Guest Column | March 4, 2010

Guest Column: The RTLS/RFID Technology Wars Are Over

By John C. Shoemaker, Executive Vice President, Ekahau, Inc.

Have you heard? The technology wars in the sensors/wireless/RF world — where for years the emphasis was placed on proving whether technologies actually worked rather than on deploying real solutions — are finally over. Such was the proclamation made by a group of CIO's and IT executives at a recent RFID/wireless industry conference. Now that the wars are over, we can concentrate on deploying the most effective systems to deliver a host of benefits that were previously unreachable.

The idea of RFID or RTLS once seemed esoteric and confusing. But as the utilization of both technologies has exploded in numerous applications, the concept has finally been grasped as a straightforward approach and a new source of cost reductions and operational efficiencies. This includes the full range from RF "toll tags" that replace flipping coins into toll baskets on highways, to simple identification of personnel or assets passing through a doorway or chokepoint, to wirelessly reading product IDs to take inventory in a fraction of the time it took with bar codes or other methods.

Precisely because there are so many choices, customers now get confused about what RF technologies to consider. As a result, the focus has shifted to technology selection.