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Reporting from Dallas, Early Signs Look Good

The annual RFID World officially began today in Dallas, Texas, from where RFID Update is reporting live. Rather than focusing on particular vendor announcements, of which they are many, this article includes some high-level observations about the show and how it compares to those of previous years.
Feb 28, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

February 28, 2006—The annual RFID World officially began today in Dallas, Texas, from where RFID Update is reporting live. Rather than focusing on particular vendor announcements, of which there are many, this article includes some high-level observations about the show and how it compares to those of previous years:
  • Show growth. While official numbers aren't yet in, early indications are that the show has hundreds more attendees over last year's 2,900. Also, at roughly 200, there are many more exhibitors than last year.
     
  • More attendees are end-users. Based on the observations of many vendor representatives manning the booths, there are noticeably more end-users present this year than last. Better still, the end-users are more sophisticated than in the past, having educated themselves about RFID considerably over the last twelve months. Said one rep, past conferences have felt like "the industry checking on the industry." This year, outsiders -- i.e., end-users -- have arrived in force, and boy are they welcome.
     
  • Obvious maturity. Due as much to the more elaborate booths as to the sophistication of the attendees, the conference atmosphere has a "grown-up" feeling to it. As has been noted numerous times throughout the day, both in formal speeches and informal conversations, the industry has made great strides in a very short amount of time, and that progress is obvious across the board.
     
  • Dallas as RFID hub. The Dallas-Fort Worth region is making a bid to become the center of the RFID universe. In addition to RFID World 2005, RFID World 2006, and next year's RFID World 2007, the area is host to many RFID companies, as well as a good deal of end-user deployment activity. There is a press conference tomorrow by the local Metroplex Technology Business Council, which will officially announce its efforts to position north Texas as the world-leading RFID geography.
     
  • Breaking down barriers. In conferences past, there have been a few themes cited over and over as hurdles to RFID adoption: lacking standards, sub-par technology performance, intellectual property disputes, and privacy. These themes are almost totally absent this year, thankfully. Gen2 product is all over the place, and everyone agrees that standards are finally a non-issue. The technology performance has improved dramatically. As one example, 80% yield on converted labels just last year was commonplace. This year? Over 95%. The Intermec-Symbol intellectual property scrap is but a distant memory. Lastly, privacy seems to have waned considerably in importance. This is not due to consumer concerns about RFID going away, but rather to vendor and end-user appreciation of the need to incorporate privacy protection into their products and processes.
Stay tuned. There is a lot of information still forthcoming, and RFID Update will keep you on top of it all. Also, conference attendees, please continue to contribute your thoughts and feedback via email.
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