We're hearing a lot of buzz about RFID from partners, but there's a lot of skepticism in my organization about how ready-for-primetime RFID really is. What's a good strategy for keeping abreast of RFID without getting burned by either internal skeptics or the newness of the technology?

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I assume a pilot project is possible, if it hasn't been started already. The key issue is to set expectations relatively low, and then hopefully surprise the skeptics with better-than-expected results. A key to keeping things sane is to start with a project that minimizes reading tags while in motion. In other words, start with a project that tracks static warehouse inventory, for example, and leave tracking tagged supplies moving down a fast conveyor belt for phase II. Starting with a more static environment will let you tackle the easier, but also critical, questions of what to do about all the data you're now amassing: How often do you sample, how much do you need to verify, how much data do you really need and at what level of granularity? You'll also be able to gather some cost and implementation data from such a project, and hopefully show the value of moving forward with a more dynamic RFID pilot.

This was first published in February 2005

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