Beware of RFID hype, warns Meta Group

Many IT departments are scrambling for budget to roll out RFID projects without understanding the electronic tracking...

Many IT departments are scrambling for budget to roll out RFID projects without understanding the electronic tracking technology's actual capabilities and limitations, analyst firm Meta Group has warned.

 

RFID has moved to the top of the agenda for many IT directors in the past year, with take-up of the technology driven by retail giants such as Tesco and Wal-Mart.

 

While the technology will enable a company to improve efficiency in its supply chain, decision makers should not be enticed by the "low-cost tag" hype, since RFID is not a one-size-fits-all approach with unlimited technical abilities, Meta said.

 

Companies should keep initial RFID projects at the case/pallet level, acting as barcode replacements, before moving to more complicated supply chain implementations, said Gene Alvarez, vice-president for technology research services at Meta.

 

"Many IT organisations do not immediately realise that even smaller RFID projects can significantly affect an entire IT infrastructure and application portfolio, so a readiness assessment must be performed early on," he said.

 

"Starting with small projects will assist enterprises in climbing the RFID learning curve and establishing standards that support efficient future product movement."

 

IT departments should create a task force responsible for gaining an understanding of RFID's capabilities and limitations, Alvarez said.

 

This group should interweave RFID technology with existing IT infrastructure and application portfolios as part of an overall adaptive organisation strategy, he added.

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