No matter where you are reading this, there is a good chance a new data center recently opened — or is under construction — near you. Earlier this year Facebook built a new data center in the Artic Circle so it could save on cooling costs. New investments have been flowing to Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of Africa where more than a dozen IT and business process service providers operate. Dozens of new data centers continue to open each year in India, the Philippines, China and other leading outsourcing destinations. Meanwhile, there has been a data center construction boom in mature IT markets like the U.S., U.K., Germany and Canada because data security regulations and privacy concerns have made companies reluctant to send their data offshore.
Why talk about data centers in an RFID blog? Because RFID has found a home in the data center monitoring and tracking assets. RFID is the ideal technology to meet an enterprise’s need to account for its servers, drives, storage media and other IT assets at all times to meet Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, PCI, EU, Data Protection Directive and other regulations.
Our recent post on RFID’s role in healthcare data protection highlighted some of the record fines that have been issued and other consequences of when drives and servers are unaccounted for. RFID can prevent these problems, and its business value for data center asset tracking has been proven time and again. Enterprise customers, IT equipment makers and outsourcing service providers are all interested in expanding their use of RFID to protect data center assets. Continue reading
RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags are used today in a variety of ways, helping to track items in warehouses and automatically bill drivers at tollbooths. In sectors like healthcare, metal RFID tags are also being used in new and innovative ways.
Healthcare is undergoing rapid adoption using RFID to track and manage assets in hospitals. Already in use for equipment such as beds, wheelchairs and infusion pumps, RFID tags have been helping hospitals to locate and account for these items, and to meet the challenges of efficient storage and prevention of theft. They are used as well in access control, file tracking, patient tracking and medication management. But now with RFID for surgical instruments they are also helping to meet a different challenge: how to avoid leaving surgical instruments in a patient’s body after an operation, oversights which can lead to serious complications or a need to re-operate. Continue reading
The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly gone from being an interesting concept to something that is influencing business decisions and investment. Today 76 percent of large companies worldwide are exploring the Internet of Things, and 41 percent of C-Suite executives discuss IoT at least monthly according to “The Internet of Things Business Index,” a very interesting and readable new study produced by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The fact that the highly respected The Economist is tracking the IoT suggests the technology has moved beyond hype and is a real issue for businesses. In another strong validation of the IoT market, last week Intel created its Internet of Things Solution Group, a new business unit that reports directly to the CEO.
RFID will be a fundamental technology for the growing Internet of Things. Embedded RFID tags make objects visible to networks and bring intelligence to objects. RFID can serve as the link between the physical and cloud environments, and businesses are only starting to understand how to take advantage of it. Continue reading
U.S. healthcare reform is creating more than political debate and citizen frustration over the troubled healthcare insurance enrollment website. It is creating new business requirements for healthcare organizations to improve the security of their data centers. A few days before the new U.S. health insurance website launched, failed, and dominated the headlines, the HITECH Act and its new data protection laws quietly took effect. The law increases potential fines for a data breach to $1.5 million – up from $50,000 before the new law – and extends liability beyond doctors, hospitals and labs to include their IT service providers, billing agencies and any other business associates that handle patient information.
The implications of the HITECH Act provide a good opportunity for solution providers to talk to their customers and contacts about the value of using RFID for IT asset management. RFID is a proven tool for tracking IT assets, providing documentation of their location and for triggering real-time alarms for unauthorized asset movements. Xerafy and its partners have been innovative leaders in creating these types of IT security solutions, and healthcare is a leading market for them. Earlier this year the Alaska Department of Health & Human Services was fined $1.7 million for a HITECH Act violation because medical records were compromised after a portable hard drive was stolen from its data center. Continue reading
GS1 published Version 1.7 of the Electronic Product Code Tag Data Standard this year, which in the future will enable auto manufacturers to receive a RFID-tagged components and parts with a standardized EPC from their various suppliers.
Until version 1.7, there was no standard for tracking materials and component parts within a diverse supply chain. However, GS1 has solved this by introducing a new type of EPC called the Component/Part Identifier (CPI). The CPI combines a unique company prefix issued to each carmaker with the individual part number, to create an overall part number that is globally unique. Continue reading