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Filling the Void

By Mark Roberti
Sep 01, 2003—RFID Journal was launched as an independent online publication on March 1, 2002, long before most business magazines had even heard of radio frequency identification. We understood the technology's importance, and we understood that businesspeople would need clear, objective news about developments and detailed information about how to deploy it. Our mission from the beginning was simple: help companies use RFID technology to cut costs, improve efficiencies and increase sales by reducing out-of-stocks.

When we launched the online publication, which has grown to be one of the largest supply-chain-technology sites on the Web, using RFID to track goods through the global supply chain was little more than a dream conceived by a few researchers at MIT. As that dream moves rapidly toward reality, the needs of companies are changing. RFID Journal is evolving to meet those needs.

In June, we launched RFID Journal Live! (www.rfidjournallive.com), an executive conference that drew some 450 senior executives eager to understand the business case for RFID and network with counterparts struggling with similar implementation issues. In October, we will hold our first RFID Journal University (www.rfidu.com), a series of hands-on educational seminars for those who need to understand how RFID systems work and how to begin planning a pilot.

And now we're launching a print magazine to give CEOs, CIOs and other high-level executives insights into the big picture. What's driving adoption? What are the key issues that will lead to a successful implementation? How will the privacy issue be resolved? How will RFID change the business processes and culture at your company?

With Wal-Mart's decision to require all of its suppliers, by 2006, to tag pallets and cases shipped to its distribution centers and stores, there's no longer any doubt that the technology will be used in the supply chain. Our cover story, "7 Reasons to Act Now," explains why all companies that make, move or sell products should start preparing early. RFID deployments will be too big, too complex and too challenging to pull off at the last minute.

How fast will the technology be adopted? Many factors will determine that. A tremendous amount of RFID-related research and development is taking place below the radar. Breakthroughs, such as a new low-cost way to print copper antennas, could reduce tag costs and dramatically speed up the pace of adoption. But global and local issues, such as concerns about consumer privacy, could slow it down. The print edition will probe all of the issues in great depth to provide senior executives with signposts to guide them through the changes RFID will bring.

As RFID technologies evolve, so will RFID Journal. But our mission will remain the same: provide timely news, objective information and insights companies need to make smart decisions. Our goal is to serve your needs-in print, online, at executive conferences and through educational seminars. Let us know how we're doing by writing to me at mroberti@rfidjournal.com.
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