Intel and partners create a RFID control switch for laptops and other devices.

While there already exists LoJack for laptops and other tracking solutions, Intel has been working on a project that uses RFID technology to provision, track and monitor devices such as laptops and other equipment, including a killswitch option for devices that are either lost or stolen.

The project is called the Wireless Credential Exchange (WCE), and it includes partners Impinj, Technology Solutions UK Ltd., and Burnside Digital. It uses the Monza RFID chips developed by Impinj, industry-standard RFID readers created by Technology Solutions UK and a cloud-based data repository and dashboard created by Burnside Digital. Intel's part is to provide the SoC technology.

By embedding Impinj Monza RFID chips inside devices with an Intel SoC, they can be tracked, provisioned, shipped, deployed, and monitored using an industry standard RFID reader. Burnside Digital's software, called IPTrak, ties all these components together.

The Monza chip can also be read and written to using an external TSL RFID reader even if the system is turned off. Data can be written to the Monza chip and then passed on to the Intel SoC the next time the device is powered up, and that can include a kill command.

The WCE system is much more powerful than your average RFID inventory tracking systems. For example, you can disable a device prior to shipping and then reactivate it once it reaches its final destination. If it's lost or stolen, it's useless because the person in possession would not have the activation code.

It also has location-based permissions, so a device would only work in approved locations. Devices could be scanned, identified, and enabled or disabled when they enter or leave a specific area.

Burnside Digital created custom Windows, iOS, and Android applications that can communicate with a TSL reader using Bluetooth technology.

While the WCE system is still just a concept project it’s an interesting idea that could have broader applications.

At this point, it's still a design project so there is no release date planned. But it sure sounds interesting.

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