The Sad Truth About RFID Adoption

Posted by on Sep 26, 2015 4:53:29 PM


Although the RFID industry is soaring in its growth, adoption of UHF RFID is shockingly low according to industry experts. Today’s Gen 2 UHF RFID tags make RFID an affordable reality.

Unlike active tags, these passive tags do not require their own power source — the reader provides the power to initiate the transmission of data. Since less technology is required in the tag, their cost is very low. A low-cost RFID tag means you can tag and increase visibility into more of the goods, products and assets which drive your revenue stream.

To better understand lagging UHF adoption rates experts compare UHF to the adoption of DVD's from 1998 to 2004. Similar to RFID, DVD's were more expensive that their predecessors, cassette tapes. As RFID technology is more advanced than barcode technology, DVD's were also technologically superior to cassette tapes. DVD's could store more content and were more durable. They were the clear winner. 

The key to the success of DVD's was not only the DVD's themselves about also the DVD players. Without DVD players, DVD's would have gone to the failed technology graveyard along with Microsoft's Zune.

If you wanted to play your newly purchased DVD, all you had to do was go to a Best Buy and get DVD player for $50-$100, go home, plug in the wires and you would be enjoying your DVD in a matter of minutes. 

Although it was the easiest system to set up in the world it was still easier than it's predecessor, the VCR player. 

What is DVD's were like the RFID industry

So imagine RFID and DVD switching places. In this alternate universe DVD's have the same system support as RFID currently has. So if you buy a DVD and head to the store in an attempt to play it, you will be met with a zoo of disjointed technology that requires expertise to put together into a DVD playing system. You may find out your current TV is not compatible with certain components, and on top of that you need software to run anything. 

So would you still want your DVD? Most likely you would just go back to cassettes and call it a day. 

How to make RFID adoption more like buying a DVD player

This is the quintessential problem with UHF RFID adoption, it isn't the tag, or the price, but the system needed to support RFID adoption. 

The current focus rests on lowering the price of tags, but tag price is now at such a low that any lower will have a minimal impact on the industry. It's now time to turn the focus to making the whole system usable, into making RFID a complete solution - not several disjointed parts. 

While RFID providers continue to expand the horizons of their capabilities, low awareness of the technology and its benefits among end users in many parts of the world curbs adoption. Prospective clients remain sceptical concerning returns on high investments.

If you are an end customer, find an experienced RFID systems integrator. Do this early, because proper design of the system will save you a lot of wasted time and money. 

As industry experts continue to innovate, the future of RFID is in their hands and as more support systems come into place, ease of use will increase and more businesses will see the benefit of adoption. Until then RFID experts will pave the way and set up infrastructures for the visionary business owners that see the benefit now rather than later.  

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