Recognizing Excellence in RFID

By Mark Roberti

The second-annual RFID Journal Awards will serve to spotlight the best uses of RFID, as well as the best new product.

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I’m a journalist, so I’m naturally skeptical of most things. And one thing I’m particularly skeptical about is awards given out by magazines. Sure, such awards are sometimes done legitimately to recognize outstanding products, services or work. But all too often, they’re geared toward raising money or rewarding key advertisers.

So when we launched the RFID Journal Awards last year, it was important not only that the awards be handled in a credible manner, but that they be seen by the industry to be legitimate. We recruited four objective judges known within the industry (I was the fifth judge), who could evaluate RFID projects in the context of what others were doing. These judges had to be objective and beyond reproach.

Now, we’re gearing up for the second-annual awards (see RFID Journal Issues Call for Awards Submissions), and I’m pleased that most of our judges will be back for a second round. The five people evaluating award submissions will be:

Harold Boeck, professor of marketing at Sherbrooke University

Bill Hardgrave, director of the University of Arkansas’ RFID Research Center

Gordon S. Holder, U.S. Navy vice admiral (retired) and principal at Booz Allen Hamilton

Fred Riggins, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management

Mark Roberti, RFID Journal’s founder and editor

We’ve added a new award this year: Best in Show. One question many asked last year was why we didn’t introduce product awards. And the answer was, I didn’t honestly believe we could do it credibly. It would have been very difficult for our judges to determine that one middleware product or RFID reader was better than another—and if we couldn’t evaluate products in a credible way, we weren’t going to give them an award.

Then, a couple of months ago, someone suggested we let attendees at RFID Journal LIVE! evaluate the products instead. After all, many events ask attendees to choose the “Best in Show.” So we’ve decided to let vendors submit descriptions of their products, and have the judges choose up to 10 finalists from those submissions. The selected vendors will have an opportunity to demonstrate (or present) their products at RFID Journal LIVE! 2008—which is being held April 16-18, 2008, at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas—and those attending the show will choose the ultimate award winner.

I’m confident this award will be as well received as our end-user awards:

Best RFID Implementation: This award will be given to an end-user company utilizing RFID to improve its manufacturing, supply-chain or retail operations. The winner will be the company that best demonstrates how RFID is delivering real value to shareholders.

Best Use of RFID to Enhance a Product or Service: This award will be given to an end-user company that has employed RFID technology to enhance an existing product or service. The winner will be the firm that best demonstrates how it is using RFID to provide additional value to its customers.

Most Innovative Use of RFID: This award will be given to the end-user company with the most novel use of RFID technology to solve a business problem, deliver a return on investment to shareholders or improve customer service.

I hope you will join us in Las Vegas for Journal LIVE! 2008 so you can help choose the “Best in Show” award winner.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below.