RFID... after the hype

RFID... after the hype

Radio frequency identification technology (RFID) isn't just for the supply chain anymore.

That's the conclusion of an online survey released this month by ABI Research. The survey was conducted between April and June and involved 175 companies, some of which weren't using RFID technology at the time.

Even though companies are investigating RFID for specific vertical and other uses, Michael Liard, an analyst at ABI stressed that the major driver behind the technology's adoption is remains compliance with Wal-Mart and DOD mandates.

The largest growth area for RFID will continue to be applications that track pallets and cases, Liard said.

One of the most public deployments of RFID was with Wal-Mart Stores using the technology to improve logistics and supply chain management operations between suppliers and store facilities. Similarly, the US Department of Defense (DOD) has been mandating suppliers use RFID to tag their goods.

However, according to ABI Research, the supply chain isn't the only area in which companies are using RFID. The technology is also being applied to asset management, security access control and specialised inventory management, Liard said

Despite that expected growth, a number of respondents offered explanations about why they aren't deploying RFID, saying that it has limited relevance to their operations. They also cited concerns about getting a return on investment and said they remain uncertain about RFID's benefits.

Based on the survey results, Liard offered the following advice via an emailed statement: "For companies on the fence with RFID, I would recommend approaching RFID with cautious optimism. Current and potential end users must remember that when it comes to RFID, it needs to be more about the application and how the technology can be leveraged to address critical pain points in an enterprise."

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