The RFID market has passed through the hype stage and is now coming of age in the channel, according to a Victorian pioneer in the technology.
Unique Micro Design (UMD) managing director, Geoffrey Ramadan, said there had been a lot of hype generated about the technology in the last few years, but claimed it had finally passed through the "standard IT hype curve".
"We were getting a call every day in 2004 and most of 2005 but, in the end, there was a huge gap between people's expectations and what was deliverable," he said. "People, as they have been educated, have realised that RFID's not a panacea for everything and the quality of the enquiries we get now is much better."
Ramadan said the industry was in a much better position to deliver RFID solutions as the underlying technology was more refined, especially around technical and compliance issues. The data capture and supply chain distributor breaks the RFID market into two segments - asset management and supply chain. It currently has 2000 registered resellers.
"The real opportunity in the channel is around asset management because it's a closed system," Ramadan said. "Supply chain, meanwhile, has a more collaborative nature and you really need a mandate to push it through the supply chain.
"RFID's a bit of a disruptive technology because you need to be really cognisant of how it will change your business. You sometimes need to use a bit of lateral thinking and it's not uncommon for a customer or reseller to come to us and say they want RFID and when they explain why they think they want it, we can show them much simpler and cheaper ways."
Ramadan predicted 2007 would be the year of mobility and ubiquitous computing and that RFID would take on a significant role.
"The mere act of doing your job, like moving stock from one spot to another, should trigger an event like the stock being identified," he said. "The mobile phone is converging into a general access terminal and there are a number of new compact devices coming out with bar-coding, GPRS, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that are going to be very versatile."