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Selling RFID Short

Many vendors spend too much time touting the advantages of their technology over another, and not enough time promoting the benefits of RFID.
By Mark Roberti
The industry could also do more to get the word out by placing stories in the mainstream business media, and by finding other creative ways to educate people regarding RFID's potential. Earlier this year, I wrote about promoting the technology at the World Economic Forum in Davos (see Raising RFID's Profile With Movers and Shakers). No one even sent me an e-mail saying, "Good idea."

A few weeks ago, I wrote about funding research to build calculators that would allow end users to figure their likely return on investment in an RFID system for different industries (see Putting Some Science Behind RFID). I received a couple of e-mails, but no one said they'd put up some funding to help build the calculators in an effort to build the industry.

Andy Kowl, CEO of RFID Switchboard, recently wrote about our acquisition of RFID Update, and made the point that companies spend thousands of dollars a year in search advertising with Google, but send press releases to RFID Update (and RFID Journal) expecting a free write-up. Publications can't survive without support. Google does nothing to promote the RFID industry, except point people to articles written by RFID Journal or RFID Update. RFID publications do a lot, but not every company deems it valuable to support media outlets that are helping to educate their potential clients.

In the eight years I've been publishing RFID Journal, we have never published anything negative about competing Web sites or events, even when others wrote negative things about us. My feeling was that our competitors were helping to build the RFID industry, and I hoped that over time, we would win over their readers with higher quality content and better value.

Competition is healthy, but the industry needs first to convince businesses that RFID can solve some of their problems—and it certainly can—and then compete on the technology's relative merits.

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.


Hywel Williams 2009-10-01 03:06:17 AM
Almost Right Having just returned from a conference on RFID and in particular on RTLS I have some sympathy with the point that Mark is making, i.e. that presenters should not only push their own particular products (although it would be impractical to think that they won't get a mention). What is importatnt is that we as an industry supply SOLUTIONS, these may or may not be entirely based on RFID, but may contain other elements such as IR or Ultrasound and many flavours of RFID such as zigbee, UWB, conventional WiFi etc. It is always the SOLUTION that is critical not the technology, and certainly not the particular vendor offering.

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