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RFID Adoption Continues to Accelerate

There are so many real-world deployments of radio frequency identification that even the mainstream press is starting to take notice.
By Mark Roberti
Jul 23, 2007I was speaking with RFID Journal senior editor Mary Catherine O'Connor the other day, and she commented about the sheer number of end-user stories she's been covering of late. "It used to be so hard to get stories about end users doing a real deployment," she said, "but in the last couple of months, it seems to have really changed."

She's right. Here are just a few of the end user news stories we've published this month:

Metro Fleshes Out Its RFID Plans
Megatrux Improves Operations With RFID Tagging
Thai Shrimp Exporters Use RFID for Automation, Traceability
French Jean Boutique Adopts RFID to Boost Loyalty
Sunway Lagoon Issues RFID Wristbands for Admission, Purchases
Slippery Rock Adds RFID to Student Cell Phones
RFID-enabled Handheld Helps Nurses Verify Meds
Paris-based Law Firm Adopts RFID to Track Documents


The shift to real deployments is also reflected in the programs for our upcoming events: RFID Journal—AAFA Apparel & Footwear Summit (in cooperation with the American Apparel & Footwear Association), EPC Connection (in partnership with EPCglobal) and RFID Journal LIVE! Europe. In previous years, most event speakers discussed pilots or studies, but at all our events this year, companies will talk about the real benefits they are achieving today.

At the Apparel & Footwear Summit, for example, Esquel, a leading shirt manufacturer, will explain how RFID enabled it to reduce cotton inventory and better track work-in-process. And Nick Tentis, a hot British designer, will talk about how an interactive RFID mirror is helping his boutique boost sales by improving the shopping experience and appealing to young, tech-savvy shoppers.

At EPC Connection, companies such as Megatrux, Schiff Nutrition and Wilson Sporting Goods will explain the different ways they built on RFID mandates to achieve internal benefits. Northrup Grumman, meanwhile, will explain how it is using RFID to detect damaged parts in its manufacturing operation, and rug-maker Shaw Industries will explain how it is using RFID to reduce hidden logistics costs.

And RFID Journal LIVE! Europe will feature presentations from Metro, which is saving an estimated $8 million a year just from using RFID to track pallets in Germany; Sony, which has reduced shrinkage by tying RFID to video surveillance; and Container Centralen, a leading Danish provider of returnable transport items that is benefiting from tracking returnable transport items.

With so many companies benefiting from RFID today, even non-RFID news sources are starting to catch on to the fact that RFID is becoming more widely adopted. Just look at these recent headlines:

The Benefits of RFID Will Soon Be Realized (ComputerWeekly.com, UK)
Companies Look to RFID to Help Cut Costs (Industry Week)
RFID Use Picking Up (Malaysia Star)
Survey Reveals RFID Benefits Beyond Supply Chain (FoodProductionDaily.com)
Wal-Mart Seeks to Speed Up RFID (CNN)

Those companies that seem convinced RFID adoption is still many years away and choose not to investigate the technology's potential are missing out on an opportunity to improve many aspects of the way they do business. Being a year or two behind with RFID might not put a firm out of business, but in this highly competitive world, I don't think anyone wants to be at such a disadvantage. Perhaps all the recent end-user stories will convince people they can't take a "wait-and-see" attitude any longer.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below.
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