When should the technology be deployed?
I assume you are referring to a timetable for switching from bar codes to radio frequency identification. We don't have any timetable that we've drawn up, and I'm not sure it makes sense to think about transitioning from one technology to another anyway, as many companies continue using bar codes even after they deploy an RFID system.
What's more, I think a timetable for adopting RFID depends on a company's particular industry, as well as how it conducts business. Some sectors adopt RFID more quickly than others, because there is a greater need for the advantages the technology provides, and because there are business issues that only RFID can address. For instance, health-care providers are adopting active RFID systems to track high-value mobile equipment in real time. The apparel retail industry is also likely to move more quickly, due to the challenges it faces in tracking multiple sizes and styles of individual clothing items.
Companies in other industries are moving more slowly to adopt RFID, but that doesn't mean all firms are adopting the technology on the same timeframe. Some businesses within the forestry sector, for instance, are using RFID to track logs.
It's the right time to adopt RFID when your company has a business issue that the technology can solve, or when it can provide a return on investment. But don't toss away your bar-code system—it provides an important backup system, and can be utilized in scenarios in which RFID doesn't make sense, such as on low-value items.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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