Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, has been around in various forms since the 1930s. After numerous false starts -- some driven by responses to regulations, some by responses to industry-specific mandates -- RFID is today delivering significant benefits to a variety of businesses, in a variety of ways. Many of these boil down to delivering the visibility of assets and/or processes that enable better and more agile business decisions. In this context, the business value of "RFID" can often be described as "real-time, fully integrated data." I'm convinced that RFID and its descendants are evolving in ways that can increase its range of applications and business benefits -- but if and only if vendors and users collaborate on effective policies, processes, and solutions for integration with key applications and business functions.
Some of the Vendors that Get It:
Fluensee -- for its ability to deliver RFID-enhanced asset managability, visibility, and utilization solutions that provide value to small, mid-sized, and large businesses. (See, for example, how Fluensee brings RFID to BMC Software's Remedy Asset Management tool.)
Impinj -- for its focus on modern RFID technologies that drive down costs and complexity, on alliances that spawn complete solutions and comprehensive support services, and on item-level tracking and supply chain applications for which users are actually willing to pay money.
Intermec -- for its ability to leverage its knowledge and experience in supply chains and logistics in ways that embrace, extend, and integrate RFID technologies effectively.
Microsoft -- for its work on RFID enabling its BizTalk Server software, and its evolving, expanding ecosystem of supporting RFID-focused partners.
Motorola -- for bringing a business-centric, solutions-oriented perspective to its RFID hardware business, in concert with strong partners.
Omni-ID -- for its breakthroughs in making RFID applicable on surfaces and in environments where its use was previously difficult or impossible.
SkyeTek -- for its innovative melding of RFID and Software as a Service (SaaS), to deliver "RFID as a feature" to a growing range of business environments.
VUE Technology -- for its relentless focus on item-level RFID infrastructure, and its ability to translate that focus into credible, demonstrable business value, in retail and beyond. (It's ability to fight financial viability concerns plaguing many RFID vendors by getting itself acquired by Tyco International's Sensormatic Electronics Corp. unit, a leader in item-level "loss prevention and operational improvement technologies," hasn't hurt, either.)
More Dortch on RFID:
The Blog: Read, comment upon, and subscribe to my latest thinking on RFID and other sensor-based business intelligence enablers here. (Link will open in new window or tab, to make it easy for you to return to this location.)
RFID in Pharma: My take on what's been slowing RFID adoption in the pharmaceutical industry, excerpted from the April 2009 issue of "Brand" magazine (as a PDF file that will open or download in a separate tab or window).
RFID in IT: another of my "Brand" magazine articles (and another PDF file that will open or download in a new window or tab), this one from May 2009 and focused on how IT companies themselves are taking advantage of RFID
Much more to come soon, including additional opinions and discussion of specific vendors and strategies at my RFID blog. Meanwhile, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions and questions, or to schedule an initial, no-cost e-mail or telephone conversation about your specific RFID-related challenges, whether you're buying or selling RFID!