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Keeping the Faith Six Years On

RFID Journal just celebrated its sixth anniversary, and my faith in the capitalist system continues to be rewarded.
By Mark Roberti
Mar 03, 2008Six years ago (on March 1, 2002), RFID Journal published its first article. I don't recall what it was about, but I do remember people even within the industry being very skeptical that I could earn a living publishing news and case studies about radio frequency identification (which, at the time, almost no one had ever heard of). And I recall a lot of people telling me why RFID would never catch on. Comments ranged from it being "too expensive" to "unreliable performance" and "a niche technology at best."

I listened to the skeptics carefully and examined their claims. After all, I was in business to make money, and I didn't want to launch something that was going to fail. But I believed that almost all of the reasons why RFID would never catch on could be overcome. One article in Business 2.0, for instance, said RFID would never take off because all of the data would overwhelm back-end systems. Yeah, I thought, no one will ever figure out how to filter data.

My belief in RFID stems now, as it did then, from a core faith in our capitalist system. Here's the thing: Tens of billions of dollars—maybe hundreds of billions—are lost each year in the global supply chain due to having too much or too little inventory, misdirected shipments, theft, counterfeiting, diversion and other problems. Any technology that can address some or all of these issues and save companies even a fraction of those billions would be worth deploying.

Back then, I considered all the technologies out there to see if there were any that could do what RFID promised to do. The answer was no. Today, I continue to stay abreast of new technologies—particularly in the automatic identification sector—and I still don't see anything other than RFID with the potential to solve supply-chain problems.

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