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Chinese Banks Track Assets, Cash and VIP Customers

China Construction Bank is using EPC Gen 2 tags to monitor servers at its data center, while the Bank of China is employing active 433 MHz tags to identify the arrival of cashboxes and important clients at its branches.
By Dave Friedlos
Mar 30, 2009RCG Holdings, an RFID products and services supplier focused on the Asia Pacific markets, has launched three new RFID-based systems at two of China's largest banks, to help those financial institutions improve security and enhance customer service. The rollouts are among the first of their kind in the financial services sector, according to RCG, and are part of the company's plan to introduce radio frequency identification to banks across the region.

The Hong Kong-based firm is currently rolling out an asset-tracking system to track and trace valuable IT equipment at China Construction Bank's (CCB) data center, and is also delivering cashbox tracking and VIP management systems to the Bank of China. Both banks declined to provide comments for this story. Sri Hartati Kurniawan, RCG's chief technology officer, says the RFID provider is already in talks with other financial sector businesses.

"Once other financial services companies see that their competition is using advanced technology, they will realize the benefits that it can bring," Kurniawan says. "For RCG, developing first-of-their-kind systems has had its challenges, but future rollouts will be easier, and we expect to introduce RFID at other financial institutions."

CCB is currently testing RCG's Asset and Data Security Management system at the bank's data center—the first such rollout in the financial services sector, RCG claims—and expects the system to be fully operational within three months. Passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags are attached to IT assets. These tags operate at 900 to 930 MHz, comply with the EPC Class 1 Gen 2 standard and are specialized for use in the presence of metal, which can interfere with RF signals. The system combines location monitoring and tracking, data security, and access control to improve the security of the bank's IT assets within its premises.

"CCB is a large bank, and its data center includes thousands of valuable assets, with the number of assets increasing rapidly," Kurniawan explains. "It can be difficult to manage so many assets and know who is moving equipment where. The bar-code system is simply not good enough for tracking such goods, as it is unable to monitor them in real time."

Knowing where IT assets are at all times can improve efficiency, Kurniawan says, and reduce costs since time is not wasted tracking down valuable assets when they are required. It also prevents the unnecessary purchasing of replacements when equipment is just misplaced.

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