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RFID a Hot Topic at Pack Expo Las Vegas (sidebar)

Some Suppliers Have Doubts

Some Wal-Mart suppliers are wary of making a commitment to radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, according Michael J. Laird, a senior analyst at Venture Development Corp. (VDC, www.vdc-corp.com), a Natick, Mass.-based research firm. “This is largely due to the lack of RFID education and the complexity and costs associated with RFID systems,” Laird wrote in a report following the Nov. 4-5 meeting sponsored by Wal-Mart for its suppliers and RFID vendors. For suppliers, challenges and questions surrounding RFID include system performance, data synchronization, consumer privacy, integration with legacy systems and non-compliance repercussions, Laird said. After attending the meeting, VDC classified top suppliers’ reactions into three categories:

l Suppliers who are experiencing “compliance denial,” stalling adoption or wishing RFID would go away—representing nearly a quarter of the suppliers

l Suppliers who embrace the benefits of RFID but are exercising caution moving forward with RFID compliance—another quarter of the suppliers

l Suppliers actively volunteering to be first implementers/adopters of RFID—roughly half of the suppliers.

Despite the reluctance of some, “the vast majority of Wal-Mart’s suppliers appear ready to embrace RFID and begin working toward compliance,” Laird said. “Given the size and influence of some of Wal-Mart’s top suppliers who are ready to commit to RFID, this speaks significant volumes about the potential impact the Wal-Mart mandate may have on the RFID industry in terms of revenue, transponder and reader shipments, and overall market development.”

See the stroy that goes with this sidebar: RFID a Hot Topic at

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