I came across this interesting “about” statement over at the Zebra Technologies website.
For a company that makes label printers (and some other things), this might seem to be rather odd. Stepping back a little and thinking of the actual uses of printed labels though, the idea of assets having a digital voice makes a lot of sense.
So what exactly is a “digital voice”? It means that an asset is able to communicate and to be able to pass on information. This information could be a description of the item, its condition, when it needs to have maintenance, where it is, where it is going, what its value is.
Since most items don’t have the ability to speak with us, we need to provide them with a little help. That can be as simple as as applying a label printed with a unique ID number.
By connecting this unique number to a back end database, we can keep all of the information pertaining to the item. This is exactly what the Department of Defense does with its IUID Marking Program, where every item has a unique ID number that is encoded into a 2D Datamatrix barcode. (You can learn more about this by downloading our MIL-STD-13o eBook)
If you are using a barcode or RFID based asset tracking system in your organization, you are using the same idea too.
Obviously using barcodes, the Digital Voice of our assets is rather passive – we get the embedded information, we have to interrogate the item with a barcode reader. Using RFID as the technology to carry the data adds another dimension – making it easier to retrieve data without relying on human intervention. This is the basis of the mythical Internet of Things.
The new V-Tag RFID tags from our partner Infinid Technologies really helps with item’s Digital Voice as well. Not only can they chat with us to let us know where they are, they can let us know their temperature, the humidity and the levels of shock and vibration they might have been subjected to.
Not only can our assets have a voice, they are starting to be pretty intelligent as well!
What about you? Do your assets talk to you? If you want them to, we can certainly help give them a voice!