Often, the short-term impact of new technologies is overestimated and the long-term impact is grossly underestimated by businesses. Driven by RFID mandates on the one hand and new, upcoming manufacturing processes for RFID tags on the other, the short term may well give way to the long term much sooner than anyone would have anticipated.

Corporations undoubtedly are being exposed to supply and demand pressure to embrace the technological and business process opportunities that now appear modest – supply chain enhancements, preventive maintenance, authenticated pill bottles. But these opportunities promise to expand in scope at an unimaginable pace with the right technology in place. What may now seem a tedious manual affair has the potential for absolute automatism once the implementation of RFID technology is in full swing.

In the long term, the virtuous circles formed by the linkage of RFID to other advancements in IT (especially the process integration abilities promised by web services and a service-oriented architecture) will spawn new applications that have not even begun to percolate in their inventors’ minds. Thus prudent business owners today consider RFID to be a long term investment, duly overlooking its short term impact.

If there is one thing, though, that research has made clear, it is that only those RFID applications designed with the consumer firmly in mind will survive. These are applications that drive value for consumers while continually reassuring them that this value absolutely outweighs any concerns. The long term success of RFID based applications undoubtedly depends on widespread adoption by consumers who are eager for the promised benefits.