So called “closed-loop” RFID systems, in which the application is under complete control of a single company, were what drove the RFID industry for many years, as companies implemented RFID-based systems for work-in-process tracking, trailer tracking into and out of yards, asset tracking, and more.
In fact, there were many more of these closed-loop RFID-based system implementations than most observers realized, even dating back to the 1990s.
With the work first done by MIT’s Auto ID Center, and its successor EPC Global, more attention turned to the potential for inter-company tracking and information sharing based on RFID reads, with the vision of the Electronic Product Code (EPC) form of RFID. That vision included servers on the internet that would provide a place for cross-company supply chain data based on RFID reads available to all that needed it.
The vision was powerful, and we’ll get there someday – but for now, good old closed-loop systems continue to see most of the real RFID action.
That was one of the conclusions coming out of the Automatic Identification Manufacturers (Aim Global) Leadership Summit in Washington DC two weeks ago.
Bert Moore, who has been involved in the Auto ID industry from its earliest days and now edits the AIM Global RFID e-newsletter, reports from the conference that “Closed systems are still the leading candidates for ROI of less than one year,” according to some of the presentations made there by industry pundits.
“It has been clear over the past year or so that RFID systems that are under the control of a single entity (business, organization or government) provide the most direct and easiest to calculate ROIs,” he added. “Asset management, access control, transit cards, libraries and the like will continue to thrive. Various other "small" applications that automate routine data collection or item identification tasks, and that ensure the accuracy of collected data, are also growing in popularity.”
(RFID and Automatic Identification Article - Continued Below)