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Apr 21, 2016

RFID, Love or Die

Dear reader, my name is Lluis Bueno, and I love RFID. Do you? I belong to the Spanish company NextPoints, and in my work I have met hundreds of professionals and companies working in the RFID market without any passion for the technology… and most of them are not working in the RFID market anymore. So, why is love required for RFID business to survive? Let me share a few real stories with you.

Without any doubt, RFID is living its best moment: Internet of Things is more real than ever, RAIN RFID Alliance has more than 100 members, GS1 released TIPP guidelines for RFID tagging in retail, RFID inlays reached the lowest price ever without losing any quality… but perhaps, even with this friendly environment, the RFID company you created or joined some time ago is not alive anymore.

What was the reason for failure then? All of them had something in common: their lack of love towards the technology. Focusing on the product is of course important, but prioritizing price and forgetting collaboration with other players did kill them.

RFID is not just one more technology, it still needs your support to develop the market, and you need the market to be developed to make business.

RFID has its professional tools and methods of doing measurements, and this is something many of the professionals in the market are not aware of. There are only two ways to work with RFID: the right way or the wrong one, and there is no midway. Fortunately, I met Voyantic years ago and they showed the right way to me. Doesn’t it sound like some kind of religion? That was exactly what I felt the first time I met Mr. Juho Partanen: I had always thought I was doing things, if not the best way, then good enough for my RFID business. But I was doing wrong until he opened my eyes and he led me on the right track.

Most of the RFID companies ─ large end users, system integrators and even manufacturers of RFID readers or tags ─ are still using the same methods for testing their products and solutions which they used 5 years ago: conventional readers instead of professional testing systems, trial and error instead of real measurements, empirical reading distance instead of other key measured parameters. They think they are getting enough information from those old methods to understand how RFID works, but they really have no idea of what is happening. Why are they not taking their own business seriously? Is lack of budget the reason? No. Lack of love towards RFID is.

Most of the RFID companies think that purchasing RFID products at the best price will turn their company into a successful one. Forget it! Price just helps. Qualified partners, not only products but business providers, RFID alliances involvement, real RFID measurement tools…. You are missing much more aspects than just price. Are you aware of the changes in RFID ETSI frequencies, TIPP guidelines, RAIN RFID Alliance…? Information, commitment, involvement… definitely, love. Love is missing all along the supply chain, so we need to spread love since the beginning.

Please, you have chosen RFID as a driver technology for your projects, products and solutions. Love it and it will love you back with everlasting business. Take it seriously, or partner with companies who take it seriously for you, but do not ignore RFID and treat it as any other technology or it will die and make your business pass away.

In my work I have heard dozens of questions of RFID – why is it not performing as expected? What should be done differently to make my RFID business bloom? Download the “Questions of RFID – Loving Wisdom” document below to read the commonly asked questions with my answers.

Download Lluis Bueno’s RFID Q&A!

Download Lluis Bueno’s loving wisdom for frequently asked questions of RFID. You’ll find answers to many baffling RFID questions regarding tag and reader selection, system setups, link margins, and troubleshooting.
For your convenience, many of the answers come with pictures, too!

Mar 02, 2016

Leadership in the RFID Era

中文版 Chinese version

So you want to be a successful leader in the RFID industry. Well, many leadership principles that are widely accepted in the high tech space will apply to RFID as well. But there are some concepts that are specific in the RFID industry. Here is a short glossary of buzz words for leadership in the RFID era.

1. Factory programming: The most important decisions that you will make are related to who you hire. A good rule of thumb is to hire people that are smarter than you. But I would put even more emphasis on how well the new team member fits the company culture. After all, new skills can be taught but changing someone’s factory programming is a lot harder. A good way to find out who to hire is to let the other team members interview the candidate before making the final decision.

2. Downlink: Ignorance is bliss? Maybe. But if you share information with your team on a need-to-know basis, how do you expect them to come up with new ideas? The better they understand the higher level goals of the company, the better they are able to help you reach them. I guarantee that the time spent explaining “why” will be returned ten-fold in commitment and creativity.

3. Listen before talk (LBT): What do you do when you are making a business decision that potentially has a big impact on the future of the company? Remember that you already have people smarter than you working for you. Why not listen what they have to say? Make them a part of the decision making process. Of course, the final decision is your responsibility but your team will be more committed to the decision if they have had their say. And I guarantee that the decision will be better.

4. Anti-collision: Every successful organization has people that don’t think alike, and that will cause some friction from time to time. But as long as all team members are acting in the best interest of the company, a healthy amount of conflict fosters growth. After all, if everyone is in complete harmony, some opportunities and ideas will be missed. So hold back with your anti-collision procedures, and resist your natural urges to act as a referee in every disagreement.

5. Error correction: The only way to avoid mistakes is not to do anything. And I believe in a corporate culture where people do not need to be afraid of making mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes may be visible to the customers as well: Maybe the new software release has a bug that was not caught in quality assurance, or maybe an item is accidentally left out of a delivery. The most important thing is to decisively make it right for the customer. The overall customer experience can still be positive if error correction is quick and professional.

This post was inspired by the AIM RFID Glossary.