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Excellence Found

This year's RFID Journal Awards illustrated just how far RFID technology has evolved.
By Mark Roberti
Jun 01, 2012In April, RFID Journal hosted its 10th annual RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition. I know beforehand each year, of course, who the guest speakers will be and which RFID providers will showcase their technologies. Yet, I'm still impressed by the many ways companies have found to use RFID to improve the way they do business, and each year, I'm amazed to see how far the technology has evolved.

For the past six years, RFID Journal has been bestowing the RFID Journal Awards on those companies that have demonstrated excellence in the way they use RFID. I always look forward to reading the entries, because I don't know what to expect. I'm often surprised and wowed by the creative ways companies are employing RFID to boost efficiencies or enhance their products or services. This year's submissions (see Honoring Excellence) included some of the largest and most sophisticated deployments to date—so, once again, the independent experts who judged the entries complained that it was tough to choose one winner in each category. (That's a problem I'm happy to live with.)

Fortunately, in the coming months, you can learn about some of the excellent entries that didn't make the final cut; look for case studies about these RFID projects in "This Week's Featured Story" on our Web site. And in this issue, you can read about each winner's deployment.

Cisco Systems earned the Best RFID Implementation Award for its solution to track and manage more than 1 million IT assets at 70 U.S. data centers and labs (see Cisco's Business-Driven RFID Strategy). The project managers reveal how the solution more than met the company's expectations, improving inventory accuracy and reducing the time required to locate assets. They also share the secrets to their success.

When Intel Corp. introduced its new platform at LIVE! 2012, it created quite a buzz, so I'm guessing some attendees weren't surprised to see the manufacturer walk away with the award for Best Use of RFID to Enhance a Product or Service (see A New Tool for Electronics Companies). The platform will enable electronics companies to add new features and capabilities to computers, tablets and other electronic devices.

The award for Most Innovative Use of RFID went to BP for its solution to make maintenance operations at oil refineries safer and more cost-efficient (see BP Refines Maintenance Operations). Interestingly, the idea for the system came from a plant operator who was using another RFID application.

Hewlett-Packard Brazil is our first two-time winner. In 2007, the manufacturer won the Best Implementation award for using RFID to track printers through production and distribution (see Keeping Tabs on Printers). This year, it won the Green Award for leveraging the RFID information in the tagged printers to recycle plastic components (see Extracting New Value From Old Printers).

Bill Hardgrave received the Special Achievement Award for his pioneering research on the real-world impact RFID has on apparel retailing (see Giving RFID Credibility). And Omni-ID took home the Best in Show Award, which went to the company with the best new product at this year's LIVE! event (see RFID Issues Instructions On the Fly). Its Visual Tagging System issues on-the-fly instructions to workers.

I hope you'll submit your project for next year's awards competition. We look forward to writing about your company in these pages.

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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