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Why We Give Awards to End Users

The RFID Journal Awards are designed to highlight the successful use of RFID, which benefits everyone.
By Mark Roberti
Feb 21, 2017

This year, as in years past, we were forced to reject several entries submitted to the RFID Journal Awards. The entries were invalid because they described solutions or implementations without indicating what company was benefiting from those projects. I informed one solution provider that he had to nominate a customer to be considered. He said he would try, but that it was a pity his company could not win the award since it had worked so hard to create the solution.

It's a pretty common response. I've had companies ask, "Why should the customer get the award? We did all the work."

It's a good question, so let me answer it. We honor end users because we want to highlight successful uses of radio frequency identification technologies. This encourages other end users to adopt RFID as well, and thus helps to grow the industry. We also believe it encourages other companies to use the specific solution involved in the award, which benefits the RFID solution provider.

Would the solution provider benefit more if it received the award? I don't think so. Most technology buyers dismiss awards because they are often bought. Companies pay to be named the top provider of this or that solution, and everyone knows this, so such awards are widely discounted.

But there is no incentive for an end user to pay for an award, so if a solution provider says, "Our customer won RFID Journal's Best Implementation of RFID in Retail award for its use of our solution," that says a whole lot more and is taken a lot more seriously by other potential customers.

It is, in fact, the use of RFID by one company in an industry that inspires others with similar business issues to consider using the technology as well. This is why RFID Journal puts so much emphasis on end users. We try to speak to the end-user company—the business that is using the RFID system—for every case study and news story on our web site.

It is why we recruit end users to speak at our events. Having a company such as American Woodmark, Herman Kay Co. or Endries International, which will all be speaking at this year's RFID Journal LIVE! conference in May, say, "We use RFID in our manufacturing and here's how it helped us" is more powerful than having a solution provider say, "This is our solution and here is how it can help you."

There is, of course, a place for highlighting new solutions, and we do this on RFID Journal's website each week, as well as in the exhibition halls at our events and at RFID Connect. And there is a place for rewarding solution providers, which is why we have the Best New Product category. But we believe that highlighting successful deployments benefits everyone, because it helps other companies see that value of using RFID.

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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