I was reading an article last week in National Geographic on the origins of the Internet of Things and the credit given to Kevin Ashton, a former ThingMagic colleague, for coining the phrase back in 1999. The vision remains and the likelihood has increased significantly over these past 15+ years.
I have had the opportunity to participate in the design, development and deployment of UHF RFID since 2001. Enormous work was done by the likes of Walmart, P&G and brethren retailers and CPG companies to form a consortium with the objective of establishing standards and funding/encouraging companies to develop the necessary elements to allow the deployment of a next generation of ID technology. We were guided by the enthusiastic duo of Kevin Ashton and Sanjay Sarma who worked tirelessly to negotiate standards and provide a vision of what was possible. By 2005 we were all convinced it was just a matter of time before RFID would provide supply chain efficiencies to the retail sector and provide to other vertical markets the evidence that their supply chain could be enhanced.
Mark Roberti has chronicled the successes, challenges and technology and product improvements through his magazine RFID Journal and its corresponding newsletters and events. As an industry we have worked tirelessly to lower costs, adhere to and improve standards and ease the development and deployment of UHF RFID. Enormous strides have been made and the industry’s members deserve a lot of credit for hanging in there during this 10+ year period during which several factors have converged, including:
- Improvement in the performance, cost and deployment of the fundamental technology
- Cloud-based Architectures and back-office systems have improved our ability to turn the data collected into mission critical information
- The Internet of Things concept and promotion has provided RFID with a market awareness concept within which to showcase its capabilities.
It is time for the RFID industry to promote our collective efforts towards building market awareness of the power of our technology when combined with the big data architectures that are being put in place. Fortunately, Impinj, Smartrac, Google and Intel recognized that need earlier this year and formed the RAIN RFID Alliance whose sole purpose is to increase market awareness of the power of our collective technology.
ThingMagic joined the RAIN Alliance this year and, with the endorsement of our fellow members, I have joined the RAIN Board of Directors. As we have worked tirelessly for 15 years to get RFID to its cost-effective state, I encourage you to become an active member of the RAIN Alliance. Check it out, join and get involved.