Are There Any RFID Tags Made Specifically for Computing Devices?

Intel-Core-vPro-motherboard-RFID-blogThere are RFID tags designed specifically to be placed on a motherboard, or on any printed circuit board, for tracking work-in-process, and to store data about the board.

Intel has developed a platform that integrates the RFID transponder with the central processing unit (CPU) via a wired connection on the board. The chip in the RFID transponder is designed with extra memory dedicated to the processor, creating what Intel describes as “processor-secured storage,” in which data can be stored safely and activated when needed. The information on the chip can be written to or accessed by the Intel processor via an inter-integrated circuit (I2C) interface, which is a semiconductor industry standard, and from an external handheld or fixed RFID reader.

This integration between the RFID tag and the motherboard creates the opportunity to add new functionality to devices that use it. One application is called “lock in transit.” The CPU is locked so the device cannot be turned on after it is manufactured, which makes it less attractive to thieves. Once it arrives at a store and is purchased, the retailer can transmit a security code to the device in order to unlock it. Retailers and device manufacturers could also let consumers customize the device. For instance, they could send, through the RFID transponder, a customized message to display when the device starts up, such as “Happy Birthday, Mom.” This could be accomplished without opening the device.

In September, Intel released its fourth-generation Core vPro computer processor with a built-in AeroScout active RFID Wi-Fi tag, enabling what Intel calls indoor location-based services (LBS). That, according to AeroScout, means that a computing device using the vPro Generation 4 platform can be located if it comes within range of an enterprise Wi-Fi network, and can be programmed to change its own settings based on that device’s location. Such devices can also identify the locations of other laptops and tablets containing the new processor, as well as assets fitted with AeroScout Wi-Fi RFID tag.