Expectations for RFID Journal LIVE! 2014

By Mark Roberti

More companies are attending the event, with plans to invest in RFID to solve their business problems.

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This week, RFID Journal will hold the 12th annual RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, at the Orange County Convention Center, located in Orlando, Fla. Each year, around this time, I like to offer a few predictions about the event. So here’s what I’m expecting to see in the coming days.

An increase in attendance. I won’t know the final numbers until the conference concludes, but I expect attendance to be up by 4 or 5 percent. Last year, we saw a 9 percent increase, so another bump in attendance indicates adoption is beginning to accelerate.

Early registrations were behind last year’s pace, but registrations picked up at the end. The last-minute surge in registrations indicates that companies have put tight restrictions on travel budgets and are cautious about committing to travel. During times of tight travel budgets, no one wants to commit to a trip and then incur fees for cancelling.

A commitment to RFID projects. Given the travel restrictions most companies seem to have in place, it’s clear the companies that are coming are serious about RFID projects. These companies have a need—and a budget—to solve their issues via radio frequency identification. I expect they will visit booths with clear ideas about the applications they are planning and the solutions in which they need to invest.

I spoke to a few dozen end users as part of our concierge service. One, for example, wants to track equipment in maintenance vehicles, while another wants to monitor fire-protection equipment. I recommended several exhibitors to each company. An oil firm looking for an employee safety and evacuation system knew a couple of the solution providers I recommended, because it had conducted some research and planned to visit their booths.

New group of attendees. As I look over the registration list, I see companies that offer products and services that could incorporate RFID. These are businesses that provide material-handling services, security and inventory management. It appears they are attending to learn how to incorporate RFID in the products and services they offer to their customers. This is a relatively new phenomenon, and shows RFID is maturing.

Better buyer-seller connections. I anticipate that a greater number of end users will find the solutions they want than in previous years. One reason is that there are more RFID solutions available for more applications than ever before. Another is that end users seem to be conducting research regarding which providers offer the solutions that meet their needs, and which have deployed them in the real world.

In addition, RFID Journal was proactive in connecting buyers and sellers. We e-mailed exhibitors lists of companies attending that might be interested in their solutions, and encouraged them to reach out to those firms using RFID Connect, our social-media and event-planning site. This year, more exhibitors took advantage of this service. We also made every effort to guide attendees to the exhibitors they should visit, based on their industry and application.

Overall, I think we are moving inexorably toward mass adoption. It won’t happen overnight, but the companies that find solutions at LIVE! 2014 and deploy them successfully will lead additional companies in their industries to do the same. And those deployments, in turn, will encourage still more companies to use RFID to solve similar problems. It is exciting for me to see a growing number of companies benefiting from the technology. Of course, we’ve only begun to tap RFID’s potential.

I hope to see you in Orlando! Although online registration is closed, you can still register onsite.

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.