Five functions for smart tags and beacons

The right technology in the right place finds misplaced assets, helps with navigation, assists customers, improves facilities use, and monitors equipment.

Costs can be as low as 7 cents for a passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag. If a range beyond 25 meters is required, active RFID tags with five-year battery-power often cost $25 or more. Beacons and Near-Field Communication (NFC) systems that enable two-way customer communications can involve substantial capital investment.1

Knowing where to apply available technologies is the key that controls costs while unlocking the smartest facility.

Find remote items

In most office environments, chairs, computer workstations, and filing cabinets are quite portable. They may not remain at the department or location that invested in them.
Passive RFID tags will identify an item, but active RFID reveals misplaced assets from up to 300 meters away. The more-expensive tags can be justified for higher-cost equipment.

Librarian at card catalog

Like a helpful Librarian, an active RFID chip knows the exact location of a needed item.

Geolocate products and services

The most powerful information is delivered when and where needed.

Content goes directly to the consumer. Battery-powered or hard-wired beacons can deliver text messages or email to smartphones within 80 meters. The beacons can be mounted on fixed or movable displays, carts, or other objects.2


Proximity beacons serve as electronic Guide to goods and services within a facility.

Provide real-time information

At times, even the most seasoned employee could use help finding warehoused supplies or uncommon products.

Visitors and customers at many facilities benefit from technology-enabled navigation.

Beacons installed at two Gatwick (LGW) terminals provide navigation that assists travelers more reliably than their cellphone GPS. installed around 2,000 beacons in two terminals, creating an indoor navigation system more reliable than traditional GPS. Most global airports may soon provide similar location services.3

Sales Advisor

When not face-to-face with a Sales Advisor, a prospect can receive limited-time offers via smartphone.

Optimize facility use

Unused conference rooms and other spaces within commercial or public buildings incur costs while returning no value. Active beacons can gather and transmit lighting and proximity sensor data for better allocation and timely adjustments as needs change.

Similar devices in today’s smarter cities track real-time use of public transportation and streets.

Space Planner

RFID, NFC, and beacons extend the reach and accuracy of Space Planners through ongoing data updates.

Manage assets

Asset-tracking solutions can save lives when monitoring essential equipment in hospitals and utility plants. Similar systems have substantial value elsewhere, as in convention centers, transportation facilities, and factories. RFID, NFC, and beacon technologies there return value as they reduce unscheduled outages and limit repair expenses.


Equipment-mounted smart tags and beacons support and focus Inspection and Engineering tasks.

Smart Steps Forward items highlight commitments and progress made in solving environmental challenges. For similar articles, see ecoPreserve’s newsletter, Sharing Sustainability. Several issues of the newsletter can be previewed here.

Alexa Stone
LEED AP, Sustainable Facility Professional, Envision Sustainability Professional - - Alexa has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable and Smart Cities development. Her strategic planning work has served local, state, and federal government, higher education, and private industry. Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a team of 3 and has grown the company to over a dozen of the brightest sustainability and project management professionals in the industry.
Alexa Stone


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