What Can You Learn at an RFID Event?

By Mark Roberti

A lot—and not just from those who have deployed a solution in your industry or in an application similar to the one you are considering.

I sometimes hear people say that they don't need to attend an event about radio frequency identification, because they can get all the information they need from the internet. I beg to differ.

I realize a lot of events are poorly run. Their programs are filled with marketing managers from companies trying to pitch you something, or consultants willing to donate their time in an effort to drum up some new clients.

When you have an event that spends the time and effort to recruit end users sharing their experiences, the education can be invaluable. Throughout the past 17 years, I have been involved in producing nearly 100 face-to-face events. I've brought my skills as an editor to the program, inviting (sometimes begging) people with the right knowledge to come and speak, and creating a mix of speakers that will tell attendees what they need to know.

For keynotes, we always look for a mix of people from different industries because they bring varying perspectives, experiences and learnings. Unfortunately, not every retailer is willing to listen to someone from an oil company or auto maker speak. And not every logistics executive wants to hear from someone in health care. That's too bad, because there is a lot to be learned from others.

Don't believe me, though—read my colleague Doug Hope's column, Delta Air Lines Shows the Future of Retail. I can also point you to examples, such as Bombardier Transportation, which developed a track-safety solution after hearing a speaker from BP talk about an evacuation application of RFID.

Speakers share their experiences at events, and these often resonate with attendees. Someone might talk about how they got workers to buy into using a system, or how the benefits revealed during a pilot were presented to management in a way that swayed them to fund an RFID project. These apply across all sectors.

It's also valuable to meet exhibitors face-to-face. Sure, you can buy tags and readers online. Maybe you can even find a good systems integrator online. But there is nothing like talking to people in person and getting a sense of who they are and how they conduct business.

During my 17 years of producing events, I have had countless people tell me they learned things they never expected to learn. I've had attendees who flew halfway around the world tell me it was worth the time and money. I have never had anyone tell me it was a waste of time and money.

I hope you'll come to RFID Journal LIVE! Europe 2017, RFID in Aerospace and Defense 2017 or RFID Journal LIVE! 2018 and get educated about RFID. I know you will be glad you did.

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.