Is There Anything New in RFID?

By Mark Roberti

Innovation is alive and well in the RFID industry, with new applications and deployments, and improvements in the technology.


The other day I was speaking to an end user from a major defense contractor who called me seeking some advice. I asked if he planned to attend RFID Journal LIVE! 2008, our sixth annual conference and exhibition, being held in Las Vegas on April 16-18, and he replied, “I don’t think so. I was there last year and it was a great event, but there’s nothing new in RFID.”

Whoa, Nelly! You have got to be kidding.

The pace of innovation in the world of radio frequency identification isn’t slowing down. It’s picking up—rapidly. And innovation will be on display at LIVE! 2008, where there will be a lot of new things to see, hear and experience. It breaks down into three categories:

New technology: You’ll hear how companies are using new RFID hardware and software to solve common business problems. And in the exhibit hall, you’ll see the latest technology solutions in action. Just to highlight a few of the hardware innovations that will be on display, you’ll find UHF readers that can determine the direction in which a tag is moving (very helpful if you need to know whether assets are going into or out of your facility), locate a tag in a three-dimensional space and read passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags at a distance of more than 300 feet (no, I’m not smoking anything). You’ll also see new tags with improved read ranges, additional security features and sensors to monitor temperature, humidity and movement.

On the software side, you’ll see new products designed to solve specific business problems. There will be software products or combination hardware-software packages for tracking IT assets, work in process, files, evidence, assets (of course) and much more.

New case studies: Many companies and organizations have been quietly deploying RFID technologies to solve a wide variety of business problems, and a number of them will share their experiences for the first time. RFID Journal LIVE! 2008 will feature speakers from ASD Healthcare, Costa View Farms, Denver Health, Durakon, the Florida State Attorney General’s Office, FN Manufacturing, Freightliner, the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture, JB Hunt, Lexar Media, LOGyCA, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Rexam Plastic, Sam’s Club, Spar Group, the Texas Travis County Fire Marshall’s Office, Weyerhaeuser and many others. (To see a full list, click here).

Many leading early adopters—such as Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark—will also be back to present new insights. These companies are among the most aggressive in exploring new applications for RFID and addressing issues surrounding RFID deployments. This year, for instance, K-C’s Corey Mingerink will discuss how the company is using passive UHF EPC tags for yard management.

New education: We’ve updated our five tracks—Defense/Aerospace, Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical, Retail/CPG and Supply Chain/Logistics—with the latest information to help those looking to learn how to deploy RFID in these specific industries. We’ve also updated the content in our preconference seminars for newbies, investors, packaging and labeling companies, and auto-ID systems integrators, distributors and value-added resellers.

In addition, we’ve added preconference seminars for those who want to hear how early adopters in the airline, auto, chemical, food, health-care and government sectors are using RFID to improve their operations and cut costs. We’ve also developed a special seminar for IT service providers who either want to track IT assets or understand how they can use Electronic Product Code (EPC) standards to develop applications or hosted solutions for their customers.

RFID Journal LIVE! is also innovative. We were among the first events to use RFID-enabled badges, and we created the world’s first RFID-enabled arcade games. This year, we have some new tricks up our sleeve. As great at last year’s event was, I have absolutely no doubt that LIVE! 2008 will be bigger, better and filled with new experiences for attendees. I look forward to seeing you there.

Oh, and by the way, the early registration period ends this Friday—so if you want to save $500, sign up this week.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below.