Many prominent museums and Art Galleries around the world are using technology to audit and track all the artwork collection they have with them. Use of IoT technology to manage Artwork inventory and to streamline the daily operations and Art Gallery management in terms of access, artwork movement, artwork visibility etc. has the potential to reduce costs and enhance visitor experience as well.
IoT technology has been extremely successful and efficient in connecting physical objects to the internet and providing an interconnectivity of objects as well. In fact, it was Radio Frequency identification, a wireless technology that formed the basis of connected devices, internet of things. At present, various wireless tools are available that can enable ‘track and trace’ at a business place including Art Galleries and museums. Use of RFID, BLE, QR Codes, NFC, ZigBee, WAN, LoRaWAN, etc. are some of the prominent options in this regard.
The Otago museum in New Zealand, the Ambrosiana Art Gallery in Milan, Italy, the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia etc. are some of the Art Galleries around the world that are using the RFID technology to manage their massive artwork collections.
The National Gallery of Victoria in Australia has over 75000 artworks that it keeps track of using RFID tags and artwork collection management system and the Otago museum in New Zealand is using RFID to monitor its massive 2m artifacts.
What is RFID technology? How RFID works?
Radio Frequency identification is a wireless AIDC technology that uses radio wave signals to communicate between two RFID components namely RFID tags and RFID readers. An RFID antenna and an RF subsystem (a computer or control panel) are also required to make the RFID system work. Antennas are generally integrated into the RFID tags but separate antenna for RFID reader can be used as well in some cases, just to make the detection easy.
For an RFID system to work, in a passive RFID system, the tag is unpowered (without batteries) and uses the RF signal coming from the RFID reader to power itself to transmit an RF signal back to the reader. The reader then decodes the signals and shows it on the computer for the end user.
In case of an active RFID, the tags come with batteries and transmit the RF signals (with encode message) on their own. The RFID reader then decodes the signal for the end user.
It is important to note that the RFID system is quite efficient if you use an active RFID tag or a passive UHF RFID tag. It doesn’t need a clear line of sight to work unlike traditional barcodes and QR Codes.
5 ways RFID can streamline art galleries and artwork collection management
Use of RFID in many museums and art galleries is becoming prevalent these days. They says technology and technology led traceability is the enabler for transparency, which is of utmost importance when valuable and historical artifacts and artworks are concerned. RFID can enable artwork tracking, enhance security at the premises and help in enhancing the visitor experience as well.
Here are some ways RFID can be useful in art galleries managing artwork collection:
1) RFID enabling 360 degree artwork visibility at art galleries
Gallery managers can tag each artwork with RFID tags and deploy some fixed and some handheld RFID readers, which will help you with tracking artworks throughout the premises and inventory, improving the overall visibility of artworks.
2) Enhancing security with RFID access control
At gallery, you can enhance the overall security by providing visitors with access cards in the form of RFID smartcards or RFID ID. This will prevent unauthorized entry at all times. Alarm system can also be integrated to trigger the alarms and send you SMS alerts on your smartphone as well.
When RFID system is integrated with CCTV, you get 360 degree asset monitoring and security.
3) Prevent artwork theft with RFID
RFID can also generate alerts when an artwork is moved around the premises. An unauthorized artwork movement or theft can be easily detected with RFID technology.
4) Enhanced and optimized Inventory
Art galleries tend to not put all of the artworks at display rather keep an inventory of valuable artworks. Managing inventory is often complicated and time consuming. It needs accuracy and security altogether. RFID can help. Employees can take a quick inventory count and manage the inventory efficiently without hassle.
5) Superior visitor experience
Visitors such as art enthusiasts account for most of the sales and income of the art galleries. Even at art exhibitions, visitors are the most intrinsic part of the artists’ work. Even ‘Monalisa’ is famous only because art lover recognize it so. This is why a superior visitor experience is extremely important. RFID can enhance the overall visitor experience by state of the art technological automation led experience. Entry, exit, sales, visit, artwork details and stories and legends, RFID can cover all.
Use of IoT and such technologies to track and monitor artworks and visitors is quite helpful in long term. It not only prevents theft but also enhances the overall visitor experience as well. Use of RFID in art galleries and museums enhances the inventory accuracy and visibility and makes the artwork collection management a seamless task.