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Eight Common Deployment Mistakes—And How to Avoid Them

Businesses deploying RFID systems keep making the same errors. Here's how to ensure you don't follow in their messy footsteps.
By John Edwards
Feb 13, 2012—As the leader of a systems-integration business, Mary Ann Wagner, the president of Vienna, Va.-based XIO Strategies, has seen an almost endless string of new adopters of radio frequency identification make exactly the same deployment mistakes. It's one of the most frustrating parts of her job, she says, noting, "The complexity involved with marrying hardware, software and processes can often be underestimated."

Wagner is being polite, of course. In reality, a surprisingly large number of prospective RFID adopters launch their projects with all sorts of misconceptions, outrageous expectations and various types of wrong ideas and delusions. Then they complain when the system is late, fails to meet its planned goals or is intrinsically problem-plagued.

While any RFID project can run into the occasional unexpected problem, learning to avoid the fundamental errors that set most newcomers back can lead to a faster and less expensive deployment, as well as a system that lives up to its owner's expectations from the onset.

Sound good? Then learn to avoid these common mistakes.

1. Selecting an Inexperienced Systems Integrator
Most RFID beginners depend on a systems integrator for knowledge and insight about RFID technologies and system design. But problems often arise when a newbie decides to tackle the job without external help, or turns to a system integrator lacking sufficient experience in the type of RFID deployment being planned, or in the client's business sector.

"You need an expert—a partner with RFID experience—to determine your requirements," says Nicolas Jacquemin, the VP of marketing and sales at Tageos, an RFID tag developer located in Clapiers, France. "Sometimes, customers call us directly, and they seem to have well-defined requirements—but, in fact, they do not, because they did [the planning work] alone, without the help of an RFID expert."

Correcting mistakes can be a time-consuming and costly process, Wagner says. "In some of our experiences, we have had to resolve issues created by vendor partners, as well as in support of integrators," she states. "Most of the time, our engineers are able to rework a project so the owner can reach the capabilities they set out to achieve by implementing an RFID system, but we have also encountered other circumstances where a complete rework of the project was necessary in order to achieve the best results."
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