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RFID's Next Generation of End Users

Students around the world are learning about radio frequency identification, and will likely embrace the technology for solving many business problems.
By Mark Roberti
May 07, 2012I recently received a wonderful note from Josh Birdwell, a high-school student attending the Francis Tuttle Technology Center, who became excited about radio frequency identification and conceived a project to utilize the technology to track his school's inventory. I was so moved by Josh's enthusiasm that I published his e-mail (with his approval) on my blog (see The Passion of the Next Generation).

I receive e-mails at least once a week from students, mostly at the university level, who are working on an RFID project and seek advice, and I always do what I can to help. I've been thinking about these students a lot recently. As RFID Journal celebrates 10 years in business, I've frequently been asked about the next 10. In some ways, these students are the key to RFID's adoption during the decade to come.

RFID is not plug-and-play, and there are good reasons why some companies are not adopting the technology. But clearly, one of the greatest obstacles facing adoption is legacy thinking. Getting large organizations to do things in a new, better way—even to consider that there could be a new, better way—is not easy.

But students graduating over the past few years, as well as those studying now, are eager to embrace new and better ways of doing things. These young people have not been conditioned for years to think and act in a particular way, and they are also comfortable with new technologies. They will likely bring new ways of thinking to organizations, and RFID will be a part of that.

Thousands of students graduate each year with experience using RFID technology for supply-chain, health-care, manufacturing and other applications. And as they are hired and rise through the ranks of corporations worldwide, they will likely put RFID to work to solve problems that once bedeviled their predecessors.

There are, of course, other reasons why RFID adoption will accelerate over the next few years. The technology has matured, and is now easier to deploy; the business case has been proved in many applications; companies are now under pressure to continue innovating; and so forth. These reasons, combined with a new generation of businesspeople anxious to harness the technology's power in new ways, make me optimistic about the RFID industry's prospects over the next 10 years.

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, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.
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