By Raman Monga, Research Manager, AIDC Group, Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan: What do you view as some of the more significant challenges and opportunities for RFID vendors in the coming years?
Mike Nichols: One of the biggest challenges is still the overall perception of the market. There are still those who think of RFID as a replacement for barcodes, so until we can eliminate that notion, we will continue to face challenges associated with customers understanding how to best deploy RFID.
Sensor tags are a big opportunity going forward. NXP, Impinj and EM Micro all announced sensor interface chips that the tag manufacturers are embedding in their products. This adds lot of features and capabilities to RFID.
Packaged solutions: Designing systems one at a time can be costly and time consuming. Providing packaged solutions is a big opportunity and helps to reduce the sales cycle.
Higher level solutions: RFID serves its purpose best when viewed from a macro level. Going forward there will be many opportunities to take RFID to macro level across campuses or geographies to be able to make better decisions instead of being site located. Adding intelligent front end filtering allows the data coming from the readers to have more impact. The data can be immediately useful as opposed to having to go through back end filtering.
Frost & Sullivan: What differentiates Intermec from its competitors? How do Intermec's products and technology address the changing needs of end-users today?
Mike Nichols: One thing that differentiates Intermec from its competitors is its broad solutions offering. We not only offer fixed RFID readers, but we also offer handheld mobile computers equipped with RFID capabilities for those needing portability. In addition, we have RFID-enabled printers, and the added-value of voice across our portfolio. Our ability to package complete solutions differentiates us from the competition. We're focusing on mobility. I don't believe anyone else is putting a focus on mobility beyond handheld mobile computers. Intermec's ability to read RFID tags in mobile environments at multiple levels differentiates us. There is also innovation beyond just passive UHF RFID. Sensor technologies can add benefit in addition to or in lieu of passive UHF RFID. While it's a little bit out there, we are looking at innovation in those areas through our tech office. We're constantly looking at the market as a whole, and identifying areas where we can broaden our offerings and provide complete solutions through broader products or through adjacent technologies.