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How do you protect your art work?

Mar 21st 2012 at 3:39 AM

Modern technologies are presenting us with ways to protect art works in an elegant and inconspicuous way. Art security has taken on a new meaning with today's incredible technology. Through the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID), gallery proprietors will be able to know exactly where pieces of art are at any given moment, if they are being mishandled or endangered by extreme temperatures or moisture. The same technology can also be used to enhance visitors' experiences in a gallery or museum, and provide managers with data on patterns of visits.

Radio waves, emitted from miniscule electronic tags, are what provide the RFID central system the information on its whereabouts and condition, even from a distance and without the need of a line of sight.

An active RFID tag, inconspicuously attached to an art object, can not only “tell” where the piece of art is at any given moment, but also the temperature and moisture level of the room or space. Based on predefined parameters, the RFID main system could set off alerts in the case of extreme environmental conditions.

The system can also alert to when an object is being tampered with, even without being removed from the wall or floor, and inform administrators whether the contact is light or strong and harmful.

Different allowances to moving the pieces can also be programmed. The system will recognize authorized persons – also bearing RFID tags – moving or handling the object, and raise an alarm if anyone else attempts to do so.

The tags can also provide information through GPS and GPRS, so that if a picture or sculpture is lent out, its owner will always be able to know exactly where it is and in what condition.

RFID passive tags are cheaper and smaller, can provide the basic information on the whereabouts of an object, and be used for quick inventory counts, with the use of a hand-held reader that can pick up the radio signal and note items in its vicinity, without the need to reach or move them. The same system can provide reminders for periodical checks of the items, based on predefined parameters.

Art security is paramount to any art gallery or art museum. Since the RFID tags are programmed to identify the object to which they are attached, the system can also be used to provide visitors – equipped with hand-held readers – with data on art pieces they approach. Based on the same principle, museum and gallery proprietors would also be able to learn about the patrons' patterns – which route people take, how much time they spend by each picture, statue or installation, and so forth.

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