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5/21/2004
06:29 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
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Editor's Note: RFID Benefits Are Worth The Wait

It's not going to happen overnight." How many times do you hear that in business? I hear it all the time, and it drives me crazy. "Really? You mean all corporate infrastructures won't be integrated and secured in 24 hours? You mean technology won't become less complex by the time the sun comes up? And data shared throughout global supply chains won't be synchronized before I eat breakfast?

OK, I guess that means RFID deployment and success isn't going to happen overnight. Or in a month or a year or maybe even several years. But mandates and commitments driven by powerful companies, aggressive testing, and a strong desire for innovation will cut some time from the process. As Wal-Mart stores division CEO Mike Duke says, "This joint work has ensured that many months, and even years, have been taken out of the traditional development cycle."

Let's be realistic, though. There are plenty of speed bumps in the way--standards battles, costs, complexity. But how many major business-technology advances come with no baggage? It's how efficiently and collaboratively those issues are dealt with that matters.

The other comment I hate: "This technology's not for everyone." Oh, so not every company should use the same technologies in the same way and expect the same results? Of course not, but there's also every reason to believe that many emerging technologies could have meaningful applicability in many businesses. Let's face it, immediate, demonstrable ROI is nice (and expected by many executives), but there also has to be some risk taking, vision, and understanding that part of the ROI may be intangible, but highly critical. As Stan Drobac, VP of RFID applications at Avery Dennison, says, RFID is "creating extra expense without return, but five years down the road we will wonder how we lived without it."

Stephanie Stahl
Editor-in-chief
sstahl@cmp.com


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