Next-Gen RFID Tools Expand the Market

RFID starts to move from experimental into deployable solutions

Despite the growing list of hardware and software tools, make no mistake: RFID is still very much an emerging market. Don?t let any vendor's marketing gimmick convince you otherwise. If you're planning to deploy RFID today, prepare to face device compatibility issues, buggy software and firmware, global numbering standards that still need to be ironed out, and security threats in need of redress.

With respect to middleware, most of the first generation of interrogator hardware was pretty dumb. As next-gen readers and printers begin to add more edge-processing functionality, a fixed middleware layer will become less crucial. Focus will shift entirely to bridging the RFID infrastructure with BI (business intelligence) and creatively applying data from that infrastructure to business processes -- for example, using complex event steam processing.

Until RFID becomes as ubiquitous as the bar code, plan to take steps to future-proof your RFID blueprint, rather than simply meeting mandated compliance. By investing in scalable, extensible platforms that can adapt to future usage models, you'll ensure that your investments today will retain their value in the next RF wave and beyond.

[InfoWorld Electronic News -- 04/18/06]