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What the RFID Industry Can Learn From Steve Jobs

Apple's success has been in making products that are easy to use.
By Mark Roberti
Just as the new iPhone can recognize voice commands and respond accordingly, RFID allows IT systems to recognize and respond to actions in the real world. Tags affixed to inventory can be read, and inventory systems can then be updated automatically. That already happens today—but what if a retail-store worker could ask an RFID system which items were out of stock? What if a factory-floor manager could ask where a particular tool was located? What if a company's CEO could ask which products had not moved during the last week? And what if an RFID system could immediately reply to these requests?

Finally, I think someone could become the Steve Jobs of radio frequency identification. By that, I mean that Jobs focused on consumers, while Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and other technology leaders have focused primarily on the business market. At present, very few RFID technology providers are looking to the consumer market, which represents a huge opportunity.

In our special 2009 issue of RFID Journal magazine, RFID 2030, we imagined a world in which RFID enhanced education, simplified chores and put the fun back in travel. One day, for example, there will be smart homes in which people won't lose their keys or TV remote control, and in which intelligent tools and appliances will help with laundry and food preparation. The entrepreneur who sees that opportunity will be someone like Jobs, with a passion for making products that are easy to use and make life better.

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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