(via RFID-Weblog) ABI Research has recently come with a report on RFID technology: "What Isn't Going To Happen in 2005" (complimentary registration required). Excerpts with edits and my comments added :
Entire enterprises and global supply chains will NOT be rebuilt by RFID in 2005.RFID technology continues to make steady, progressive headway into consumer goods and retail deployments. 2004 was a banner year for new product releases, service offerings, and overall market education. The RFID market is steadily growing and offers loads of promise as the first iteration of intelligent sensor networks. However, the technology has a long way to go to make a measurable difference within its adopters' supply chains and all will not be answered in 2005. If 2004 was the year of technology advancement, discussion, and frustration, 2005 will be the year business process adaptation dominates RFID planning and discussions. Where technology was dependent on EPC standards, process change involves much more than the EPC global network. Process adaptation implicates enterprise software and application vendors as well as systems integrators, who will have more than enough client conundrums to address.
Too much attention has been focused on January 1, 2005 and two little attention has been directed to the remaining 364 days in the year. As of December 1st, 2004, EPC Global has yet to finalize a standard and has yet to work out the China standards issue that will be critical to source tagging interoperable EPC-based cases and pallets overseas (Note : New Gen 2 standards have beem since announced - we recently covered this here). Moreover, Wal-Mart and the Department of Defense have underestimated the standards gridlock caused by Intermec's intellectual property claims -- claims that are, contrary to its public relations spin touting a 60-day royalty-free window -- prohibiting long-term RFID investment planning at the retail and DOD supplier levels. As a result, supply chain RFID projects and planning have been delayed due to suppliers' understandable concerns regarding the Intermec IP filibuster and its impact on hardware prices and availability.
2005 will provide more of the same for RFID – ups and downs, wins and losses, momentum and bottlenecks. Issues will be resolved, but, from a consumer and defense goods supplier perspective, full scale RFID enterprise integration efforts will remain on the "work in process" list and not the "finished goods" list. Good overview, this blog shall be adding some more related views on this space in a few days.