In Recognition of Excellence

By Mark Roberti

The finalists for the 2009 RFID Journal Awards reveal just how far RFID deployments and solutions have come.


One of the best parts of my job is learning about the myriad ways in which companies are employing the many types of radio frequency identification technologies to achieve their business objectives. Each year, we ask for submissions for the RFID Journal Awards, and I have the pleasure of reading detailed descriptions of dozens of implementations ranging from cool to extremely impressive. This year was no exception.

Today, we unveiled the finalists in each category—Best RFID Implementation, Best Use of RFID in a Product or Service, Most Innovative Use of RFID, and Best in Show (see Finalists Unveiled for the Third Annual RFID Journal Awards). While those that didn’t make the cut may be disappointed, I want them to know that they were up against some stiff competition.

“I thought almost all of [the submissions] were very good implementations that had significant impact,” said Tom Cain, a professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and one of the judges in the Most Innovative Use of RFID category.

“The submissions, as a whole, were very good,” said Bob Hoheisal, the founder and managing director of Texas State Technical College‘s RFID Training and Research Center, and a judge in the Most Innovative category. “There were a few that I felt truly showed the essence of innovation and a complete solution that is pure ‘out of the box’ magic.”

We received nearly 80 submissions this year from Asia, Europe, and North and South America, in a wide range of industries, including agriculture, airport management, auto racing, banking, consumer packaged goods, education, energy, health care, manufacturing, publishing, restaurant, retail and skiing. The judges were instructed to evaluate the entries not on the deployment’s technical aspects, but rather on the business value created.

Even the entries for the Best in Show category, which recognizes the best new product, were judged not on technical merits, but on the value the products bring end users. The submissions included tags, interrogators, applications, software and complete systems, but there was one common thread among them—most were designed to make RFID deployments easier.

AgileTag, one of the 10 finalists, was chosen for a shelf-monitoring system that can literally be deployed in minutes. ODIN Technologies, another finalist, was selected for its Blackbird SMART Container system, which will be unveiled at this year’s RFID Journal LIVE! conference and exhibition, to be held on Apr. 27-29, 2009, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, in Orlando. The system is self-contained, enabling users to outfit a shipping container with an RFID reader system in less than two minutes.

What’s more, American RFID Solutions has a nifty application for turning an ordinary iPhone into a tracking device, and Franwell has developed a new wearable RFID interrogator. Clearly, the technology is evolving as the vendor community responds to customers’ needs and demands.

All of the winners will be unveiled at RFID Journal LIVE!, on Apr. 29. End users will make general-session presentations so attendees can hear about and learn from their implementations. In addition, the 10 Best in Show finalists will offer presentations in the event’s exhibit hall, and those attending will be able to rate the products. The editors of RFID Journal will then choose the Best in Show winner based on their opinions, the judges’ scores and attendee input.

I want to publicly thank all of the judges who submitted their valuable time to evaluate the submissions. Without them, the awards would not be possible. (A list of judges is available on the RFID Journal Awards Web site.)

I hope to see you all in Orlando on Apr. 27-29 for RFID Journal LIVE!, so you can experience these products and innovative implementations first-hand, and learn how radio frequency identification can help reduce costs in the short term while enabling your company to achieve long-term efficiency gains.

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.