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The Year of Value-Driven RFID Deployments

2010 might have been a turning point for radio frequency identification, in that end users finally discovered the technology's business benefits.
By Mark Roberti
Dec 20, 2010Each year for the past nine years, I have written an end-of-year column that attempts to sum up the previous 12 months. It's hard to boil an entire year's worth of news stories down to 750 words, but my overriding feeling about 2010 is that it was a year in which there were many successful deployments of radio frequency identification. And the reason they were successful is that they were driven by the need to solve real business problems, or to create real business value.

Three recent news stories illustrate my point:


Medtronic is employing an RFID solution, developed in-house, that enables personnel to determine the locations of oscilloscopes, meters and other devices, and to document any items that leave the labs, as well as which personnel took them (see Medtronic's Labs Use RFID to Track Down Tools).

NASA's Langley Research Center is using passive RFID tags to identify equipment and its location, enabling the agency to reduce the time employees spend taking stock of equipment, from three weeks down to a single day (see EPC RFID Simplifies Inventory for NASA's Langley Research Center).

• Berry producer Driscoll's is utilizing a combination of RFID sensors, GPS and cellular communication technology to ensure that its products are transported at the proper temperature, and that trailers are not opened during transit (see Driscoll's Monitors Its Berry Shipments in Real Time).

These stories represent three very different types of deployments in three separate industries, but the common theme is that in each case, the technology is being used to improve operations.

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