At the beginning of the Internet era, businesses could see only the raw potential of its functionality. Many wild ideas and theories were proposed, and some of them worked out and many of them crashed. In the end, though, the Internet affected business according to a few common patterns. Business-to-business purchasing, extranets, intranets and email all became part of the Internet-enabled corporate landscape.
Nobody yet knows what all those patterns will be for RFID technology. The way that real-time awareness amplifies the value of adaptive business networks probably means that it will become a common pattern for highly competitive, consumer-facing industries that have complicated value chains. Preventive maintenance using predictive analytics also seems to be a powerful concept. But many others are waiting to be discovered. The future does indeed look bright for RFID technologies.
Each industry is likely to figure out its patterns, and some vendors will create killer applications and the next Amazon, eBay, or Yahoo will be born as companies learn to leverage the power of RFID. At this stage, the question seems to be how a company can get ready for all this. RFID experts and proponents are of the opinion that the best way is to ‘know yourself’. The more you understand your business and its operations, the easier it is to implement RFID when the time is right. The stages that most companies pass through as they grapple with the arrival of RFID involves first gaining access to and taking advantage of better information to improve process steps, and, finally, creating entirely new innovative ways of working.