Industry Perspective: RFID: An Expansive Technology With Good Payback
By Chris MacKinnon, Business Solutions magazine.
Recent advances in RFID (radio frequency identification) are giving VARs the opportunity to offer and bundle more services for RFID hardware, while complementing their existing bar code systems. Mike Beedles, director of the integrations solutions division at SATO America (a provider of integrated automatic identification and data collection solutions), says today's RFID is a "new, more expansive trend."
One RFID area Beedles sees a surge in is item-level tagging. He says the technology is expanding so rapidly that bundling is making more sense to VARs because software components are included with hardware offerings. For VARs, this all boils down to expanded service and support offerings. But the technology is not all that's expanding. Beedles says the RFID market in 2011 has already expanded by 35% over 2010.
RFID tag prices are also dropping, according to Beedles, which is enabling companies to deploy more solutions with a payback under one year. He says typical costs and suggested RFID prices depend on the size of deployments.
According to Beedles, sometimes VARs take RFID deployments in their own hands. "Many VARs get outside their comfort zone and try themselves to tackle RFID installation or integration to a host system and get in trouble and need assistance. You can't deploy an RFID system like you would a bar code system - too many things can go wrong, including hardware configuration and software data interfacing." Considering larger clients typically want a one-stop shop that can handle both software and hardware, Beedles suggests partnering with a vendor or another VAR/integrator that has the RFID expertise you need.