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Making the RFID Market More Transparent

End users and systems integrators need more visibility into what products are available and who makes them.
By Mark Roberti
Apr 15, 2013

While adoption of radio frequency identification is growing stronger, more companies would likely be considering the technology if they knew there were products that could meet their requirements or companies that could quickly develop solutions to meet their needs. End users and systems integrators also would like to feel confident that they are purchasing technology from reputable companies.

According to the 2011 RFID Marketing Strategies Report, produced by RFID Journal and Burnell Reports, 84 percent of study respondents said brand is important for RFID purchasing decisions. Yet, only 35 percent of end users recognized the top RFID brand. On average, most companies were recognized by less than 2 percent of end users. This means there is very little transparency in the RFID market. Potential buyers of RFID technology cannot easily find the right sellers.

Photo: iStockphoto

But transparency is something of a chicken- and-egg scenario. Solution providers don't want to waste money advertising their wares if no one is interested in buying them, and no one can buy them if they don't know they exist.

RFID Journal has been working on ways to address this problem. RFID Connect, our event-planning and social-media site, provides a cost-effective way for vendors to post information about their products. Some vendors are beginning to take advantage of this service, and end users are visiting the site to request information. A systems integrator recently inquired about ultrahigh-frequency RFID bangles, saying if they provide adequate read range he would order 300,000 units for a customer. Other end users and systems integrators have inquired about the cost of rugged tags, the read range of labels and whether readers are compliant with radio emissions regulations in Europe.

We also aim to inspire more productive interaction between attendees at RFID Journal LIVE!, our largest event, and exhibitors of RFID products and services. We introduced a smartphone application that will let attendees highlight exhibitors on the exhibit hall map by the products they offer or the industries they serve. And we created a free product showcase for exhibitors so attendees can quickly see some of the products being offered. The large structure has 108 panels that will feature product photos and descriptions, along with exhibitor logos and booth numbers.

Of course, RFID RFID Journal can't solve the visibility problem on its own. RFID vendors must take the initiative to market their products and increase brand awareness. Transparency in the marketplace will fuel growth by enabling more companies to deploy systems. And that, in turn, will encourage still more companies to adopt RFID.

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