Readers’ Views

By Mark Roberti

RFID Journal surveyed end users to comprehend the state of RFID adoption and the factors holding companies back from more extensively using the technology.

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We have always tried to make RFID Journal a vehicle for communication among those interested in deploying, selling or studying radio frequency identification technologies. We named our flagship conference and exhibition RFID Journal LIVE!, because we bring the people we write about on our website and in our magazine to a live audience, so attendees can see and hear in person from those who worked on RFID projects, ask them questions, and benefit from their knowledge and insights.

One way to foster communication is to ask you, our readers, what’s on your mind when it comes to RFID. To that end, last May, we conducted a survey of end users in our database. We heard from 140 people worldwide who work in a variety of sectors. Our goal was to understand the state of RFID adoption and the factors holding companies back from using the technologies more extensively.

Roughly a third of the survey respondents have deployed RFID in some of their facilities. Another third are researching RFID but have not yet implemented it. The remaining third are in various states of deployment, from conducting a proof of concept to having fully deployed it at all of their facilities.

A key problem limiting adoption is the need to buy tags from one company, readers from another and software from a third, and perhaps hire a fourth to install the system. Nearly half of all respondents said it would be simpler and less risky if they could buy an integrated solution from a single provider.

It’s interesting that systems integrators generally got high marks for delivering a system within the quote they’d given, helping to streamline processes and overcoming issues that arose during the deployment. You can read the full results of our survey—and hear from some respondents who answered follow-up questions—in this issue’s cover story, End Users Speak Out.

One sector beginning to see concrete benefits from RFID is medical labs, which must process, store and test thousands of specimen samples annually. Most test tubes and other sample containers look alike, and it’s labor-intensive to check and recheck bar codes or human-readable characters on small labels on the containers. Labs are using RFID to simplify these processes, reduce error rates and enable their workers to focus on what they do best—testing (see Vertical Focus).

Also in this issue, we highlight some intriguing new products reaching the market: STMicroelectronics‘ NFC RFID tags, which enable manufacturers and utilities to easily communicate with electric, gas and water meters; and Ubisense’s AngleID, a standalone solution that provides a cost-effective way for manufacturers to locate assets in factories and yards (see Product Developments).

Of course, you don’t have to wait until our next survey to communicate with us. You can send me an email at editor@rfidjournal, post a question on our Ask the Experts forum, or come to one of our events to engage with speakers, other attendees and the vendor community.