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Out-of-the-Box RFID Solutions

RFID Journal is offering several starter kits from technology partners that end users can employ to track IT assets, apparel and other items.
By Mark Roberti
Dec 13, 2010This week, RFID Journal began offering starter kits from several solutions providers via our Web site (see RFID Journal to Offer User-Friendly Out-of-the-Box RFID Starter Kits). Our goal is not to become a distributor of radio frequency identification technologies, but rather to serve the needs of our readers, who often ask me to recommend RFID solutions that can be used to track IT assets, reusable containers and so forth, or that can be tested in their own environment. We are offering these starter kits as a test to see if there is a demand for prepackaged solutions.

These starter kits only include passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) systems and handheld-based solutions. If there is an interest in these options, we might opt to expand the offerings to include passive high-frequency (HF) systems, passive UHF portal solutions and, perhaps, rudimentary active solutions. But for now, handheld solutions seem to offer a simple, effective way for us to make available options that can meet the needs of those who do not want to invest in more robust solutions, or who want to test the effectiveness of passive UHF systems for identifying and tracking assets, mobile equipment, pallets and more.

I think the time is right to offer prepackaged solutions, for several reasons. One is that the technology has evolved to the point where it works effectively out of the box. Another is that end users are sufficiently aware of RFID to want a simple solution to solve a specific problem. In recent weeks, I've been asked to recommend out-of-the-box solutions for tracking printed circuit boards in test labs, medical samples, evidence and files. Clearly, more companies would be using RFID if they could buy prepackaged solutions to track these things, so we worked with partners to put them together.

What made me most interested in offering solutions through our Web site is my belief that if people could test the technology in their own environment at a low cost, they would be more interested in using it. When end users suggest investing $50,000 or $100,000 to track mobiles assets, management often does not respond with a great deal of enthusiasm. But if a company could spend $5,000 for a solution that tracks, say, printed circuit boards, and if the technology proves beneficial, then management might soon become interested in tracking mobile assets, IT equipment and other items.

As I said, RFID Journal does not intend to become distributors of RFID technology. For business reasons, we don't want to compete with solutions providers, so we are not making money on any sales made through our site. We also don't want to find ourselves in a situation where our articles could be perceived as being biased because we are selling a solution we are writing about. But we do want to serve the needs of our readers, and if we can work with RFID vendors at this early stage of the market to provide simple solutions, I believe this will help both our readers and technology providers.

I hate to use a cliché, but it seems like a win-win scenario.

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 or the Editor's Note archive.
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