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Power in the Age of Visibility

How will RFID affect the world of manufacturing in the year 2030?
By Jennifer Zaino
Dec 01, 2009—All CEOs wish they had a crystal ball, so they could see the future and prepare for it rather than simply react to change. Unfortunately, there's no way to know what the world will be like in, say, 20 years. But we believe radio frequency identification will be widely adopted by 2030 and will have a profound impact not just on the way companies do business, but on the way people shop, travel, learn and more.

Exactly how this growth will take place isn't clear, but there are signs. Technology providers that promote the benefits of RFID and deliver solutions to solve specific business problems, providing a fast return on investment, will lead the way. At the same time, companies that use the technology—to track assets and inventory, streamline operations and business processes, or provide customer services—will create and leverage an RFID infrastructure to achieve even more benefits.



In the scenarios on the following pages, we imagine what the world will be like in 2030. Read them, then ask yourself where your company will be 20 years from today. Will you be powering or using the solutions that attract shoppers to retail stores, expedite product shipments, put the joy back in travel, enhance education, simplify chores and save lives? Or will you be playing catch-up?

* * *

Amelia Hartear loved everything about being CEO of AirWell, a midsize aircraft parts manufacturer. Twenty years ago, when she'd talked the board into hiring her, the small company was on the edge of bankruptcy. They'd been impressed with her confidence and her vision to streamline manufacturing processes, reduce costs and improve quality through investments in new technologies. Their gamble in her—and hers in an emerging technology called RFID—had propelled the company out of the red and ahead of the competition.

Today, she could show the board that AirWell had once again earned a top spot on Aviation Supply magazine's list of best companies in the industry. The editors cited AirWell's reliable and innovative products—spark plugs designed to reduce wear; heat-resistant harnesses engineered to provide greater energy efficiency; and turbine engine ignition systems that improve performance.
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