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Is the Market Suffering From 'RFID Weariness'?

We're not tired of RFID—we've simply heard too many horror stories stemming from poor planning, inadequate execution and a lack of knowledge and vision.
By Byron Blackburn
Oct 31, 2011Let's face a few facts. Radio frequency identification has never had its banner year, exploded in the market, or became the standard for how all things are tracked or traced.

I'm not saying that the technology has not made some excellent inroads into retail and health-care markets, but the adoption cycle has been slow. Those of us who have weathered the flurry over the past 10 years of this business (some of us, 30 years or more) are committed to the industry, and I find that it has been a vastly rewarding and enjoyable experience. RFID is a market sector that keeps us engaged, and deeply entrenched to push the technology to the next level.


During a meeting with a renowned marketing firm the other day, I heard a new term mentioned that I had not yet encountered: "RFID weariness." Over the next couple of days, I began to wonder, Is that how the market (customer) sees RFID—as weary or worn-out?

Being in this business, working with a majority of the major players at different points during my consultancy, I have amassed a wealth of past projects and notes to review for reference. Many times, I find myself being called by customers (end users) to design a solution—or, from the supplier's side, to do the same thing, but to help make a company's product operate with a particular application. Sadly, sometimes it's just a matter of damage control. Reviewing these past projects and process improvements, as well as digging through discussions from LinkedIn posts, blogs, direct inquiries and articles, I have gathered some very good reference points from deployments across many sectors.

I would not call this current state of the market "RFID weariness," however. Yes, many people have tried RFID and grown tired of hearing about its promise. And yes, in most cases, the technology has not solved the problem that they threw it at. Two key words to note in this statement: "tried" and "threw."

USER COMMENTS

Patrick quinn 2011-11-01 04:06:35 AM
RFID Weariness??? I could not agree more with Byrons comments, hitting the nail on the head comes to mind. So many end users rush headlong into RFID projects with out first garnering all the facts, which companies offer "best of breed" solutions for a particular project. Properly thought through and implemented an ROI is almost a given...So why is it so many companies don't follow through with "due dilligence".?
Gregory Bryett 2011-11-08 04:07:57 PM
Blame the RFID industry..... Interesting article Byron. What's the moral of the story? Don't sell RFID equipment to an end user who does not have the skills to understand how the technology works? Do not buy RFID equipment from a company that does not add any value to the sale. By value I refer to end user training, support, integration, site survey, deployment strategy, professional services and service level agreements. After all RFID is not a consistent science, the same reader and tag will work completely differently in building A and building B even if the buildings appear identical. Point I'm making here is that the RFID industry often has itself to blame for any 'RFID weariness', no two deployments will be the same even if the end user is trying to solve exactly the same business problem. The industry needs more experienced solution providers that not only have the ability to educate the end user, tailor a solution to solve a business problem, provide on site professional services and end user training but also have experience with all of the RFID technologies available in order to select the right one for the right job.

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