The Best of the Best

By Mark Roberti

This year's RFID Journal Award winners included Joseph Andraski, Bechtel, Hy-Vee, Marks & Spencer, NXP Semiconductors, Post Foods, Skyview High School and the Taiwan Fiscal Information Agency.

We have been honoring outstanding RFID deployments for eight years now (see RFID Journal Awards). In that time, we have seen the quality of the submissions improve significantly.

This year, in the Best RFID Implementation category, there were many large-scale deployments that merited recognition. The independent panel of judges cast their votes, and two companies were tied: Marks & Spencer, which is RFID-tagging all apparel and general merchandise items at 750 U.K. stores, and Bechtel, which is using RFID to manage materials for three major construction projects off the coast of eastern Australia. RFID Journal editors tried to break the tie, but in the end, we gave both companies the award for Best Implementation. We profile their deployments in this issue.

One of the reasons I like to publish deployment case studies is to inspire other companies to think about how they could use RFID, either for the same application or in a different way. When Skyview High School was looking for a way to improve the safety of schoolchildren, a guidance counselor's husband read about RFID tags being used for personnel safety at a psychiatric hospital in California and pointed out the idea. The school worked with the RFID provider, Ekahau, to adopt the health-care solution for the education sector. For thinking outside the box, Skyview was honored with the Most Innovative Use of RFID award.

RFID Journal has been covering cold-chain technologies and solutions for many years, but only a few companies are using temperature tags to monitor some food products. That's likely to change when companies learn how supermarket company Hy-Vee is tracking all shipments of perishable goods from suppliers to its distribution centers, and then to the stores. For ensuring customers get the freshest foods, Hy-Vee earned the award for Best Use of RFID to Enhance a Product or Service.

This year's Green Award went to the Fiscal Information Agency of Taiwan for an RFID-based electronic-invoice solution designed to save trees and reduce CO2 emissions.

We introduced a new award this year, Best NFC Deployment, to highlight the use of Near-Field Communication technology, particularly in consumer applications. Post Foods was selected for its use of NFC cards to engage customers and generate brand loyalty.

Our annual Best In Show award, given to the best new product introduced at RFID Journal LIVE!, went to NXP Semiconductors for its NFC Connected tag, which makes washing machines, refrigerators and other electronic devices smarter. And Joseph Andraski was honored with the Special Achievement Award for his support for and commitment to promoting RFID adoption at the item level in retail.

Congratulations to all the companies honored with an RFID Journal Award, as well as all the finalists. And thanks to the many other companies that submitted entries. Look for case studies about some of their excellent RFID projects in "Premium Content" on our website. I'm sure you'll be inspired.