This isn’t about contrasting the technology of barcoding and RFID. It is about a possible similarity in the evolution of the two technologies. You see, barcoding was not an overnight success. It was first patented in 1952 and didn’t start appearing on consumer products until 1974. And it took even longer for wider industry adoption, stretching into the 1990’s before industry really started to take off with barcoding for parts and inventory tracking.
So, we are talking about a 40-year gap from inception until there was widespread adoption of barcoding. So, now that we are about 20 years into the life of passive RFID, why are we all surprised that it is just now starting to take off?
A groundbreaking new technology that has the potential to help the world better track goods and enjoy error free data collection. Move goods more quickly, and accurately than ever before. But with some technological challenges to overcome, as well as sometime having to overcome the laws of physics. Are we talking about RFID or Barcoding? Both!
So, with that similarity laid out, let’s speculate on another potential similarity. Having lived through the early days of barcoding, I can personally testify to this truth. Many who started to use barcoding in the 1990’s were only doing so to satisfy a customer mandate for barcoding. Compliance with a customer demand, and no intention of ever using this technology for themselves.
But flash forward a few years and now, not only are all your finished goods using this new technology, but your suppliers have gotten on the wagon and most of your raw materials now have this new technology. OK, you swore you were never going to use this new-fangled technology yourself, but the hard part is already done. So, the barrier of entry is mostly conquered. Even your enterprise software is now able to use this technology. All that you need to do is purchase, and integrate some hardware, to start enjoying these technological advances for yourself.
We would challenge that this is the tipping point we are approaching with RFID. More and more finished goods are starting to have RFID tags. Soon, more and more of your raw material is going to contain RFID. The barrier of entry is getting smaller, and you might as well start using the technology for yourself!