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RFID for All
We need simple applications that make it easier for companies to get started using radio frequency identification technology.
Jun 08, 2015—
I received an e-mail last week from a gentleman who wanted to perform an inventory count of everything in each office in his building, including chairs, desks, printers and monitors. "Where do I start?" he asked. "And which specific vendor do you recommend?"
I told him that it would be possible to put tags on each of these items, as well as on the doorway to very office. I suggested that it should be feasible to read the tag on a given doorway and have that action trigger an application on a handheld reader to call up a list of all tagged objects within that room. He could then wave the handheld around the room, capture the IDs of the tagged items and have the app check off those present, highlight any that are not present, and provide a list of items that are present but are not on the inventory list.
Yes, it is, and it frustrates me greatly. The RFID industry has done a great job of creating passive tags that can work on almost any object, and of producing a wide variety of passive readers for different applications. But it's done a poor job of offering simple apps that can be used with a handheld and a few tags.
I understand that reader companies want to sell a lot of readers, not one or two at a time, and that they don't want to be bothered providing tech support for someone who buys only a single device. I get that software companies want to sell lots of seat licenses. But there is a large market out there of firms that might use RFID if it were easier and cheaper. A company willing to address this smaller market could wind up making a lot of money, and these small deployments could turn into bigger deployments over time.
I believe that if a company creates a low-cost inventory-management solution and markets it to RFID Journal's readers, it would achieve success. It is difficult to determine how much success, since no one has ever done it. But I think there is a lot of demand out there for simple RFID solutions, and it's a segment that, so far, has not been adequately served. Unfortunately, that means far fewer businesses are benefiting from RFID than should be.
It will be interesting to see which companies step up to address this market (there are a few that are beginning to focus on it), and whether I am right regarding the demand for simple, low-cost inventory-management solutions.
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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