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RFID World Rebrands as RF Edge, Adjusts Focus

RFID World, the longtime leading exhibition and conference series in the RFID industry, announced plans to change its name to RF Edge. The new franchise is expanding its focus beyond RFID and RTLS technologies to include sensors, GPS and business intelligence, and plans to conduct more events.
Jan 06, 2009This article was originally published by RFID Update.

January 6, 2009—The RFID World conference and exhibition is changing its name and focus to include more of the components used with RFID and RTLS technologies to provide complete solutions. The franchise is being rebranded RF Edge and will be a platform for information about sensor technologies, business intelligence software, GPS and other systems that provide intelligence at the edge of the enterprise network, strategic director Tim Downs told RFID Update.

"RFID World is maintaining RFID at the center of the exhibition, and is expanding to include other forms of automatic identification technologies and edge computing solutions," Downs said.

Changes go beyond the name. RF Edge will retain a flagship exhibition and conference (scheduled for October 12-14, 2009 in Dallas), but the franchise is being expanded to include a series of workshops held in various locations throughout the year, wireless technology pavilions at other events, and a website that is scheduled to launch February 1st that will provide news and educational resources beyond promoting the show. RF Edge's parent company, United Business Media (UBM), the international media conglomerate, transferred operations to a different part of the company and placed it under new senior management. Downs, who launched the show in 2002 and later sold it to a UBM subsidiary, will have an expanded role.

"My vision of this industry has changed from when I started RFID World seven years ago. I knew then it would only be the first iteration of a brand," Downs said. "Today the enterprise market and RF technology integrators are clearly looking for something different."

Downs expects RF Edge events to attract the same type of visitors who would attend an RFID show. He said the new format will provide more value to attendees by bringing together more of the resources they need to create complete solutions. Demographics for exhibitors are expected to change more than that of attendees, Downs said. Event management is also planning several initiatives to make the show more valuable for resellers and systems integrators.

Management will also seek to leverage UBM's media properties in vertical industries to grow the audience for RF Edge. For example, RF Edge is planning to offer workshops on identification, traceability and authentication technologies at select UBM events in the food ingredients, chemical and cosmetic industries.

Disappointing attendance at the most recent RFID World show, held last September in Las Vegas, prompted organizers to consider dramatic changes. The Las Vegas show (see a summary of RFID Update's coverage here) also had fewer exhibitors than in previous years and was not highlighted by many major announcements. The event was originally scheduled for last spring in Las Vegas, as was its competitor, RFID Journal LIVE!, which was well attended. Exhibitors did not like the idea of having two industry events in the same city within weeks of each other, so RFID World rescheduled to the fall in hopes of attracting a larger audience. The RF Edge management is now turning to an expanded focus and its considerable corporate resources to regain the momentum it had when it was the leading RFID-related event.

"Attracting attendees without having 'RFID' in our name will be a challenge," Downs said. "The future of the community is illustrated more by our tagline: 'Tag it. Track it. Optimize it.' In a down market, enterprises and integrators are looking for complete solutions that do something, not just pieces of technology. We're creating an event that will be more useful for them."

The launch of RF Edge signals the end of a strategy announced in July, 2007, when RFID World was being managed by UBM's CMP Technology business, which has since been reorganized. At the time, CMP said RFID World would remain in Las Vegas through 2010 and be co-located with the Interop information technology event held there annually (see RFID World Announces Date Change, New Strategy).
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