An interesting confluence of events has
made RFID one of the hottest buzzwords in the industry
today. Although, this technology was invented over 30
years ago and has been applied to many niches over those
years, RFID was mostly identified as a technology with
tremendous potential poised to become "really big"
sometime in the future. It now appears that the "future"
for RFID is here today!
A number of things are contributing to
RFID's rise to eminence today. The technology has finally
matured to the point where it has become practical.
This is helping generate increased demand as new uses
and applications are dreamed up almost every day. New
manufacturing processes for RFID chips and tags are
helping drive yields up while driving prices down. Additionally,
Industry Standards organizations like EPCglobal Inc.
are helping define the standards around tags, readers,
data communication and software components. Standards
such as the Electronic Product Code (EPC), the EPC Air
Interface Protocols and the Savant are expected to help
further drive economies of scale.
Finally, Wal-Mart has done the industry
a huge favor by mandating the use of RFID for some applications
at the case and pallet level . This mandate alone is
responsible for getting many companies off the fence
and into RFID playing field. While the Wal-Mart mandate
has immediate implications in the retail and Consumer
Packaged Goods (CPG) markets and their associated supply
chains, the mandate is also producing a cascade effect
that is propelling RFID into many other diverse industry
segments such as Defense, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare.
Case in point - we've already seen the US DoD issue
a mandate to its suppliers that is along the same lines
of the Wal-Mart mandate. It is only a matter of time
before we see mandates from players in other industries.
What does this
mean to your company?
If you are a Wal-Mart or US-DoD
supplier, you are already thinking about the use of
RFID and about its effect on your business. However,
RFID is a fundamental technology that will have an impact
on any business that has assets and that is concerned
with making the best use of those assets. Leveraging
RFID to improve your business efficiencies will become
an imperative for any company looking to stay competitive
in the future.