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6/20/2007
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Tech Companies Still Committed To RFID, But Customers Are Uncertain

While 84% of technology companies plan to offer RFID products in the next three years, 65% said their customers haven't implemented RFID.

Technology companies are ready to offer RFID products, but consumers have been slow to embrace radio-frequency identification, according to a recent survey.

The Computing Technology Industry Association conducted a Web survey earlier this year and announced the results Wednesday. The survey's 64 respondents included companies directly involved in the delivery of IT products and services.

CompTIA found that 84% of technology companies, resellers, solution providers, systems integrators, and consultants said they will or may offer RFID products and systems in the next three years.

More than 65% of respondents said their customers have not implemented RFID systems. Companies with customers who had implemented RFID technology said less than 20% of their customers are using it.

"The results of our survey are reflective of the RFID market, where rosy forecasts about rapid and widespread adoption have given way to the reality of dealing with a technology whose broader deployment has been challenged by equipment and tagging costs, murky and unclear return-on-investment for supply chain applications, and a workforce skills shortage," David Sommer, VP of e-business and software solutions for CompTIA, said in a statement.

Regardless, information technology companies are still optimistic about the future of RFID.

Eighty-nine percent of companies that expect to offer RFID products and services said that they expect to focus on hardware installation and maintenance. Just over 46% said they will offer software implementation services, while 31.5% will focus on software development. Nearly 39% said they will offer other RFID services.

Recently, European retailer Metro expanded its deployment. The store has mandated that most of its suppliers use pallet-level tagging by October. Metro's move will speed RFID adoption, allowing suppliers to see the benefits, said Peter Blair, director of product marketing at RFID network infrastructure product manufacturer Reva Systems.

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