ABI Research Survey Identifies ROI Uncertainty as Top RFID End-User Concern

Oct. 22, 2004
Uncertainty on ROI may slow down implementation of RFID technology

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. -- ABI Research's just-completed RFID end-user survey highlights uncertainties over the technology's ROI, and tag availability and performance, as the issues of greatest concern to users.

The majority of respondents to the survey were global organizations, with over half making more than $500M annually.

While firms such as Gillette, International Paper, Kimberly-Clark, and Campbell Soup demonstrate the possibility of making RFID work, other companies are still looking for answers.

Many logistics and IT management staffs still struggle to integrate RFID hardware and software into enterprise systems for quantifiable long term benefits, without major disruption.

Integrators such as Accenture, Deloitte, Hewlett Packard, and IBM are addressing these issues. Whether existing applications from Manhattan Associates, RedPrairie, IBM, TIBCO, webMethods, BEA Systems, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP can adapt to meet RFID and sensor-based architecture needs remains unclear.

Startups OATsystems, Globeranger, and ConnecTerra continue to release new products, but deployment bottlenecks remain likely until EPC standards are finalized and material handling and logistics companies, including HK Systems, create products around emerging sensor technology.

The survey also revealed concerns with tag availability and performance. Director, RFID and ubiquitous networks, Erik Michielsen notes that "inlay conversion and label application yields, which are likely to trouble end-users as they begin deployments, barely registered on their radar screens. In-field conversion losses of 10-15% on tags have Rafsec, Hana and KSW pushing to assist their RFID customers, including Alien, Matrics, Philip and TI.

Label converters including Moore-Wallace, Paxar, Rafsec and Avery Dennison also play a role in bringing greater supplies of working tags to market. Improvements in tag production processes impact supply scalability and product performance at the end-user level. If these companies fail, their IC and inlay partners will suffer the consequences of end-user dissatisfaction."