This paper highlights the importance of energy harvesting in high-value asset monitoring applications involving use of active RFID tags. The paper begins by highlighting advantages of active tags including improved range and read rate in electromagnetically unfriendly environments. Although a battery can substantially improve performance, it limits maintenance-free operational life. Therefore, harvesting energy from sources such as vibration is shown to address this shortcoming but these sources must be adequate, available throughout the life of the application, and highly efficient. Piezoelectric vibration energy harvesting design procedures and components for such systems are identified. This includes three key components, namely, the energy harvesting transducer, power management circuit, and energy storage device. Each component of the energy harvesting system is described and important design criteria are highlighted. Finally, the paper concludes by analyzing vibration data from high value assets used during disaster relief, and describing preliminary results of an energy harvesting prototype with details on system form factors, efficiency, and life.
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