The IoT Challenge

As the Internet of Things takes shape, RFID companies need to offer complete solutions that can quickly and easily adapt to customers' needs and expectations.
By John Shoemaker
Aug 04, 2014

The Internet of Things (IoT) is receiving a lot of attention lately. It is real and will endure for the long term. The IoT fuels relentless transformation, comprising a world of smart products, green initiatives, virtual reality, connectivity and convergence.

The challenge for technology and solution providers is to capitalize on the movement to connect everything using various personal, commercial and industrial wireless mesh networks (or what I term "MeshNets to the Cloud"). Frost & Sullivan estimates that 80 billion devices will be connected by 2020.

We are moving steadfastly toward an era in which we can sense, locate, identify, track, monitor, measure and analyze everything from consumer products to industrial assets, cargo and vehicles, as well as personnel (the IoP, perhaps).

For consumers, the new buzz is about personal, wearable hub networks with wireless sensors. And now, iBeacons are coming to their neighborhoods. For businesses, everything seems to be moving to the cloud. For everyone, it means being connected to nearly all things globally.

The RFID and automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) industries have all types of wireless devices, but the markets demand solutions. It is not enough merely to offer RFID tags, readers, antennas, cables and such. Everyone knows that, I hope. The challenge is to focus on what Mark Roberti emphasized in a recent article (Three Lessons the RFID Industry Can Learn From Apple) that discussed three major lessons from Apple for the RFID industry: (1) create a "whole product," (2) make products easy to use and (3) market aggressively.

Customers do not want partial solutions or disconnected products. Bluetooth RFID tags are an interesting niche product, but so what? They must address a need or solve a problem. Customers also want to see that any planned solution is complete, with all the necessary devices, a minimally disruptive infrastructure, automated and mobile operation, and the ability to be used and integrated easily into existing customer software systems, and that it is supported by a service and support plan that will ensure the long-term delivery of the expected benefits.

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