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Where We Are Going

RFID is currently being used to help companies track containers, inventory, parts, tools and other valuable items, but it will become as essential to running a business as computers are today.
By Mark Roberti

Eventually, RFID will permeate the enterprise in the same way computers have done so. Just as every employee has a desktop or laptop and a smartphone, every tool, container, subassembly and vehicle will have a passive or active RFID tag attached to it, allowing it to be tracked and managed. And this data will be available throughout the enterprise, via the corporate networks that have been introduced throughout the past 20 years.

During the past three decades, companies have ripped out and replaced systems as technology has evolved. There is a danger that businesses deploying a tool-tracking or inventory-management system now might have to replace it in a few years, because it will no longer be able to track other things the enterprise needs to manage. But companies can avoid this fate if they think about where RFID is going, rather than just about the problem they are trying to solve at this moment.

At LIVE! 2014, I will host a Strategic RFID Workshop designed to help businesses think about the big picture and thus plan for the long term. The twin aims of the workshop will be to enable attendees to create an RFID plan allowing them to avoid having to rip out technology in a few years because it doesn't meet their long-term goals, and to adopt an RFID strategy that aligns and supports the enterprise's long-term competitive strategy. I have invited Carlo Nizam, Airbus' head of value chain visibility, to join me for an interactive final session of the preconference, since Airbus has done the best job, in my view, of developing a smart, coherent enterprise RFID strategy (see LIVE! 2014 to Feature Keynote Presentations from Airbus and the Veterans Health Administration, Airbus Leads the Way and Airbus Expands RFID Part Marking Across All of Its Aircraft Families).

I have seen a lot of smart moves made by companies during my 30 years of reporting, and I've also seen a lot of costly mistakes. I would like to do everything I can to help businesses do the former and avoid the latter.

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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