Channel nonplussed on RFID trials.

Channel nonplussed on RFID trials.

Several channel representatives are claiming Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) adoption is sluggish and have downplayed Telstra's plans to enter the RFID market with an end-to-end customer offering.

The telco recently completed a trial of its Adaptive Asset Manager (AAM) solution in conjunction with BEA and Cisco Systems. While principal of convergent solutions, Kevin Larnach, predicted widespread channel interest, ARN contacts expressed a contrary view.

A spokesperson for Dimension Data said the integrator sought to play at the higher end of the RFID market - such as the tracking of hospital equipment or nursing home patients.

"Where RFID's at for DiData is as a much more time critical application," the spokesperson said. "It's not about commodity-based RFID tags integrated into pallets or groceries."

The DiData spokesperson said there was still a relatively slow uptake for RFID technology and, coupled with the type of business model proposed by Telstra, it wasn't keen on getting on-board.

Queensland-based software systems developer and hardware provider, Cedar Creek, was also disinterested in the Telstra offering.

"What Telstra has put together has less to do with RFID and more to do with putting lots of data on the network which they can bill for," CEO, Tony Abbott, claimed.

AAM draws together RFID readers, tags, software, communications, and systems integration running over a managed LAN/WAN or Telstra's own Next G network. The national carrier plans to offer the solution through a subscription model, not dissimilar to mobile phones.

Express Data channel manager, David Peach, confirmed the distributor had strong relationships with both Telstra and Cisco but would not comment on AAM directly. "I think in terms of RFID in general, it's still in its infancy," he said. "We'll see how it's all looking in another 3-6 months."

An Ingram Micro staffer, who declined to be named, said the distributor was having a similarly quiet time on the RFID front despite the success of its new division delivering point-of-sale (POS) and data capture equipment to the retail industry.

"We've got all the hardware ready to go," they said. "What's holding people back at the moment is the high cost of implementation."

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