It Pays to Shop Around for RFID

Being able to speak with many solution providers at a large exhibition makes it easier to find a reliable partner for any radio frequency identification deployment.
Published: February 8, 2019

Last week, I wrote about the value of becoming educated at an event focused on radio frequency identification technologies, such as RFID Journal LIVE! 2019 (see It Pays to Be Educated About RFID). I know many events have speakers who pitch products, but we spend a lot of time and effort to recruit speakers from companies deploying—not selling—RFID solutions. This makes the LIVE! conference program very valuable. I am certain that anyone who attends the sessions will learn enough that they will save more money by avoiding mistakes than what the event and travel will cost them.

But that isn’t the only benefit of attending RFID Journal LIVE!. The fact that there will be some 200 exhibitors from 26 countries in the exhibit hall is also of tremendous value. Some will scoff at that claim. I’ve had people tell me they don’t need to come because they can find all the vendors online and research their products. Here are five reasons why I wholeheartedly disagree:

1. It would take weeks to go through the websites of 200 exhibitors, so spending three days at LIVE! would be more cost-effective and efficient than conducting research online.

2. It’s important to meet people face to face and get a sense of who they are and how committed they are to supporting your RFID project. Will they work with you to find a tag that will be right for each of your products or assets, or are they just trying to sell you something and move on? It’s hard to tell via email.

3. You can’t compare prices online. In my experience, vendors are reluctant to email price quotes, because the person requesting a quote could be a competitor. At an event, you can show your card and ask for a price quote, then compare multiple vendors in a very short span of time.

4. You get to see demonstrations of products that support vendors’ claims. If you read on a vendor’s website that a tag can be read from a distance of 10 feet away, even underwater, you might not believe it. If you witnessed this at the event, however, you would know it was true.

5. Attendees often see things at LIVE! that they weren’t looking for, but that can help them to solve problems on which they weren’t focused. Serendipity can happen on the Web, too, but only if you comb through every product on every site of every vendor—which, of course, no one is going to do.

It’s often a challenge to convince companies that it is worth the time and money to send someone to an event. However, in the 16 years I have been producing RFID Journal LIVE!, no one has ever told me it was a waste of money—and hundreds of people throughout the years have emailed me to say it was money well spent.

If you are considering deploying RFID on any kind of scale, I would encourage you to attend LIVE! 2019. You will be glad you did.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal.