Feb 10, 2020I often receive emails from companies looking for advice on an RFID project. Sometimes, if a project is large and complex, I will suggest that they attend RFID Journal LIVE!, our annual conference and exhibition (this year's LIVE! event will be held on Apr. 28-30 in Orlando, Fla.). Some people say they don't want to attend—they just want to know who can provide a solution so they can get it implemented quickly. This is almost always a mistake.
When you understand little about a technology, it's impossible to know the right questions to ask a systems integrator or solution provider. It's difficult to know whether they know their stuff and will carry out your deployment successfully. I have seen too many cases in which bar-code integrators that had little or no experience with radio frequency identification took on an RFID project, made promises and then couldn't deliver on them. The projects were then abandoned, or else the companies sought out a more skilled integrator to rescue them.
I understand why people prefer not to travel to events. There are costs involved, and time out of the office means working overtime later to catch up—and, frankly, many events are not worth the effort. Many events allow anyone to speak, and you wind up just receiving a sales pitch that isn't of much value. RFID Journal LIVE! is different, however. Here are three reasons it's worth attending:
1. The event offers high-quality presentations from companies explaining how they are benefiting from RFID. Speakers often mention issues they overcame or mistakes they made, which means you can avoid the same problems by knowing about them in advance. Attendees often come away with ideas for how to use RFID in ways they never thought of, and you can ask speakers specific questions that will help you deploy your solution successfully. This will save you more money than you would spend on travel.
2. You can speak to a wide variety of solution providers. Meeting solution providers and systems integrators face to face, telling them what you want to achieve and hearing how they can help you offers the best chance of choosing a partner able to deploy a solution capable of delivering value. You can listen to what Company A says about the solution Company B offers, then go back to Company A and ask more questions (and vice versa).
3. You might find things you are not looking for, which doesn't typically happen online. If you were to search for RFID readers online, you would find a lot of products listed. But as you walk the exhibit hall at LIVE!, you will see things you never knew existed, such as an RFID sensor or a tag designed specifically for items you need to track. Many attendees have told me they found solutions to issues they didn't think RFID could solve.
RFID is a powerful technology and can be used in many different ways. Educating yourself about how these systems work will enable you to see new applications your company can deploy profitably after the first project is complete. Not being educated may mean finding a solution to a short-term problem that cannot be expanded for future applications.
My goal has always been to help companies deploy RFID and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in ways that deliver value. That's why we invest so much time and effort into getting high-quality speakers from BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, NGK Automotive Ceramics USA, Nike, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital, United Airlines and other end users (see the current agenda here).
If you register for a Conference Pass, I will personally help you identify the right exhibitors to talk to and the best sessions to attend. I want you to find information and products that will lead to a successful RFID or IoT deployment that will benefit your company. If you have any questions about the event, the value we deliver, the right pass for you or your team, or anything else, please email me.
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal.