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Motorola Embeds RFID Tags in Handhelds

If more RFID product manufacturers leverage the technology's benefits, it will provide potential end users with greater confidence in radio frequency identification.
Posted By Mark Roberti, 11.17.2009
I was encouraged by the news that Motorola is embedding an RFID transponder in its new MC3100 series (see Motorola Embeds RFID Tags in Its Handheld Computers). The transponder is designed to allow customers to find the handheld if they put it down in a busy warehouse and are unable to locate it at a later time.

Motorola could also use the tag to track shipments of handhelds. I am often asked by end users why vendors don't employ RFID to track their own work-in-process (WIP), inventory and so forth, if the technology is so great. I don't have a good answer. Perhaps the reason is that the volumes of RFID products sold aren't that significant to warrant tracking in the supply chain, and most manufacturing is outsourced so RFID vendors don't need to track WIP.

The more RFID vendors that make other products use the technology, I think, the more confidence it will offer end users. And in the case of Motorola, the RFID tag being built into its bar-code reader could spur some end users to adopt the technology. If, for instance, a firm buys an RFID interrogator to locate misplaced bar-code readers, it might be encouraged to tag other mobile assets as well—and the more items that company tags, the more it will realize that RFID has a great deal of utility in a warehouse.

In the 1980s, Microsoft's salespeople told enterprise customers that it used its own goods—"We eat our own dog food"—as a way to encourage them to have confidence in its business products (see Eat Your Own Dog Food). The RFID community would do well to follow that lead, and to use their own products to encourage end users to have confidence in them. Motorola's decision to embed tags in their handhelds is a good start.

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 or click here.

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