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Ask the Experts

Last week, RFID Journal published its 1,000th answer to questions from readers.
By Mark Roberti
Jul 14, 2013

In the very early days of RFID Journal, in 2002, I began receiving questions from our readers. I answered all of them dutifully, because I always wanted to build relationships with our readership, rather than just continue the one-way conversation most publications have. In 2009, the volume of e-mail questions from individuals wanting to know if radio frequency identification could solve a specific problem was pretty steady, and it occurred to me that I should be posting my responses online, for others to see.

So in March of that year, we created the Ask the Experts Forum>, and we put a box on our homepage, enabling readers to submit questions anonymously. The first question was published on Mar. 13 (see What Is the Lifespan of an Active Tag?).

I had envisioned the forum as a place where we would post questions, and where vendors and other experts would chime in with answers and comments. This was an easy way for vendors to get their name in front of our visitors, but very few have actually used the forum.

Instead, I mainly answer the questions. When a question is too technical or I just don't know the answer, I solicit responses from vendors and other experts, including Ken Traub of Ken Traub Consulting, Steve Halliday of High Tech Aid and Pat King of Technologies ROI.

Despite the fact that the experts that work for RFID solution providers have not chimed in as much as I had hoped, the Ask the Experts Forum has been an unqualified success. Last week, we published the 1,000th reader-question response (see Can RFID Pinpoint a Moving Object's Location?).

We've received questions from many reader worldwide, touching on every aspect of RFID—from technical issues, such as anticollision protocols, to the business benefits of certain applications. These questions have helped me understand what is on the mind of our readership, and we have hopefully helped shorten the amount of time that visitors to our site spend searching for answers.

Lately, the frequency of submissions has been increasing. In the beginning, I would receive two or three questions a week. Then the questions started coming in at a rate of about one a day, and now we often get two or three daily. Sometimes, I have trouble keeping up. It's a nice problem to have.

I have always wanted RFID Journal to be more than a conventional trade publication, most of which spend very little money and time on editorial and instead make their money by writing nice things about advertisers. Our goal has always been to post objective information to help companies use the technology to achieve business benefits, and the Ask the Experts Forum is another vehicle that lets us do that. I hope you enjoy reading the answers as much as I enjoy writing them.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.

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