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Innovation Has Just Begun

As RFID reaches maturity and adoption begins to spread, companies are finding innovative ways to use the technology.
By Mark Roberti
May 23, 2011I am often frustrated that the vast majority of companies have a woeful lack of vision. For every Airbus, Gerry Weber International, John Deere and Wal-Mart Stores, there are thousands of other manufacturers and retailers that have no clue how radio frequency identification can improve the way they do business. But my cynicism is constantly at odds with the great optimism I have for the ability of companies to innovate within a free-market economy.

Innovation takes many forms, of course. While walking the show floor at last month's RFID Journal LIVE! 2011 conference, I was moved by the amount of energy and money that RFID technology providers have invested in creating innovative products (see New Solutions on Display at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011). I'm also excited by the constant revelations of new ways in which the technology is being employed.

Last week, we wrote about a new home-shopping theme park known as MainStreet America, that will be about the size of two football fields, and will include a dozen furnished homes with thousands of RFID tags attached to features throughout (see Home-Shopping Theme Park to Employ RFID). Visitors will be able to walk through the homes carrying RFID-enabled Google Android tablet PCs, and call up information about products located within those homes (lamps, sofas, rugs and so forth), as well as home features, such as windows, bathroom sinks and landscaping.

Will this catch on? I don't know. If it does, you will undoubtedly see a lot more retailers tagging products and enabling customers to gather more information via links to each item's unique serial number. If it doesn't, you won't. But that's how innovation works: You try something and see if it works.


Kevin Payne 2011-05-24 06:37:34 PM
Senior Director of Marketing Mark, I think many companies are just beginning to envision new solutions involving RFID. I'm seeing a lot of very intriguing applications - many of which I could not have conceived of - where RFID may be the only way to solve particular problems. The industry should have good years ahead.

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