Why NFC Tags Should Be Considered for Assets and Inventory Tracking

Asset Tracking Software / December 2021

NFC is a well-established method used for tracking assets and managing inventory. By transmitting data using radio waves, NFC technology communicates across a wide range of devices. In practice, it’s an effective way to send messages between electronic tags and readers. Many of us use NFC in our daily lives via our smartphones. But NFC is also well-used as an asset tracking system. Like many tracking systems, it provides several benefits for asset managers.

The Basics of NFC Tracking

NFC stands for Near Field Communication and is a subset of RFID technology. Unlike RFID technology, NFC offers two-way communication. Transmitting communication between electronic devices and tags. NFC tags can store up to 4KB of data in various formats.

As a form of short-range technology, NFC is a standard feature on smartphones. Meaning around a 5th of the world’s population uses it. In many ways, NFC is leading the consumer fintech digital transformation. Especially in the form of contactless payments and ‘tap to pay’ apps.

While it’s used for making payments, NFC has other capabilities when it comes to asset tags. With a small size and no need for battery power, NFC tags can be fixed to all types of assets. They rely only on the battery power of mobile devices to send radio frequencies. Some key uses of NFC include:

  • Contactless Payments
  • Identity Verification
  • Secure Entry to Events
  • Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
  • Hotel Management

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How Does Asset Tracking Work With NFC?

Since NFC tags can be embedded on a wide range of items, it makes them more convenient for asset tracking.

Smartphones are an obvious example of an NFC reader device. But asset tag readers can come in a variety of forms. Some are fixed to passageways and doors or even vehicles, for instance.

How NFC asset tracking works with NFC tags
Source: st.com

For effective and convenient asset tracking, handheld and smartphone devices connect via Wi-Fi systems. This way, they can store received information in a central IT system.

NFC is effective in asset management as asset tags carry unique identifier codes. Because NFC systems work via cloud systems, they enable managers to access data from wherever they may be.

Since tags are attached directly to assets, once the asset is used and returned, asset managers get a precise, real-time update on its use and location via asset tracking software. Overall, NFC drives faster processing speeds, better accuracy, and safer interactions for asset management.

Benefits of Using NFC Tags to Track Assets

There are many benefits of using NFC tags when it comes to tracking assets. Key benefits of NFC tags include:

Convenience

NFC infrastructure is enabled through the communication of readers and tags. This allows smartphones or tablets to be used as handheld readers.

Security

When NFC asset tags are affixed to buildings, security personnel can use their phones to tap them. Accessing real-time asset data from offices and storage facilities.

Lack of Need to Retrain Staff

NFC apps use Single Page Application (SPA) that fits on a single mobile or tablet screen. NFC systems are also easy to integrate with existing systems.

Fast Processing

NFC doesn’t require a line of sight between the reader and the tag. All that’s needed is a single, simple tap on the reader screen.

Low Running Costs

The use of smartphones to enable NFC reduces the need for additional digital infrastructure.

How Is NFC Tracking Different from Other Tagging Technologies?

NFC is an effective way to track assets. But, how does it compare with other types of asset tracking technologies.

NFC Tracking vs. QR Codes

Tracking assets with QR codes offer several benefits. Such as low running costs and user familiarity. But they need a higher degree of visibility than NFC tags to transmit information. QR codes don’t carry the same degree of security that NFC tags do either. Neither do they offer the convenience of scanning, since QR codes require an app to work.

NFC vs. RFID

Both tags are similar in that they’re based on short-range radio frequencies. RFID ranges from small, high, and ultra-high, whereas NFC frequency is just high. It contains a tag, an antenna, and a reader. But the advantage of an NFC device is that it can act as both a reader and a tag. While RFID is effective for asset tracking, NFC offers more versatility for other uses.

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