Remembering Craig Harmon

The automatic-identification industry lost a valued member of the community on July 3, when Craig Harmon, age 67, died of a sudden heart attack.
Published: July 11, 2014

Last week, I learned that auto-ID industry pioneer and RFID expert Craig Harmon had passed away. On July 3, Craig suffered a severe heart attack at his home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and was pronounced dead at Mercy Medical Center.

Craig was already a central figure in the radio frequency identification industry when I founded RFID Journal in 2002. In fact, I think it’s fair to say he was a pioneer not just in RFID, but also in digital communications. Early in his career at Northwestern Bell, he invented the first 2400 baud modem. Many readers are probably too young to remember dial-up modems, but in the old days, each computer had a modem that sat on a desk and plugged into the telephone jack to send digital packets over phone lines.

Craig Harmon

In 1981, Craig founded Q.E.D. Systems, a consulting firm providing education and standards development for automatic-identification technologies, including bar codes, two-dimensional symbols (QR code and PDF 417), RFID and real-time locating systems (RTLS). He was instrumental in the development of many bar-code and RFID industry standards, and his book, Reading Between the Lines: An Introduction to Bar Code Technology, has sold more copies than any other text relating to bar-code technology.

Craig helped develop the Federal Express package-tracking system, and was a speaker at many automatic-identification and data-capture (AIDC) events. In 2004, the Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility (AIM) recognized him for his contributions by bestowing upon him the prestigious Richard R. Dilling Award.

I know I speak for the entire auto-ID community when I say he will be missed.

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.