Learning How RFID Can Solve Business Problems

By Mark Roberti

Companies attending next week's RFID Journal LIVE! conference in Orlando, Fla., have one thing in common—they are eager to leverage RFID technology to improve the way they do business.


If you look over the list of firms sending executives to RFID Journal LIVE! 2011—our ninth annual conference and exhibition, being held in Orlando, Fla., on Apr. 12-14, 2011—it might seem they have little in common (view the list here), as there are businesses from a wide variety of industries represented.

Here are a few names that I pulled from the registration list to illustrate my point:

• Abbott Laboratories
• Adidas Group
• American Airlines
• Carnival Cruise Lines
• DELO Industrial Adhesives
• DirecTV
• Fine Art Shipping
• Fulton-Hall Publishing Co.
• General Electric
• Harley-Davidson Motor Co.
• Hertz Corp.
• Home Depot
• Ingersoll Rand
• Intelligent Robotics Corp.
• JCPenney
• Kohler
• Kraft Foods
• Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
• La-Z-Boy
• Maersk Line
• Maxell Corp.
• Northrop Grumman
• Sugar Creek Packing
• U.S. Marine Corps
• Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing
• Zachry Construction Corp.

These 28 companies and organizations represent 28 different industries or sectors. What these firms—and the more than 700 others that also have representatives preregistered—have in common is this: They understand that radio frequency identification technologies can help them solve business problems that other technologies can not address, or that RFID enables them to collect data cost-effectively, thereby allowing them to manage assets, equipment, tools, products and other mobile aspects of their business.

Many companies are currently seeking to deploy RFID—but only a tiny percentage in each industry. These are not the “visionaries,” like Airbus, Metro Group and Wal-Mart Stores, described in Geoffrey Moore’s seminal book, Crossing the Chasm (seeThe (RFID) World According to Moore, Moore Has Spoken—Were RFID Vendors Listening? and Geoffrey Moore’s Strategies for RFID Adoption). They are what Moore calls “early adopters”—mainstream companies deploying a technology that is mature, even if it has not yet reached a broad level of adoption.

LIVE! 2011 will offer these firms an opportunity to hear from other early adopters that are reducing costs, boosting efficiencies or streamlining processes with RFID. I’m always deeply gratified when attendees tell me they got far more value from the event than they expected, because they learned what they needed to solve their particular business problems—and they picked up four or five other ideas from speakers for improving business processes, which they could then bring back to their company.

Another thing that is rewarding to me is when people from one industry tell me they learned a lot from speakers in another. Our conference is organized along vertical tracks, including manufacturing, retail and apparel, supply chain and logistics, and so forth. Most people listen to case studies presented by companies within their own industry, but businesses frequently send three or four executives to the event. This gives them an opportunity to slip into another track, and they often find solutions presented in a different industry that can be utilized in their own.

And, of course, attendees will have the opportunity to visit the exhibit hall, where they’ll be able to meet more than 150 technology providers. These companies will offer every type of RFID and hybrid system available, so regardless of the application or the type of technology required, there will be a solution to be found.

We have a great agenda lined up for this year’s event—more than 50 end-user case studies will be presented. We also have an exciting exhibit floor, with numerous demonstrations planned. And we have a growing list of attendees from all industries. I hope you’ll join us next week and experience the many ways in which RFID can improve the way your company conducts business.

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.