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RFID swings into 2004 with high hopes, observes ABI
28 January 2004, News

If 2003 was the year the market awakened to supply chain-based RFID, 2004 will surely be the year it readies for school. The two mandates for 2005, set by Wal-Mart and the US Department of Defense, pushed RFID into the public eye, and moved it from company science experiment to boardroom priority, with a focus on improving enterprise-wide operations. Now, manufacturers, the suppliers to Wal-Mart and the DoD, are diving into an increasingly busy RFID market already brimming with developing standards, large company entrants, start-up software developers, and numerous systems integrators. Despite some recognisable large company names, success is still to be determined, says technology research firm ABI.

Texas Instruments, Symbol Technologies, NCR, Philips, Sun Microsystems are only some of the big-name companies that have entered the world of RFID. Some recognisable names have entered the RFID fray as systems integrators, namely IBM, Accenture, BearingPoint, Unisys, RedPrairie, and Manhattan Associates. Process questions abound, such as where to store the data, what data should be stored, how to secure and maintain data, and what is the optimal method to integrate data with existing business solutions. Some integrators, such as SAP, are developing enterprise-level RFID patches for customers. And there are others, known as warehouse management systems companies. Long-time DoD integration partners such as Unisys, Lockheed Martin, and Accenture are stepping up their US government-based RFID efforts.

"Due to the time constraints and the still-developing standards, prior relationships will drive RFID integration contracts even more than with previous rollouts, such as ERP or supply chain management systems," notes Erik Michielsen, ABI senior analyst. "This is not necessarily good for the RFID business, as the process discourages competition and rewards relationships over capabilities. The upside is that established relationships will better enable scalable, successful solutions due to better understanding of environment, staff, and business goals."

For more information on RFID studies see www.abiresearch.com/category/security.jsp


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