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Why You Need a Chief RF Officer

Having input from an RF technology expert could prevent companies from investing in duplicative technologies or systems that would interfere with one another.
By Mark Roberti
Oct 27, 2014

Not many years ago, the only RF devices companies had were cordless phones and laptops with Wi-Fi. Today, many businesses have a plethora of RF devices, including contactless point-of-sale terminals, passive ultrahigh-frequency tags and readers to manage items or supply-chain shipments, active RFID tags to track larger assets, GPS devices to track vehicles, bar-code scanners and Bluetooth devices.

RF devices have been taken for granted because government regulators do a good job of apportioning the RF spectrum so cell phones, for example, don't impede the operation of wireless systems used by first responders. But the wireless explosion has caused some companies to implement policies regarding how new RF devices can be introduced. Boeing, for example, wants to prevent new RF technologies in its factories from interfering with existing RF devices and, potentially, with the testing of RF equipment on planes being built. Hospitals are finding that RF devices, including many medical devices, occasionally interfere with one another.

Illustration: iStockphoto
Boeing hasn't introduced a chief RF officer, but companies should consider creating this executive position. The CRFO would not just institute rules to prevent problems. His or her job would be to understand all the RF communication tools available and how they can be leveraged to create business value. Embracing Internet of Things technology means using many different types of radios to connect things to the Internet.

This is not to suggest that the CRFO would decide whether to use RFID to improve the supply chain or Bluetooth low-energy beacons to engage customers in stores. Those are business decisions. But having input from an RF technology expert could prevent companies from investing in duplicative technologies or systems that would interfere with one another. It also would enable businesses to make smarter decisions about how and where to deploy RF systems, including RFID technologies.

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