Tape tracking ain’t easy

Track a load ? Yes. A cartridge? No

Fujifilm USA has introduced Tape Tracker which it says is a tape tracking service. That’s a bit optimistic. What it actually is is a pretend tape cartridge that is actually a wireless transmitter. This sends out a signal to an SC-Integrity load tracking network command centre which plots its location.

The idea is to protect lorry loads or containers against hijacking and the service is branded LoJack. If an individual tape or group of tapes is taken off the lorry then the system is near useless. It can probably tell you where the lorry was if you know when the tapes were taken but not otherwise.

This means a customer could use it to help protect a batch of tapes all going to one place but that’s not absolute, tape cartridges could still be taken from the batch.

What’s needed is a means to track individual tapes. RFID chips could be used but the emitted radio signals are very low-powered and can’t be tracked by satellite or cell-phone-based tracking systems.

The technology could be used if, say, there was an RFID receiver in the container or delivery truck and it tracked and timed tape cartridge delivery and removal from the truck. Then the truck’s LoJack service could be used, maybe, to send that information to a network command centre.

There’s no sign that such a setup is being developed so, for now, individual tape cartridge tracking is a dream and we can forget about it.

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