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Roadblocks could slow RFID

CNetnews.com has an article about radio frequency identification that has become a hot concept, promising to streamline how businesses track and stock inventory, warning that companies may need to rethink their software infrastructures in order to make RFID work as advertised, say analysts and technology makers.

Early resistance to RFID adoption has come from civil liberties groups, which fear that the technology could lead to unprecedented surveillance of consumers. But industry watchers and technology vendors have identified a more mundane potential problem for RFID adopters. They warn that in the rush to launch RFID projects, businesses may be overlooking a crucial element necessary to allow the technology to work smoothly: Making sure back-end databases and business applications can handle the massive amounts of information generated by RFID-enabled systems. Kara Romanow, an analyst at AMR Research in Boston said:

Companies are going to have problems when they drop RFID on top of shaky infrastructures. In order to do RFID right, to see a true return, the first thing (a company) needs to do is finish a data synchronization initiative, and do it right.

Romanow believes that there are two popular scenarios among businesses working to develop RFID capabilities today: those doing just enough to keep demanding companies like Wal-Mart as a customer, and those with real long-term vision. According to the analyst, the first group will garner few returns other than short-term bragging rights to getting RFID up and running, while the second group will see true return on investment down the road.

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