As 2007 dawns, many people are calling for the year of….!!!!! But we really have not had one of those years since the Berlin Wall came down, or the advent, certainly for China, of the Cyber Century.
No, there won’t be The Year of RFID—maybe we'll have the year of Global Warming, or maybe the year you quit smoking or lose weight—certainly not without Wal-Mart stepping up to the plate. But, if we look at RFID, we find that, like most technologies, there is a logical path or roadmap forward. (Also read Inhibitors and Catalysts to Adoption).
Therefore, I thought I would discuss how the Value Adoption Process plays out. It is relevant to both end-users and developers based on when users will need what kinds of technology, and when we will need to have them richly developed.
When to Adopt and How to Get Value
- First: Learn. There is a knowledge gap on various RFID technologies at the device level: Active vs. Passive, UHF vs. LF, etcetera. These are not easy decisions for many firms since they can dispense with Wal-Mart. You need to learn. This does not have to be a big expense. You can start small, but over time you have to replicate your place, your products, and your process.
The decision on devices and technology can make a great difference in whether you develop a work-around, or a rich solution, and how much it will cost.
Conduct pilots with many technologies. Many of the firms, from Metro Group in Germany to Boeing in the US, have done just that. But labs don’t cost much, and small firms can do this, too.
- Second: Roadmap. A Roadmap to the future needs to be contemplated. This Roadmap should involve stakeholders from across your process boundaries. Since RFID will be used across many companies, the methods, process, and the instrumenting of the process need to be planned with all those stakeholders. They all have a role to play, and they should know what’s in it for them!
- Third: Data. RFID will create more data. Where will it be stored? Who will you share it with? How will you get it from the point of reading to the people and applications that need it? How will you get data from your applications to the point of writing?
- Finally: Value. Understand how to get your own benefits and ROI. Any endeavor from building a new product, a plant, an acquisition, should have a business plan for value.
RFID is no different than any other kind of effort. Don’t treat it as if it is, and you will have a logical path forward.