Radio-frequency controlled - Asset-ID

Asset ID - Information Brief (April 1998) 

See > AssetCare

Worth remembering

What is Asset ID?

Asset ID applies the convenience of radio-frequency technologies to the challenge of managing PCs. The essential component of Asset ID is a radio-frequency interface within each PC that is linked with a system EEPROM. The Asset ID antenna enables communication between the PC and industry standard radio frequency handheld devices (1). The Asset ID EEPROM contains information about the system, including its configuration and the serial numbers of key components. The Asset ID EEPROM also includes a number of blank fields you can record with your choice of end user information.

You can think of Asset ID as the next generation of "bar code" technology, with considerably more convenience and functionality. An Asset ID scanner, for instance, does not need to be pointed at a label, it can read signals whenever it is in close proximity to a radio frequency antenna, even if the PC is still in its carton. And Asset ID does more than just read data-it can also be used to write information to the system's EEPROM chip.

IBM is implementing Asset ID initially in select IBM PCs and IntelliStations. Handheld units will be made available from Asset ID Partners, thirdparty companies who have worked closely with IBM to ensure the compatibility of this technology with industry standards.

A listing of Asset ID Partners is available at

Automatic deployment

Imagine receiving a shipment of 50 PCs at your loading dock. Your job is to check the shipment, set up the PCs and ensure that the software each end user needs is loaded on to the appropriate machine. Your boss wants to know when you can have them set up and ready to operate. What do you tell him?

If you had purchased an average PC, the job of deploying fifty of them could take days, or even weeks, depending on how many staff support you have. Fortunately, you bought IBM PCs, so you can look your manager in the eye and say, "I'll have them set up by tomorrow morning."

You know that these IBM PCs are equipped with Asset ID, the latest in a long line of innovations from IBM that help make networked PCs easier to manage. Asset ID is an adaptation of radio-frequency technology that enables you to read and write information to a system EEPROM using a handheld unit.

So, while the PCs are still on the loading dock, before they have even been unpacked from their cartons, you can use your handheld unit to read each system EEPROM to determine its configuration. Based on the system's configuration, you can write who the end user will be and record their software requirements (e.g., this machine has 32MB RAM and a 4.5GB hard drive, so it is assigned to Beth in Marketinq, who needs the standard marketing software image.)


Once the systems are unpacked and plugged in, the rest of your job can be completed from a management console using IBM's LANClient Control Manager software and Wake on LAN technology. You can easily program a routine that turns each system on, reads the Asset ID-programmed software requirements, downloads the appropriate operating system image, and then powers the system off.

Your boss may think you are going to have to work all night to meet your goal. In fact, you can go home and get a good night's sleep while the LCCM routine is running. Your users can come in the next morning and be instantly productive. It doesn't get any easier.

Quick - and - accurate inventory

Asset ID can dramatically reduce the time required to physically inventory your systems, while providing better information than is available from barcode systems. The handheld unit can read data whenever it is placed near a PC, so you no longer have to search for a barcode label.

Since Asset ID is connected to a system EEPROM that contains up-to-the minute information about system components, your inventory can be as detailed and as accurate as if you had removed the chassis and personally inspected each processor, DIMM and hard drive. And an inventory taken using Asset ID can also include system data you have recorded on the EEPROM, such as the identity of the end user and the expiration date of the equipment's lease.


The next time you need to do a physical inventory, you can simply walk around the premises with your handheld radio frequency reader/writer. This reader/writer can read the complete, up-to-date system information through the Asset ID interface. Critical system data such as user ID, lease expiration date and configuration information can be read in seconds Since the Asset ID tag contains complete, up-to-date information about the system and its components, as well as the information you have entered, such as user ID or lease expiration date, you can get a more complete and accurate inventory, with less effort, than ever before.

Improve security measures

Asset ID offers a unique way to protect your PCs when used in conjunction with today's increasingly popular radio-frequency security systems. Handheld scanners from Asset ID Partners can be programmed to read the Asset ID radio frequency antenna inside an IBM PC. Security personnel can scan both an employee's badge and an Asset ID-enabled PC to log the system and its contents and to determine if movement by the carrier is authorized. In effect, Asset ID enhances "electronic property pass" applications.


Technology solutions for real business problems

The costs of system deployment and losses due to theft are a significant portion of the total costs of owning a PC in a business environment. Asset ID is the latest example of how IBM is applying innovative, standards based technologies to lower the total costs of owning PCs, so you can focus more of your attention and resources on your business.

For more information
   Via the world wide Web
   In Canada
   For product  
   and dealer location information    1 800 426-255 ext. 4750
   To access the  
   IBM PC Company Bulletin Board (Note 2)    1 919 517-OO1
   For product information sent directly  
   to your fax machine    1-800-IBM-3395 (1-800-426-3395)
   PC Desktop Catalog    Doc #1005


  1.  Asset ID allows your personal computer to be "scanned" by various radiofrequency devices supplied  by thirdparty companies.
     These scanning devices are planned to be available in 2H98.
  2.  Modem required.

IBM reserves the right to change specifications and other product information without prior notice. This publication could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. References herein to IBM products and services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in other countries. IBM PROVIDES THIS PUBLICATION "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Some jurisdictions do not allow disclaimer of express or implied warranties in certain transactions, therefore, this statement may not apply to you.

IBM, Wake on LAN, Asset ID and LANClient Control Manager. are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation.
Intel® and LANDesk are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel® Corporation. All other products are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

1998 International Business Machines Corporation. All rights reserved. IBM Personal Systems Group U.S.A.

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