An Interview With Geoffrey Moore

The expert on the technology adoption life cycle talks with Bob Morris about radio frequency identification and its struggles to achieve mass adoption.

Morris: Do you see RFID as potentially providing better information on what's happening in real time to physical inventory, assets, tools, work-in-process and other things companies struggle to track today?

Moore: I am not sure what the technology at the edge will be. I certainly believe that the Internet of Things is going to become a reality over the next decade or so. I think we should take a leaf from the Watergate playbook and "follow the use case."

Morris: Apparel retailers, large and small, are turning to RFID to improve inventory accuracy. Do you see this as the first sector likely to reach mass adoption of RFID, and do you foresee that propelling use in other sectors? Please explain.

Moore: For luxury goods, yes, probably more for preventing shrinkage than accuracy of inventory. But in general, not anytime soon. There is still too much frictional overhead in the process to make it truly scalable.

Morris: It seems the RFID industry is struggling to create a "whole product," one of the things necessary for a new technology to achieve mass adoption. Do you see the slow pace of RFID adoption to date as a result of the complexity involved with putting together a solution?

Moore: No, I think the industry does put together whole products. I just think it takes too much work. What it does not get to do is inherit someone else's whole product features easily. Every smartphone comes with Google search for free. That adds a ton of value to the smartphone. You don't get that sort of thing with RFID.

Morris: Here's a follow-up question. Do you see that changing?

Moore: For the Internet of Things to work, it has to change. Whether that will be a derivative of RFID or some other technology is the question.

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