Jun 01, 2010Four years ago, we introduced the RFID Journal Awards for Best RFID Implementation, Best Use of RFID in a Product or Service, and Most Innovative Use of RFID. Our goal was to raise awareness of successful deployments of radio frequency identification technologies and encourage end users to share their stories. In 2008, we added a Best in Show Award for the best new product exhibited at RFID Journal LIVE!, and this year, we introduced a Special Achievement Award to recognize an individual who made an outstanding contribution to the RFID community.
The award entries reflect how the RFID industry has matured. In 2007, nearly 50 companies submitted entries to the awards competition. This year, we received more than 120 submissions. In earlier years, there were few large-scale deployments among the submissions, and while there were some interesting projects in each category, there was always a clear winner. This year, many entries were for enterprise deployments. And in two categories—Best Implementation and Best Use—no two judges gave the same project the top score.
In a runoff vote, Minera Norge, a Norwegian company that manufactures slate for buildings, won for Best Implementation. In a challenging environment, the company is tracking product from production to storage and shipping (see Minera Norge Takes RFID to the Arctic Edge).
Almacafé, the warehousing subsidiary of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, won for Best Use. The RFID system tracks specialty coffee beans, allowing Colombia to better compete in the global market and helping to improve the standard of living for the country's coffee growers (see RFID Helps Ensure That Special Cup of Joe).
When you read RFID Helps Heal Body, Mind and Spirit, you'll understand why the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center was the clear winner for Most Innovative. Its unique patient-tracking system is designed to improve services and reduce anxiety for those undergoing treatment.
Our Best in Show contest was also very close. Vendors exhibited a lot of exciting new products at this year's LIVE! event (see Focus of RFID Shifts). Ultimately, the judges chose Impinj's Monza 4 tag chips, which promise to improve read rates and address privacy concerns (see Chipping Away at RFID Tag Problems).
I've worked—and have developed personal relationships—with several of the candidates who were up for the Special Achievement Award, so I recused myself from the voting. The judges picked a giant in our industry—Sanjay Sarma, cofounder of the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for leading the development of the original Electronic Product Code (EPC) technologies (see An RFID Visionary).
The maturing state of RFID technologies is also evident in this issue's Vertical Focus (Mining New Value From RFID) and Product Developments (Printed-Electronics RFID Tags Debut). RFID Journal will continue to keep you informed about new deployments and developments—and we invite you to share your stories by entering next year's RFID Journal Awards contest.
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. Photograph: Tom Hurst