May 02, 2016A few years ago, I had a conversation with the CEO of a company that produced radio frequency identification tags and readers. The executive told me he would not advertise on RFID Journal's website or exhibit at our events because RFID was perceived poorly by most businesspeople and he was rebranding his firm. That company now offers sensor networks instead of RFID.
Here's the funny part: He asked me if I was considering changing the name of RFID Journal to something else. I responded, "No, there are people who understand that RFID can solve some business problems no other technology can solve, and our name is how they find us. Also, the negative view of RFID will change as the technology matures and begins to show its value."
I had similar conversations with businesses that wanted to rebrand themselves as Internet of Things technology companies. I warned more than one RFID firm, "Be careful. The IoT might go into the chasm just as RFID takes off." That appears to be what's happening. RFID coverage in the news is now overwhelmingly positive, while IoT articles have taken on a more negative tone (see The Internet of Hacked Things).
Last week, as we prepared for RFID Journal LIVE! 2016, RFID Journal's 14th annual conference and exhibition—starting tomorrow in Orlando, Fla.— the Wall Street Journal published a major story on the cover of its Business section, discussing how Johnson Controls is employing RFID to track and manage reusable transport items (see Johnson Controls Unravels Riddle of Missing Crates).
The article quotes Brian Kelly, who is a keynote speaker at LIVE! 2016, as saying, "At a time when automotive production is going to 18 million vehicles in the U.S., these crates are worth their weight in gold. You can't move parts without them."
Last week also saw another big RFID story receive widespread attention. Delta Air Lines announced that it would become the first U.S. airline to use RFID to track passenger luggage (see Delta Gives Green Light to RFID Baggage Tracking). That story was picked up by many business pages and mainstream newspapers. Rick Lewis, a business analyst for aircraft maintenance at Delta, is another LIVE! keynoter (perhaps you are beginning to recognize a trend).
I'm pleased that RFID has reached a maturity level, and that large companies are using the technology for their big projects. I feel privileged to be a part of this industry, and I am immensely proud that RFID Journal is helping companies to become more efficient by spreading the word about their successful deployments (we've been doing it for 15 years now). I'm also proud that we didn't panic when things weren't going well for the technology, or jump from one trend to the next. My faith in RFID, the companies that make the technology and the businesses that use it has been rewarded.
I hope I see you in Orlando this week for RFID Journal LIVE! 2016.
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor's Note archive or RFID Connect.