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Large Technology Companies Need to Balance Short- and Long-Term Imperatives

Cutting RFID marketing budgets now might boost the bottom line in a difficult economy, but it could also derail future business opportunities.
By Mark Roberti
Oct 19, 2009My last few columns have been aimed primarily at our readers who work at companies that sell radio frequency identification hardware, software or services, though I hope end users of the technology also found them interesting. This column is also aimed mainly at the vendor community, because I want to address what I see as a lack of vision and leadership among some of the billion-dollar technology companies.

I believe it's in the best interest of large technology firms to support RFID Web sites and events that educate end users—and not just because RFID Journal is an RFID media company. Without RFID media outlets, fewer potential customers get educated, and thus fewer adopt the technology.


Does it really matter to a large technology company what happens in the RFID market? It should—even if the firm doesn't sell RFID hardware, software or services. And here's why. When you look out at the IT horizon, the only thing you see that has the potential to drive the larger market for everything from faster chips to new wireless routers and enterprise software is RFID.

That's not to say business intelligence, price optimization and other software products aren't important. But they aren't going to lead to a wholesale upgrade of the existing infrastructure. Only RFID has the potential to do that, because only RFID can deliver a quantum leap in efficiencies across many areas of an enterprise.

Airbus, for example, is deploying RFID across all of its operations, because the technology creates visibility into the location of tools, assets, parts and more, thus enabling the airplane manufacturer to become more efficient and cut costs. As more companies deploy RFID, not only will that create demand for tags, readers and RFID enterprise applications, it will also foster demand for faster servers to crunch RFID data (and the chips that go into those servers), workstations that run RFID applications locally, handhelds, upgraded wireless LANs, integration services, software that runs on the servers, business intelligence software that can turn RFID data into actionable information, storage devices that can store all of that data, and so on.

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