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RFID Fantasies

Solution providers have dreams of scoring big deals quickly, which is retarding adoption of RFID technology.
By Mark Roberti
Oct 05, 2014

I have been writing about radio frequency identification for 14 years now. During that period of time, I have had countless conversations with sales and marketing people at RFID technology firms. Almost all of them share these common RFID fantasies.

Fantasy 1: If I can just meet the CEO of a large company that could benefit from RFID, I will convince him or her of RFID's value and land a multi-million-dollar contract.

RFID sales almost never happen this way. In the vast majority of cases, someone within the company has a business problem, and he or she seeks out a solution. If RFID proves to be it, they sell it internally to obtain the funding. Airbus' Carlo Nizam is an excellent example. He was a mid-level supply chain execute who realized RFID could solve some visibility issues he was grappling with and do a whole lot more.

The result: Those mid-level executives often do not receive the support they need, and if they are not aggressive in pursuing an RFID solution, the project never gets off the ground.

Fantasy 2: I will discover some large, untapped pool of potential RFID users that no one else has discovered.

Vendors think they will strike gold at an industry event that attracts attendees who could potentially benefit from RFID. They believe they have a captive audience, because there are no speakers talking about RFID and no other RFID companies exhibiting. There's a reason for this: The attendees are not interested in RFID. And while RFID companies think they can convince those uninterested in the technology that they should buy a solution, history shows that this very rarely happens.

The result: The vendor wastes time and money that could have been spent on companies that are actively seeking RFID solutions. And it's no secret where these companies are—they are attending RFID events and reading RFID websites.

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