer Tory Skyers. "Adding RFID tracking to Vector's asset management solution will be a great way to know when and where a hardware asset has been moved to, or whether it has left the premises, and to mitigate the chance of sensitive assets being stolen or inappropriately used."

There is a trend in corporate IT that while the cost of hardware has decreased (laptops fall in price every year), the real value of such assets has actually risen as employees store more and more sensitive information on them. Research firm Gartner Group has estimated that a lost or stolen laptop can cost an organization $6,000 when all hard costs are factored in, like hardware, software, and recovery time. But depending on the data contents of the laptop, the cost can be many thousands -- or even millions -- more. Information like an organization's sales pipeline, client list, or key intellectual property is invaluable.

Hackers and other nefarious elements are taking advantage, as evidenced by the steady flow of stories about disappearing laptops that include valuable corporate information. And it's not just laptops, noted Vector's Jackson. There have been stories of desktop theft as well.

Read the announcement from Vector Networks
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