Jun 06, 2011For months now, there has been a lot of media speculation about whether I would throw my hat in the ring and run for president of the United States. OK, "a lot" would be an exaggeration. In fact, there hasn't been any speculation at all—but today, I am formally announcing my intention to run. I have no party, no funding, no advisors and no shot at winning, but I think the American people deserve a candidate who can focus on bringing a spirit of entrepreneurialism and innovation back to the country.
Unlike many other candidates, I don't intend to dodge the tough questions, or to run on a platform of baseball, hotdogs and apple pie. I'm running to change the country, and for the better. You can follow me on the campaign trail at Twitter (@rfidjournal), as well as on Facebook.
The Roberti 10-Point Plan to Re-energize America
1. Secure the food supply. The Bioterrorism Act of 2002 authorizes the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, acting through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to issue regulations to protect the nation's food supply against bioterrorism and food-borne illness. We haven't had any attacks on the food supply, yet each summer for the past several years, there have been numerous outbreaks of food-borne illness (see Europe's E. coli Outbreak, Hold the Onions—and the E.coli and Fresh Spinach, Anyone?). I pledge to create a public-private sector partnership to develop ways to employ radio frequency identification, 2-D bar codes and other technologies to ensure that pathogens could be traced back to their source within 24 hours.
2. Bring down soaring health-care costs by encouraging the adoption of RFID technologies to track hospital equipment. Many U.S. hospitals that have adopted RFID have seen a return on their investment in less than a year. Increasing asset utilization and reducing the incidence of lost or stolen equipment would save the health-care sector billions of dollars annually. In addition, RFID hand-washing systems could ensure that doctors and nurses wash their hands before entering a patient's room. This would reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections, thereby shortening hospital stays and saving billions more in related costs. In addition, the use of RFID in Veteran's Administration hospitals would free up money so we could take better care of our war heroes.
3. Improve airport security. We inconvenience travelers by making them remove their shoes, belts, jewelry and so forth, and yet cargo isn't screened at all. When I'm president, airports and airlines will utilize RFID technology to track baggage (that's right—no more lost luggage when I'm in the White House), cargo in cargo holds, vehicles entering and leaving secure areas of airports and much more. We'll ensure that each person working in secure areas has a thorough background check, and that he or she uses a biometrically activated RFID tag to enter those areas.
5. Reduce government waste by using RFID to track goods and ensure accountability. The U.S. government has the largest operating budget of any organization on Earth, but who knows what each agency and department is buying, and who is consuming it? By tracking all of the consumables for each agency, we could streamline the government supply chain, and reduce fraud and waste.
6. Secure the pharmaceutical supply chain. The counterfeiting of pharmaceuticals and the importation of illegal medications is an increasing problem that is robbing drug companies of their research profits, and endangering the public health. I would forge a public-private sector partnership to develop ways in which RFID could be used to reduce counterfeiting and bring efficiencies to the pharmaceutical supply chain.
7. Make American manufacturers competitive once more. By fostering innovative uses of RFID in manufacturing, we could lower the cost of making goods in the United States, and rebuild the American manufacturing base.
8. Transform the American supply chain. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has been pioneering the use of active RFID in the supply chain since 1994. And yet, to date, none of the DOD's learnings have been transferred to the private sector. I intend to change that. Just as GPS and Internet technologies were made available to the private sector, the DOD reader infrastructure installed at U.S. ports and abroad would enable private companies to track shipping containers passing through many of the world's ports.
10. Foster RFID innovation. Unlike governments in Asia and Europe, the United States does not fund RFID projects. My administration would support the research and development of next-generation RFID technology, so that companies could develop new products that can deliver even greater benefits to businesses and government agencies.
You might ask how we're going to pay for all of these programs. My first thought was we'd simply borrow from the Chinese government and blame the deficits on other parties. But then I realized we don't have to worry about cost—if we do this right, each project will deliver a return on investment, and by the time I'm up for re-election, government will be smaller, cheaper and smarter. I'll be a shoo-in for 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.