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RFID Questions to Ponder

Many people have opinions about why RFID has not taken off more quickly. If you think you know why, or if you think you know what will stimulate the market, here are some questions to consider when evaluating your theory.
By Mark Roberti
May 24, 2015

I have always believed that RFID Journal's success is dependent on the success of radio frequency technology in general. That is, if I'm correct in my belief that radio frequency identification can deliver tremendous value and will be used by just about every company on Earth one day, then RFID Journal will be a healthy and profitable company. And if RFID remains a niche technology used by only a small percentage of companies, then our growth prospects will be severely limited, and we'll probably remain about the size we are today.

Since I want my company to grow as much as any entrepreneur, I have focused my efforts on growing the RFID industry, rather than on growing RFID Journal's short-term sales. I spend a lot of time thinking about adoption trends and trying to understand what I see in the market, and then adopting strategies that will encourage adoption.

I often hear people opine about what is happening in the market and what RFID Journal should do to make the market take off. But I don't think most people understand the market, technology adoption, or what will encourage more end users to adopt RFID. If you think you do, here are some questions to ponder:

• Do companies not understand RFID's value, or is something else preventing them from adopting?
• Given that the value of RFID in apparel retail is well-documented, why do we see so few retailers adopting it chain-wide?
• Why are department stores more interested in RFID than specialty retailers?
• Do specialty retailers not have the same inventory problems that department stores face?
• Do the RFID solutions in the market not work for specialty retailers?
• If a whole solution will drive adoption, why have health-care companies not reached mass adoption, given that they've had whole products in the market for several years?
• Why do we see adoption accelerating in some countries (the United Kingdom, for example) but see very little going on in others (Australia)?
• If it's possible to convince people not actively seeking an RFID solution to adopt one, why aren't more sales discussions at vertical-industry events leading to deployments?
• What is it, fundamentally, that gets a company to adopt an RFID solution at this stage of the technology's evolution?

I've thought a lot about these questions. RFID Journal will host a webinar on June 23 titled Getting RFID to Mass Adoption: What Solution Providers Can Do to Grow the Market and Their Business. During my presentation, I will share my observations, provide answers to the above questions, and suggest strategies that all solution providers can adopt to help move the market forward.

This webinar will mainly be aimed at solution providers, but those end users who understand that it is in their interest to grow the market will also find value in the event. I hope you will join us.

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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