Should You Abandon the Status Quo?

By Mark Roberti

RFID Journal LIVE! 2010 will feature more than 50 reasons why you should stop doing things the way you do them today, and begin using radio frequency identification.


In the 30-minute teleseminar we hosted last week, Jill Konrath, bestselling author of Selling to Big Companies, said that technology buyers make three decisions (see Jill Konrath Discusses How to Sell RFID to Big Companies). First, they decide whether they want to grant access to a company selling new technology, such as radio frequency identification. Then, they decide whether they want to switch from the status quo and use that new technology. And finally, they decide which vendor’s solution they want to employ.

Deciding whether to abandon the status quo is unique to each company, because each has different problems, business processes, capital budgets and competing technology projects. Every company must also evaluate the potential risks involved with any new technology project, including disruption to the business and project failure.

But there are good reasons to change and use RFID. Next week, we will host our eighth annual RFID Journal LIVE! event, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. It will feature more than 50 end users speaking about why they chose to abandon the status quo. We invite so many end users to speak because the best way for a company to evaluate the potential risks and rewards of deploying a new technology is to hear the real-world results of those who already made that decision.

Regardless of which industry you are in, or what problem you’re trying to solve, you will hear relevant presentations at the conference. And in some cases, you will find unexpected answers to business issues that you were unaware RFID could address.

A couple of years ago, Keith Sheardown, GM of technology solutions at Bombardier Transportation, came to our event in Toronto. He heard a presentation by a speaker from BP about how the energy company was tracking people in refineries to ensure they got out safely in the event of an emergency. Keith realized the same technology could be used to protect inspectors (several inspectors are killed every year because they fail to hear a train coming and the conductor is unaware of their presence). At this year’s event, Keith will speak about his journey to solve that problem.

And here’s an added benefit of attending RFID Journal LIVE!: You will hear best practices from those who have deployed RFID the right way. Keith’s presentation, for instance, won’t be about tags or readers. Rather, he’ll talk about how he evaluated the user experience and developed a simple, low-cost system that does the job. “The engineers wanted to jump right in and design something that worked from a technical standpoint,” he says. “But if nobody uses the system, it’s worthless. So we spent a lot of time sketching out the user experience.”

Learning from the companies that deployed RFID is a good way to reduce your risk and ensure a successful outcome. It’s a lot of work recruiting end users who are willing to come and share their experiences, but we do it because we know the information shared is invaluable. We know it’s why 98 percent of attendees, year after year, tell us the event was great value for their money, and that they would recommend it to others. I hope you’ll join us in Orlando on Apr. 14-16, for LIVE! 2010, so that you can hear from those who have deployed a solution that is better than the status quo.

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, RFID Connect or the Editor’s Note archive.