Japanese bank taps RFID for document security

NEC Corp. has signed a contract with a Japanese bank for an Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) -based document management system, the company said Tuesday in a statement.

The system, which NEC claims is the world’s first system to use RFID for this function, will be introduced by the Bank of Nagoya Ltd. in April 2005, NEC said. Bank of Nagoya is a regional bank in central Japan. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

The system, which is still under development, will use omni-directional antennas attached to bookshelves and filing cabinets that communicate data from RFID tags embedded in documents to a software system that offers real-time document tracking, according to Motofumi Yamamuro, an NEC spokesperson. NEC is co-developing the system with Nikko Telecommunications Co. Ltd, a computer systems sales company.

Yamamuro said the system, which NEC is targeting at banks, financial institutions, libraries, hospitals and other institutions that store sensitive documents, is designed to be combined with other security systems to provide comprehensive and detailed document protection. When combined with employee identification systems using cards or fingerprint sensors or tags, the RFID system could help enable real-time recording of which employees are removing or replacing which documents, whether authorized or not, from a filing cabinet or room.

“We see this system working on top of, or in combination with, a number of other systems to provide high-security document protection…Say, for example, a person manages to take a document that he or she is not authorized to access, the system could sound an alert to warn a security systems person of this,” Yamamuro said.

In a March 2004 survey of 450 wireless developers, Evans Data Corp. a U.S.-based market research company reported that RFID security and access control applications are the most likely RFID technologies that companies will deploy over the next two years. The company predicted that the global market for RFID-based security and access control applications could grow 450 per cent over the next 12 months and a further 95 per cent in 2006.

NEC also claims the system will aid workflow management and inventory. For example, in a case study conducted for the Bank of Nagoya that assumed the system used 100,000 tags, NEC calculated the bank would save about

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