NFTs are the hot ticket for the digitally-savvy investor. A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is essentially a certificate of authenticity for a digital file, ensuring that the owner of the digital file possesses the genuine asset. The technology behind NFTs and their underlying blockchain systems may be confusing to the average layperson, but the concept of asset management, buying and selling, is something we can all understand.
NFTs hold the potential for leveraging the monetary value of almost any digital file, from artworks to archived documents. Digital assets, like physical assets, have value for any enterprise. Like physical assets, digital assets are managed and maintained for the benefit of the enterprise (digital asset management or DAM). NFTs intersect with DAM when the monetary value of a digital file is determined, and an NFT is issued for it.
Digital art has been prominently featured in the NFT market, but UC Berkeley recently sold an NFT of some digitized documents for $55,000. The university owned imaged files of some Nobel Prize-related research documents. An NFT was created of these imaged documents, and it was auctioned to the highest bidder. Berkeley received a lump sum, plus a 10% royalty of any subsequent sales of the NTF.
What does this mean for other organizations’ digital assets? Every business, non-profit, and governmental body has documents that could be valuable to collectors, historians, or researchers:
- Vintage logo artwork
- Historic contracts with signatures
- Founding documents
- Historic correspondence or writings
- Archived photographs of significant events
Selling NFTs of some of these digital assets could yield significant funds for an organization. Keep in mind that an NFT can be structured in many ways – a royalty structure such as UC Berkeley did, or perhaps an ownership reversion under certain conditions. And there can be multiple NFTs of a single digital document, under a limited-edition structure.
But before you can profit from the sale of your digital assets, your paper documents have to be converted to digital files. That’s where document digitization comes into play. A well-designed and professionally executed digitization program gives you all the benefits of document conversion – security, accessibility, reduced storage space – along with the potential for additional income. Image your documents, and mine the value of your digital assets.
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New Offices, Less Storage – Condensing Files with Digitization and High Density Storage
For 25 years, a top-rated Washington, DC, pediatric office had served its patients 365 days a year. The practice generated numerous multi-page paper forms and reports for each patient. Patient files were retained in a 300-s.f. storage area, but when the practice moved to new offices, the storage area was reduced to just 160 s.f. Twenty-five years of medical records simply would not fit into the smaller space, and the practice administrators were facing the prospect of storing files offsite – inconvenient, error-prone, and insecure.
Every pediatric patient record had to be maintained and accessible for at least 25 years, whether a child was a local long-term patient or a transitory patient from one of the nearby embassies. The new storage space – nearly 50% smaller than previously – dictated that many patient records would need to be converted to digital format. Others would need to be retained as paper. Determining which documents to image, and which documents to keep as paper, was quite a dilemma. And once the decisions were made, personnel would have to be pulled from their normal tasks to execute the digitization.
Working with the doctors, nurses, and administrative staff, the NOS team established parameters to decide which records to image, and which to maintain as paper. The needs analysis found that certain parts of each patient’s file – vaccine records, for example – should be digitally imaged, regardless of the age of the file. The digital records could then be quickly retrieved, reviewed, and shared electronically. Other parameters, such as the age of the file or the type of treatment, determined whether or not a file was to be imaged.
The remaining paper files needed to be readily available to staff. In the old office, the files were kept in top-tab folders in 45 traditional file cabinets. Professional Services Solutions, the NOS documents team, transferred the paper documents to color-coded side tab folders and organized them in a new high density storage system. The space-saving high density system easily fit all the necessary paper files, with room to grow into the future. It even allowed extra space for office supplies. Even better: the files are safe and secure, in compliance with HIPAA regulations.
Now the entire medical staff enjoys fast, easy retrieval of all patient records, whether they’re digital or paper. Instead of struggling with inadequate storage space and hard-to-find patient data, they can focus on delivering award-winning health care to their patients.
The four branches of the military, combined, have an estimated 4.5 million firearms, according to the nonprofit independent Small Arms Survey. Of that number, approximately 1,900 vanished from military inventories between 2010 and 2019. That figure compiled in a recent Associated Press study of military inventory records and internal memos. It’s a small percentage of the total number, but as Albany County, NY, district attorney David Soares states, “One gun creates a ton of devastation,” when a missing military weapon turns up on the streets.
Some of the missing weapons have been linked to violent crimes across the U.S., from California to New York, Kentucky to the Carolinas. It’s an uncomfortable irony that missing military firearms ever become a problem for local law enforcement. And it doesn’t have to be this way. There are technology solutions: secure weapons lockers, and RFID.
Smart weapons lockers help prevent surreptitious thefts by outsiders. The AP report detailed how an unlocked door allowed intruders to steal six automatic weapons from a National Guard armory. In another case, surveillance cameras failed to record firearms thieves at a Marine base. Weapons lockers’ biometric and electronic locks limit access to the stored firearms. Only authorized personnel have access, and smart technology automatically records who accessed what, and when.
The secure chain of custody begins with weapons lockers, but it doesn’t stop there. RFID technology expands the chain of custody from the initial delivery of a firearm, into the military weapons inventory, and out into the field.
RFID excels as an asset management tool. For example, an RFID-managed armory can operate like this:
- The manufacturer tags each weapon per the military branch’s data specifications.
- When a shipment of RFID-tagged guns arrives at the armory, a single scan with an RFID reader captures the identifying data of every item in the entire shipment. The shipment is checked in a matter of seconds, with no manual errors.
- Each gun is placed in a smart locker; its assigned locker number is recorded on the RFID inventory.
- Using a hand-held RFID reader, a single scan of the weapons locker room reads every weapon in the room and updates the inventory each day.
- When a gun is checked out or returned, the armory records the soldier’s RFID card and the gun’s RFID tag; the soldier’s ID and the weapon’s ID are automatically linked – no manual errors.
The RFID asset management system can be configured to generate alerts if inventories are not completed, or if weapons are not returned as expected, need routine maintenance, or are due for replacement.
Weapons lockers and RFID asset management remove the human-error factor from armory management. They improve security, accountability, and efficiency. Most important, they reduce the chances that military firearms will find their way the hands of bad actors.
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Even the federal government is getting in on the hybrid office trend. There are many good reasons to continue the combination of in-office work and remote work: high productivity, happy employees, and lower facilities overhead.
But there’s a security downside. It’s easy to lose track of the whereabouts of assets. Workers move documents, office equipment, even furnishings between home and office. Without a comprehensive check-out check-in system, business assets can fall through the cracks.
And missing assets are costly. Currently, the average office chair is $400. The average laptop computer is $1600. A single missing document is valued at an average of $120, and the cost could be far higher if the data contained in that document cannot be replicated. The cost of lost assets can easily outweigh the cost savings of a hybrid workplace.
This is where RFID can make a difference. You may think of RFID as a tool to manage your product inventory or secure your building’s entrances. In fact, the technology can be extended into other areas of asset management:
- Office furnishings – Doorway-mounted RFID readers monitor the movements of furniture in and out of a room, or out of the building if you’re supplying furniture for your employees’ home offices.
- Office equipment – The same doorway readers track RFID-tagged laptops, tablets, and cell phones. Paired with RFID personnel tags, you’ll know which employee has which electronic equipment.
- Documents – Sensitive documents can be printed on paper with embedded RFID, and file folders can be RFID-tagged. Like furnishings and equipment, the documents are monitored as they are moved around the office, and tracked if they are taken out of the office.
Can you manually track the ins and outs of assets between home and office, the way it’s always been done? Of course. But a paper and pencil sign-out system is astonishingly error-prone.
RFID is accurate. It doesn’t count on people remembering to sign out a file folder or a computer. It doesn’t mistakenly transpose a chair’s asset management ID number. You can rely on the asset data an RFID system delivers.
The hybrid office trend is here to stay. Manage your office assets with RFID and ensure your operation is getting all the benefits of the hybrid workplace.
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Culture is important in any organization, but none more so than the culture of an association. By its very nature, an association is people-oriented, and the field of association management attracts “people persons” who thrive in the company of others.
The necessity for remote work during the pandemic was especially hard for association staffers. Within a short time these people-persons felt isolated and unproductive, even as many of the industries they served were reporting greater than normal productivity from their WFH teams.
The hybrid workplace was already beginning to be established prior to the pandemic. But when offices sent employees home, the hybrid office really came into its own. Existing technology, from imaged documents to Zoom meetings, made it possible for remote workers to access people and information resources. When non-digital resources or in-person meetings were necessary, the office was still available.
For associations, the hybrid workplace solves a number of problems:
- By preserving a certain amount of in-person time, the association’s vision and team cohesion is reinforced. On-boarding and mentoring can function easily, and serendipitous “water cooler moments” continue to provide creativity boosts. The organization’s culture can continue to thrive.
- By reducing the head count present in the office at any given time, the organization can reduce its office space, and its real estate and overhead costs – something any association’s finance director can appreciate.
- By adding or enhancing various technologies, the association can support its staff with better data. Document digitization, in particular, creates a searchable database that provides better data understanding, goal-setting, and action plans. Moreover, it makes the data accessible from office or home.
This last point is particularly important for associations. As Mark Athetakis writes in Associations Now, information silos stifle collaboration. Collaboration is at the heart of associations – collaboration between associations and members as well as within then associations themselves. A database of imaged documents breaks down the information silos, making collaborative data available across departments.
Hybrid offices can be the best of all worlds for associations, supporting and preserving their culture through the use of data technology. When technology supports the free flow of information, associations can create actionable goals for the benefit of their members.
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