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1/7/2009
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Banks Ordering Pre-Tagged RFID Computer Gear

The industry might be leading a trend that will convince companies in other sectors to track their IT assets using RFID technology.

Wells Fargo has already implemented more than 100,000 RFID tags on its IT assets, including computer servers, laptops, storage, and networking gear, over the last year, said Mike Russo, Wells Fargo's senior VP of automated identification technologies.

Those tags meet the FSTC standards emerging for the banking industry. However, because computer vendors until now haven't shipped their products with these tags attached, Wells Fargo had to manually stick on the tags to each piece of computer equipment.

That was a lot of work. But the bigger challenge was developing interfaces between the RFID technology and Wells Fargo's various software systems, including its accounts payable programs and inventory systems, said Russo.

Fricke expects software vendors also will begin adding RFID interfaces to their banking industry software. "They're missing the boat if they don't," he said.

Already, the rollout of RFID tags is making IT asset tracking more efficient and cost-effective at Wells Fargo, said Russo. In the past, the company relied on bar-code scanners to take IT asset inventory. However, the scanners had to be manually swiped near "thousands of computer racks" just the right way.

Now, the information is automatically transmitted from the RFID tags to antennas and the data gets fed into inventory, order entry, and other systems, said Russo. Wells Fargo's physical portals also are wired to recognize when shipments of computer gear donning the tags arrive at Wells Fargo loading sites. This helps ensure that equipment reaches the right locations and aren't misplaced, he said.

Meanwhile, one of the advantages for computer vendors in pre-tagging their gear is that they can be compensated sooner for purchases because customers' financial systems can be automatically updated when shipments arrive, said Fricke.

"It's a win-win for everyone," he said.

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